Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

What's the Strategy, Anyway?

I’ve become a fan of strategic voting in our broken electoral system.  Broken, you ask?  Of course it’s broken.  It’s designed for a two party system and we’ve not got four significant players in English-speaking Canada, five in Québec.  Theoretically, you can win a seat in Ontario with 25% + 1 vote.  Majority governments have been won with less than forty percent of the popular vote.  Of course the system is broken, but what’s the incentive for a party in power to fix it?  The Ontario Liberals made it look like they were trying to a few years back by picking a system that few people understood and no one liked then letting us have a referendum on it without any clear communication on how it worked, but hey that’s better than no effort at all, right?  (Hope your sarcasm detectors didn’t overload there.)

So, strategic voting.  Rough translation:  vote for the politician in second place, regardless of your preference, to keep the one in first place out of office.  Rather than voting for something, you’re voting against something, but this is often the way it works anyway.  You’ve got a lot of choices of how to cast your vote when punishing a party you’re unhappy with.  Strategic voting helps focus the anti vote.

In the current election, if you’re not interested in the Conservatives keeping power (and who is, really), and you’re in a riding that’s a tight race, vote for the non-Conservative candidate who has the best chance of winning.  Yes, this may mean voting for a Liberal when you want to go NDP or Green.  Or some other combination.  In Québec, you might have to vote for a separatist to get rid of the Tory (that would be a hard bone to swallow for me, considering how I feel about separatists).

I’ve finally found a tool to assist.  Don’t let the name of the website fool you, Vote For Environment is all about not electing the Conservatives.  The site’s focus is due to the lack of environment policy and leadership the Harperites have shown, but I’ve got plenty of other reasons to not vote Conservative (economic stupidity, broken promises, lies, and on and on).  Punch in your postal code to get the details on your riding, but if you’re really interested in the numbers behind the numbers, and I am, click on the Advanced Prediction Model link on the front page.  They’ve got drill down data to show projections based on the latest polls.  Polls are never a guarantee, as honest polsters will admit, but they’re all we’ve got to work with until the actual election results come in.

And if you live in a riding that’s not a close race?  Well, then you vote your conscience.  In my riding the Conservative incumbent won last election with 51% of the vote.  Based on the numbers I’m seeing from VFE, the polls project 47% this time, so I live in a Conservative stronghold and get to vote for whoever I want.  I don’t have the ability to vote strategically, but I am telling everyone who’s interested to think about the shape of the Canada they want.  Every little bit helps.

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2 thoughts on “What's the Strategy, Anyway?

  1. Anonymous on said:

    Hrm, testing, good luck…

  2. Anonymous on said:

    Oops, that good luck was supposed to be on your next discussion.

    As for strategic voting, it assumes that an individuals concerns and vote count for nothing. By voting strategically you are taking away funds from the smaller parties and are ensuring that only the old-boy parties are left to run again in the next elections. It destroys democracy as much as this first past the post wins everything system does. Ah well. It’s the new fad. Long live hairy women and bell bottoms.

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