Sunday, October 12, 2008

Strategic Voting: The Rant

Paul Wells, in a comment to this posting wrote:
There’s nothing particularly wrong with Ti-Guy’s support for Greens staying Green. Nor is there nothing particularly wrong with Bridget wanting the anti-Conservative vote to rally around one flag (although it’s always, always a Liberal flag, isn’t it?). (emphasis mine)
That's my problem with calls for strategic voting. Whenever I see one of these urgent pleas to "stop Harper", there is almost never, ever, a statement that all parties are equally against the Harper agenda. No, they are almost always like this:
A vote for the Green or the NDP (most ridings in Ontario) is a vote for Harper’s policies and an endorsement of his actions over the past 2 1/2 years. Progressive Canadians should support Dion - come on people - he is probably the most left leaning Liberal leader that we have ever had! He is Liberal in name - what is a rose - would is smell as sweet by any other name???? Canadians on the centre left are too hung up on partisan politics. What about Dion the man and his platform offends the rest of the left?? We can have a greener, fairer and richer Canada. VOTE FOR CANADA - VOTE LIBERAL!!!!
Hysterical, factually incorrect and mindlessly pro-Liberal. Now that is excusable because, Bridget probably is a Liberal and is advancing what she sees as Liberal intersts, but how about Elizabeth May?

Yesterday the Star wrote this:
May made the statement yesterday after acknowledging that some Green candidates have expressed concern about vote splitting that could result in Tory victories.

"It's up to our local candidates to decide in a close riding whether they feel their participation is likely to elect a Conservative or not. I'm not weighing in on that. But in the vast, vast majority of ridings in this country, voting Green is clearly the right thing to do," she said in an interview last night.

May acknowledged that her refusal to call on all Canadians to vote Green has caused her grief in the party. But May said she has always made clear she puts principle before partisanship, and that a Liberal government would be better for the environment than a Tory one.
Again, given the record of the past Liberal government, this is factually incorrect. But May, the leader of a supposedly separate party, makes the claim anyway. And why does she not also endorse the NDP, for example, if she is going to throw her support somewhere? Isn't the NDP a pro-green party,in the broad sense? It would make sense, west of the lakehead, to endorse the NDP, but she doesn't. Why? Because May's intention and those of her ilk, is not to stop Harper, but elect Liberals, which are two entirely different agendas. They are trying to do covertly and with fear, what the Liberal Party cannot do with its own program and leadership -- get people to vote Liberal. It is sneaky and dishonest, and doesn't address our real problem.

Our real problem is not that people are voting "the wrong way". Our problem is that we have an electoral system that is so screwed up that people's voting intentions are totally lost in vote splitting. Let's fix the real problem and let "solutions" like strategic voting die an unlamented death.
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  1. This one takes top prize.
    I will repeat that:


    I'm surprised she didn't come right out and scream that only traitors refuse to vote Liberal.

  2. The fact that a "progressive" is supporting Garth Turner, for Christ's sake, tells you all you need to know about the value of strategic voting.

  3. I totally agree that the language and practice around strategic voting must change. It is also clearly a hack around a fundamentally flawed system that must change.

    The AnyoneButHarper movement is interested in helping build a broad alliance of progressive Canadians, giving each party the legitimate voice it deserves.

    Our approach to strategic voting is to give people tools and information to make informed choice based on THEIR RIDING, not the roughshod panicky Liberal appeal. Vote strategically, but vote smart.


    Nothing would make us happier that eliminating the need for strategic voting.

  4. anyonebutharper - far better to support a fair voting system so that people don't feel compelled to vote strategically instead of for the party, people, and policy they support.