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Why I don’t trust strategic voting.

Feh, I read last night that “Mr Integrity” Ken Dryden was campaigning in Sault Ste. Marie for the local Liberal candidate.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  My issue is that he was lying to the people of the Sault.  He told them that they should vote strategically Liberal to keep Harper from winning that seat.  The problem?  That seat is held by an NDP incumbent, with the Cons running third (39%/32%/24% in 2006).  If Mr Integrity really wanted the people of the Sault to vote strategically, he’d suggest they re-elect Tony Martin.  No, when I hear certain people speak of strategic voting, I hear yet another pathetic plea to vote Liberal, despite the warts.

/Briguy rant off

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8 thoughts on “Why I don’t trust strategic voting.

  1. It continues, briguy, with Bob Rae and Larry Campbell targeting Libby Davies in Van East this week – where they tried to argue that re-electing one of Canada’s most progressive and hardest-working MPs is wasting your vote. They have gone loop-dee-loo.

    http://www.ubyssey.ca/?p=4241

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  2. That’s assuming that they want an NDP member in a Parliament featuring a Conservative government.

    Since you tout honesty, let’s be really honest here. In order to overtake the Tories and change the government, the Liberals would arguably have to pick up at least 25 seats. In order for the NDP to do it, they would have to pick up about 90.

    There are, admittedly, ridings where neither party stands much chance of taking ridings from the Tories, so we’re really talking about a handful of ridings scattered across the country.

    If voters in the Sault choose a Liberal MP, they move the yardsticks that much closer to seeing a government led by someone other than Stephen Harper. If they vote NDP, they change nothing, but can cross their fingers and hope that a whole lot of people in 90 other ridings to the heavy lifting.

    That’s honest. That’s math.

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  3. Richard,
    The likeliest outcomes from this election are a Tory minority or majority. There is a slim chance of a Liberal minority, but with the Bloc self-destructing in Quebec, they will most likely have to rely on NDP support, therefore an NDP victory in Sault plays just as effectively toward a minority as a Liberal.

    Unfortunately, if the Liberals have proven one thing in my adult lifetime, it’s that during election campaigns they will lie to the Left and govern from the centre-right. Lefties should not accept this kind of treatment, particularly if the upside is partial control of a minority government. The potential downside, of course, is a split-vote going to the Tories, which, if it happens nationally, will provide Harper with the majority he craves.

    It’s a risk, but it’s one worth taking. A Liberal minortiy government that tries to go it alone will implode within months despite having already caved in on the Green Shift and everything else of meaning they said during the campaign.

    Honest or not, that’s politics, and those are the Liberals.

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  4. I think Richard is confusing “winning the local seat” with “getting enough seats in parliament to unseat Der Harpenfuehrer”.

    The only case where voting liberal as an anticonservative stategy makes sense, for supporters of the other parties, is when the seat is a really a contest between the conservative and liberal candidates. Situations where the other parties’ candidates have no chance of winning at all. Then throwing your vote to the libs makes sense.

    Briguy is right. Where seats appear to be solidly non-conservative, as in this case, where it is NDP – it is decidedly dishonest of the liberals to raise the spectre of a Harper win to push people to elect a liberal in that riding. “Voting strategic”… bulls&&t. Its a slimy, underhanded way to try and steal a seat from a popular nonlib/nontory incumbent because they know they can’t beat him/ her in an election. Honesty has nothing to do with it, the seat will not contribute to a tory win.

    This kind of crap is precisely why I also distrust the call to “vote strategic” over voting my own preferences, and, precisely why the liberals don’t deserve to win.

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  5. For someone so fond of using the word ‘honesty’, Richard, you seem to have a problem with the term yourself. First off, the statement ‘the Liberals only have to pick up around 25 seats’ is only true if those 25 seats are taken from the Conservatives – if we’re talking seats taken from the NDP and the Bloc (and that last one’s a stretch – outside of Montreal, the Liberal brand is mud), the number is more like 60.

    Secondly, the fact is that, as Kevvy said, the most likely outcome for this election is a Tory minority/majority, and as the last 2 years has shown us, no party did more to keep Harper as PM as did the Liberals, or maybe, Mr “Honest” Richard, you’d like to explain all those abstensions from confidence votes?

    Lastly, your statement is only true, Richard, if you make the assumption that the only important factor in a candidate is their party affiliation. For instance, in my riding, St John’s East, the Liberal’s are running a candidate with piss-poor ethics, the intelligence of a doorknob, and the charm and charisma of a two-week dead fish. In contrast, the NDP candidate is a highly respected lawyer, intelligent, and well-spoken. If you’re trying to tell me that I’m supposed to vote for a moron in because ‘The Conservatives are EVVVILLLL!’ – I call that bullshit and scare-mongering.

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  6. My biggest concern: whether anything will motivate Canadians to vote AT ALL. Less than 60% voter turnout in this election will not surprise me in the least, although it will depress me.
    And then, whoever wins (yes, I know, but…) will insist that “Canadians have spoken”. Less than 50% of the probably less than 60% that will vote doesn’t begin to encompass anything close to a mandate in the minds of Canadians that happen to pay attention.
    Waiter, more Prozac for this table. And some for my friends, as well.

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  7. I hear you, Flash, the question is what to do about it. We could try making voting mandatory, as they do in Australia, OTOH, if someone’s too unmotivated to come down to the polling station, I’m not sure I’d trust them to make an informed choice.

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