Saturday, October 17, 2015

A So-So Critique of Strategic Voting

It's starts off really bad but in the end it makes some good points. I'll sorta go through it but probably not in detail because I've got other stuff to do ....
I’ve seen a lot of talk about “strategic voting” lately, and as someone who witnessed the efforts up close and personal last time around, I want to talk about why it is not such a great idea – and, more importantly, why it simply won’t work.
It’s slimyWhatever your thoughts on FPTP, it is a system that serves a population as large as dispersed as Canada quite well, by localizing politics. Even people living in remote parts of the country have a voice in Parliament. Their local issues are heard, because they vote for someone locally. Each vote counts at the local level.
What you are actually doing when you decide who to vote on not in favour of a candidate, but rather against a candidate, is render the vote of your neighbour invalid. This is an intrinsically negative action (more on that later). This negativity really shouldn’t be part of our political process. A much better solution would be to get involved with a campaign, or to run for office yourself, and try to change things for the better, like so many thousands of Canadians do each election season.
No. Our FPTP doesn't "localize politics." My current MP is a harpercon cipher who has done pretty much nothing for this riding and who definitely does not represent all constituents. His name is John Carmichael and he represents stephen harper's nut-sack.

Were I to vote NDP it would definitely be done, at least partially, to try to defeat the party supported by my asshole neighbour with harpercon signs all over his fence. Because harpercon voters are all either assholes, stupid assholes or democratic ignoramuses.

But voting NDP would only take my vote away from the guy who has a chance of defeating the harpercons here. The Liberal Rob Oliphant. So, either way, I'm hoping that my neighbour votes in vain and his party of anti-democratic racist criminals fucking loses.

I'm NOT going to run for office myself. I don't see how my helping out with the last NDP campaign here amounted to anything. I don't know what "try to change things for the better" means in practical terms.
Are you voting for policies you don’t actually support?Secondly, there is the glaring issue of potentially giving your support to a party that at best, you don’t truly support, and at worst, might do serious damage to the country.
In this election, people are being encouraged to vote for either the Liberal or NDP candidate, whichever has the best chance of beating the Conservatives in any given riding. The inherent problem with this recommendation is that these two parties are completely at odds with each other on several key issues that are of great importance to the environment, Canadian citizens, and Canada itself.
Luckily for me there's not too much to choose from between the Libs and the NDP. The Libs voted for C-51, the NDP defends the F-35 deal. Both are horrid on Israel. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives gives the NDP platform a higher rating and Mulcair has promised to get us out of that clusterfuck in Syria, but none of that is going to matter if Carmichael wins by one vote and harper ends up with a majority because of one extra MP.
On that note, there is another glaring issue: grouping the supporters of these two parties together in one group labelled “left-wing” or “progressive”. This is incredibly problematic because it… well, it simply defies common sense. But the numbers don’t back it up either.
Proponents of strategic voting ignore the fact that even the most recent polls show that it’s actually the Conservatives that are the second choice for 18% of Liberal voters; 5% of NDP voters; 11% of Green voters; and 14% of Bloc voters.
Those are not insignificant numbers.
This is the mistake the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois made in 2008 when they formed a coalition after the election with the intention of taking control of Parliament. After promising not to form a coalition, they simply added up their total number of votes and came to the incredibly misguided conclusion that, given the choice, every single one of the voters who voted for any of their parties would also vote for a coalition of the three. (That assumption was quickly proven wrong as polls showed massive public objection to the coalition.)
Lesson learned? Treating this diverse group of voters as one homogenous bloc is incredibly simple-minded – not to mention intellectually dishonest, as the numbers proving the theory wrong are readily available.
Fuck those anti-coalition polls by the way. They wouldn't have counted for shit if the Governor-General hadn't (under illegitimate pressure from shit-wad harper) shredded the very principle of responsible government!

But I agree; not everyone will vote the way we want. But I know what I'M doing and why I'm doing it. And I encourage like-minded people to do the same.
Reason #1 is that no matter how many times you re-post it to Facebook and yell it inside the echo chamber of decided strategic voters, the number of people actually voting strategically is pitifully small.
I live in the riding of Richmond Hill, which elected a Conservative last time but has the potential to elect a Liberal candidate this time. I checked out LeadNow’s “VoteTogether” page and plugged in my postal code. There are a whopping 145 people committed to voting strategically through that website. There don’t appear to be any other websites that are actively soliciting sign-ups as a way to gauge how many strategic voters will participate in any given riding. But let’s be generous and say that TEN TIMES that many people will vote strategically. That puts us at almost 1,500.
There are 108,658 people in Richmond Hill. So with 1,500 strategic voters signed up, that adds up to only around 1.4%. Most ridings in Canada have between 80,000 and 130,000 people in them, so that number is going to carry pretty well across the country. “But hey, some ridings were decided by only a few dozen votes!” you’ll say. Yes, but even in those ridings, such a tiny number of strategic voters will not make a difference. Why?
And the rest of it is where he makes decent sense. You can finish it yerselves. But me, I'm not wasting a vote on the NDP. They're simply not in play here. I don't find it "empowering" to throw a Quixotic ballot into the ballot box when I know it's a tight race between the corrupt Liberals and the harpercon scum.

IF harper is defeated, then it's time to ATTACK this rotten political system. But to do so in an environment where the government of the day doesn't give a shit for due process or the rule of law.

I sincerely hope that those criminals are held to account.


Anonymous said...

Hey Thwap. I had a call from Anne Magrath and was asked how I was planning to vote and would I support the NDP as I have in the past . It causes me great concern that I had to explain that in my newly created riding of Aurora (I live on the south side of the Northern boundary street) Richmond Hill, Oak Ridges, I must vote to oust the Con candidate. I have to vote liberal much to my disgust and we will have to hold them truly accountable this time around. I gave a donation to the NDP as crazy as that may sound. This concept of smart voting is making me sick but I can't waste a vote, dipite the fact some people might claim I have.

thwap said...


I don't know the details of your riding, but in my riding it's an easy choice. The NDP doesn't have a hope in hell here. The Liberal is a decent progressive Liberal and the harpercon stooge won by a small margin last time.

I "voted my conscience" last time and the NDP vote was larger than the harpercon's margin of victory.

So fuck it.