Saturday, September 26, 2009

You Want To Know What's Wrong WIth Our Political System?

Read the following paragraphs:
When the NDP is too low in the opinion polls in Ontario – below 12 or 10 per cent – the Tories fret.

It means that some Ontario ridings, such as Peterborough or Kitchener, that the Conservatives won comfortably in 2008 turn “into swing ridings that we could actually lose, even if our national numbers are strong,” a Tory strategist said.

This is why the Conservatives breathed a sigh of relief last week when the NDP – its polling numbers were hovering in the low teens – announced it would support the Tories in a confidence vote, ensuring there would be no election.

“It helps us in Ontario to have the NDP closer to 20 per cent than 10 per cent in popular support,” the strategist said, explaining that when the centre-left vote is split between the Liberals and the NDP, the Tories can win.

“That said, when NDP support exceeds 20 per cent, we run into trouble in British Columbia and other areas where our main competitors are the NDP. An NDP in the high teens is strong enough to eat into Liberal support in Ontario, but not so strong as to actually start winning seats from us in B.C.,” the strategist said.

“So it's kind of a delicate balance.”
Our political system is based on vote splitting. So, rather than dealing with our real problems, our politicians are consumed with the propping up and slapping down of the NDP. I can't imagine why proponents of our first past the post electoral system aren't touting this central reality as the chief feature of their preferred voting regime.
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  1. Oh, but the NDP wins sometimes.

    Toronto mayorships, various provinces' premierships.

    And in a good portion of the country, the NDP has displaced the Liberals -- which makes more sense, having a centre-left and a centre-right binary choice.

    And things change. Like the drama of the late 1980s and the 1990s known as the Reform Party. We're not stuck where we are forever...

  2. But even in those cases, it is by vote splitting. Remember Rae won a majority with a mere 38% of the vote, and Chretien was the master of the vote split. Our problem is a system designed to work well, given a binary choice, but only in that case. Any more than two choices and it breaks down.