strategic voting

January 20, 2008 ·



now that primary season is in full swing, i've been following as much as i can. i recently read a macleans article that caught my attention. more specifically, a quote from a citizen and how he was going to cast his vote was what struck me. he tells the magazine:

"my reservation is that in the general election, he (obama) won't get enough support because of his race. and i really don't want a republican in the white house." but sandin was worried that clinton is too loathed by republicans to get elected, or get anything done (author). "i don't see how she could bring the country together if half the country hates her. i don't think they hate obama the way they hate hillary."

understand that the primaries are meant as a sort of litmus test for the parties to help them select their candidate for the november election. with the party above all else, they want to put the person most likely to be elected in the general election. so parties turn to the populace to see who is the most electable, thus the primaries. it's truly an impressive system were the people have a huge amount of power in all stages of the process. however convoluted the electoral system is (ie. how does gore win the popular vote, but still not get elected?), it does make for one that has a lot of democracy built into it.

to lay a point of comparison, here in canada, the parties themselves select their leader in a party convention. the same happens in america. the difference being that in canada, the selection is done without the involvement of the citizens. in fact the whole electoral year here passes in what seems like a matter of weeks. the election is called, there's like a month of campaigning, a vote, and boom, it's over. where in the u.s. takes the better part of a year and a half to get from the start of campaigning, through to election day. that's besides the point.

what was my point is how the primaries can make people vote. when you think voting, you understand that as casting a vote for who you want to be the leader. the person you think most fits your personal set of beliefs and would represent the path you want the country to follow. but what about more strategic voting?

what mr.sandin 's quote above suggested to me was voting, not for who you really want, but the lesser of two evils. putting the democratic party above his own candidate, he threw his support behind obama rather than clinton (who it sounded like he wanted to vote for) based on either of them against any republican for president rather than each against each other for the democratic nomination. is this right? is this fair?

i wasn't sure how i felt about this. it certainly presented a new facet to voting that hadn't occurred to me, and one i believe isn't a consideration in every election. this year's election being an extremely important one (not that every election isn't important, just that the 2008 one is an election for the ages coming out of the second bush administration with a country that has a lot of recovery to do internally and externally) i think it comes into play in a big way. the next presidential term is about change (as trite a saying as that has become this campaign) and truly an important one where there is no candidate really apart and ahead from the others. that was a mantle for clinton, but much has changed.

on one side of the coin, doing this belies the point of the primaries. it is thinking ahead in the process to the final showdown in november rather than the part of the process at hand of selecting the party representative. if a lot of people act this way, that undermines the process. had all those people properly communicated to the pollsters their real intentions instead of acting on a perception, it might have meant someone else would have gotten elected. perhaps even the person they really wanted. but because of a perceived shortcoming (or whatever) they channeled their vote elsewhere to simply draw party lines.

on the other side, it is truly the prerogative and freedom of the american people to do so. right or wrong. it is a power given to them by the parties that they have the liberty to act as they want. if america has nothing else going for it, they have a strong democratic process, and this is just an element of the game. like a board game, this is a strategy to employ in order to gain an outcome they want. even if that outcome isn't their preferred candidate, but their party.

one conclusion i have come to in this election year is with so many strong candidates, party lines don't seem to be as important. i can see myself voting for the democrats (who i normally align with) or the republicans. there are a lot of candidates who have a lot of good ideas and strengths. i'm not so much interested in making sure a democrat is in the white house. i believe all candidates on both sides know the importance of change after this president and to me it is who is most fit to institute that change and right the ship that so sorely needs to be done. so if i had to make a call on this, i'd be voting for who i want in office, not which party.

1 comments:

Mitt Romney said...
January 29, 2008 at 3:11 PM  

i would love to make sweet love to hillary.

who wouldn't?

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