yet another tactic

It seems that NOT VOTING is a popular consideration amongst many of us.  The idea being that NOT voting is a benign revolt, a subtle rejection of the system, a vote of non-confidence, as it were.  Cutting our noses off to spite our face is essentially what that is.

And that’s an error.  NOT voting is what the parties in power actually want.  All three of the major parties want lesser turnout, not more.  The ideal voting scenario for them is that only the rabid faithful vote and the rest of the general rabble don’t vote at all – for whatever reason they choose to cling to.

Why?  Because the big three can influence their own groups to get out the vote for them. The rest of the population is a crapshoot.  “Because our card-carrying ‘rabid faithful’ can maybe outnumber theirs especially if theirs don’t bother to vote.  And, further, we can cheat and do dirty tricks like busing uninformed immigrants around the place for no more than a free lunch and bit of speechifying.  They’ll vote for us and their vote at least cancels out the other party’s rabid faithful. With luck, the whole damn thing will be decided by just the few of us.”

In other words; they know they will vote.  Being able to count on others NOT voting is the second best thing for them.   

Small turnouts result in incumbents winning.  Small turnouts cannot create change.  Small turnouts indicate ambivalence, not resistance.  Small turnouts serve the BIG three.  You can either vote for Harper and he gets your vote or else you can NOT vote and he gets the equivalent of half a vote.  To vote against Harper you HAVE to actually cast a distinctly different vote and unless that distinctly different vote goes to the winning party, it will amount to only half a vote.  In effect.

Say, for instance, you vote Green but the Liberals win.  Your Green vote ultimately means nothing except that Harper didn’t get it.  The Liberals didn’t get it either but, because they won, that vote didn’t matter to them.  It didn’t help the Greens or the NDP either but it was, at least, half – effective.  It was a half-vote.  It was closer to the none-vote than a  NON vote would have been, actually. ‘Cause the NON vote only serves the incumbent well.

If you voted Liberal and they won, your vote counted fully.  It meant something to the successful party.  That is the only time it really counts as a real, fully empowered vote. In our system, you have to guess right to be fully effective.  It is this kind of reasoning behind the ‘vote strategically’ movement that wants us all to pre-determine which party has the best chance of unseating a Conservative and then voting for that one – whoever it is.  The idea is: any rep but a Con.

I don’t like that.  It means we eliminate choices.  Eventually it is just Republicans vs Democrats, Ford vs Chev, the American League vs the National league.  I am inclined to voting my conscience instead.  I want to perpetuate the semblance of choice by retaining some.   Plus I believe minority governments work better.

But this time, I am voting strategically.  I will be casting my vote for whichever NON CON running has the best chance to unseat the incumbent.  I would cast that vote for the Rhinoceros Party if they were the front-runner.  The Bloc, even.

But I feel that is a compromise to my ethics.  I really do.  I really feel we should be able to vote our conscience.  This time, we can’t.  So I am going to vote strategically instead.  I am not proud of this.

I was frightened into it.  A cynic friend of mine jokingly pointed out, “The Greens are funded by the Conservatives!  Remember Elizabeth May used to be Mulroney’s right hand. The Greens keep the Cons in!”

“WHAT!!!!  ARE YOU MAD????”

“Think about it, Dave.  The fewer people who vote, the more likely are the Cons to get back in because the incumbents benefit by low turnout.  Green votes are ‘left leaning’ so they split the ‘left side’ of the political spectrum.  There is only one party officially on the ‘right side’ and so any right-wing oriented voter has to vote Conservative.  If you really wanted to get rid of the Cons you would start four more parties all with right wing platforms to split the right wing vote.  Start a Republican Party, a SoCred Party, a Nazi-fascist Party and a Totalitarian Monarchy Party. That might just do it.  As it is now, the left is divided in thirds and the undivided right-wing Cons win with that system.”

“Oh, Gawd!  We need proportional representation so, so bad.”


14 thoughts on “yet another tactic

  1. I agree with you. the solution might be to end the ‘first past the post’ that we currently have. New Zealand’s reform of parliament is worth a look.

    Point two, I think the Greens are conservative in the sense of having sustainable growth and sustainable economy.


  2. The REFORM party was formed on two magical planks that resonated with conservatives and liberals alike. 1. The MP can vote his/her conscience or constituents best interests first and the party second 2. They were all free to speak as they felt in the house – they did not have to toe the party line. I liked that.
    As soon as the Reforms became the Canadian Alliance, they dropped those two planks – “you speak as Stockwell tells you to speak, you vote as Stockwell tells you to vote!” And then they went one step further – the CA became the Cons.
    So, you have a classic example of a promise of integrity being made by the disingenuous. They lied. Any original REFORM party supporter was left hollow by their duplicity and lies.
    I love the Greens. I like E. May and what she is saying. I even support 80% of the platform (I gag on the PC and motherhood and flag issues). I have hope for them because I can’t see the world going any other way – in the medium to long run. We will all be GREEN soon or we will all be dead. Green is the only way to go (IF they are really GREEN). But just as Conservatives have proven not to be conservative and Liberals have proven in the past NOT to be liberal, then one has to assume that the Greens may prove NOT to be GREEN. I’ll vote for them to get a chance but they have to earn the next vote I cast if they are ever in power by doing what they say they will do. I am too cynical to throw my allegiance behind any group in power, to be honest. I believe power corrupts.


    • I agree with your analysis. For a while some MPs were speaking their minds but party discipline persuaded them otherwise. Now some MPs have talking points which they repeat and repeat. Party discipline is all for some partys. But these robotic answers that repeat the same point over and over without being able to respond to changing circumstances are damaging to overly scripted spokespersons positions.


      • I can understand asking your MPs to ‘stay on message’ if you are trying to sell something to the public but any MP that does that to the exclusion of the greater truth has no integrity. Sure, they can say, “We are great and doing heroic work for all Canadians (rah, rah our party and our illustrious leader!) but we erred in the instance the honourable member just described and we dropped the ball. We deserve a good licking but you’ll have to excuse me right now because I am going to go fix it!” If a politician ever said that, I’d vote for them!


  3. Interesting.
    This weeks Economist magazine has an editorial on the US Presidential election potential Democratic nominees.
    They talk about Elizabeth Warren.
    She comes from a financially destitute background( her father was bankrupted) She speacialized in Bankruptcy Law. Became Harvard professor and helped the Obama govt with new Laws after the 2008 meltdown.
    She became involved in politics after Republicans tried to block her from a finance committee.
    Now that she has become a Democratic Senator.
    What she has seen has her seething…and I quote.
    “The game is rigged” Wall Street CEO’s and lobbyists strut around Congress, bending the govt to their will.
    She is now riding a wave of voter disaffection which has become the most powerful force in modern politics………..

    Hillary better watch her back. There’s a new sheriff in town.


    • Poor ol’ Hill…..she may get blown off the map…..and she has tried so hard…..No one has tried harder. I’d be inclined to vote for her even tho there is something I don’t like about her just because she wants it so badly. Anyone who wants something that much either has a lot to bring or is going to try to take a lot…one or the other. And, even if she is the dark force at work, she couldn’t be as bad as Bush/Cheney.


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