Why the Conservatives Love the “Strategic” Voting Sites

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NorthReport
Why the Conservatives Love the “Strategic” Voting Sites

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NorthReport

Why the Conservatives Love the "Strategic" Voting Sites
http://www.punditsguide.ca/2011/04/why-the-conservatives-love-the-strategic-voting-sites/
- great article by Alice Funke

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Thanks for posting that NorthReport. Outside the two or three ridings in the entire country where "strategic voting" is a viable consideration, these things are a total waste of time. I live in a riding where it did come into play once (Calgary Centre, in the early 1990's where everyone who wasn't a Reformer pretty much got together to elect Joe Clark so they could rid of Reform's Eric Lowther [although I was one of those who couldn't stomach even that and still voted NDP]) - and even then it was just a one time thing -- it only works on the ground in very narrow circumstances -- people who try to paint it as a strategy that can be employed nation wide are naive, Liberal operatives, or just out and out evil. I hope it puts an end to the head in the clouds discussions that have plagued the board. If you live in one of those two or three ridings where it does apply, write about your particular riding ... if you are trying to pass it off as a national strategy, please, just STFU.

NorthReport

It seems almost, if not all of the 'strategic' voting websites are run by people with Liberal party connections.  That says something in itself. The moment the NDP begins to exceed the Liberals, and the NDP was equal with the Liberals today in the AR poll, the Liberals support for 'strategic' voting will no longer be there. Laughing

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

There are two types of people who believe in "strategic" voting:

  • people who are cluless about politics
  • people who are cluless about arithmetic

 

Avaaz sent me an email today asking me to pony up money to support a "strategic" voting "resource" website.  I imagine the staffer who reads my email replay may be startled by the unsupportive tone of my reply.

Sean in Ottawa

Awww can you share-- we might find it entertaining...

Sounds like this is another thing we agree on... ;-)

Lachine Scot

Thank you for posting this!  I have been trying to support the NDP candidate in the riding I work in and have been met with "Strategic Voting" answers from many friends who are certainly to the left of the NDP in any normal setting.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Sorry Sean, but I had to use their form and didn't save a copy.  I did use the phrase "mind-numbingly stupid idea," and that was before I really started to lose it.

Sean in Ottawa

Well good on you!

It is indeed funny how the advocates of strategic voting say they are impartial but provide a lot more examples that will help them than they would conceed for an arrangement -- they are one one-sides proposal after another. And for voters on the left to keep falling for it is a little like asking Lucy to hold the ball...

jvneglia

This blog post is wrong on many levels.

(To the author):

1) I might agree that strategic voting campaigns have limited usefulness; most people in Canada will not have heard of sites like Catch22, and voters are too casual about their politics to really care anyways. Having said that, the general point of voting AGAINST a certain party or platform (i.e. to vote strategically) is actually probably more common than you would care to admit; and it happens among the electorate regardless of whether or not there are formal strategic voting campaigns. These sites end up being more advocacy (ergo, "vote to stop the Harper government!" ), then effective campaigns--even if they wish were the latter. But that does not necessarily diminish their impact, if they get people to think twice before casting their vote. There is no such thing as too much advocacy in the fight for the progressive agenda.

2) You contradict yourself by saying that they are ineffectual, and then add that they do have an effect -- killing the chances for the third, fourth parties. Which is it? Do they have an effect on elections, or don't they? If they potentially KILL third parties, then that would suggest they DO galvanize votes. And if that's case, then that might suggest they DO have the potential to succeed. Either they have no effect at all, and should be dismissed, or they do impact elections, and CAN potentially be made to work.

3) Then you say "The sites' obsession with who can win has virtually eliminated issue-based politics from either election coverage or debate at the riding level." You really do give them too much credit! If anything, our politics have simply shifted to the national stage at the riding level -- and that has little to do with these relatively small strat-voting campaigns, and everything to do with our political culture. Most voters don't follow local issues as much as they do they national ones.

4) On the other hand, saying that voting AGAINST something distracts from the issues is just plain folly. If, say, my conservative friend votes Mr. Y because he is afraid Ms. X will raise taxes then you could say he is voting against Ms. X -- or you could say he is voting FOR lower taxes, or FOR individual liberty, or FOR a neoliberal economy. I am voting FOR a progressive Canada by voting against Stephen Harper's vision. I am voting for a progressive agenda. Do you see what's happening here? That kind of argument is semantics at best; or its wide-eyed idealism that has little to do with how people actually engage the political process. When I'm urging my friends to vote against Stephen Harper, I am giving valid and reasoned arguments to do so--and positive reasons at that!

5) You use ONE example of how these campaigns are ineffectual. This is funny and ironic, since you're critiquing their methodology as unscientific. Do you not see the irony in this? The truth is, as far as I know, there is no good scientific studies of the effect or non-effect of strategic voting. Even defining strategic voting would probably be difficult since the reasons people vote for/against are so diverse. Also, your chart of 3rd place winners is inconsistent and contradictory, and shows know discernible trend. Of course 1993 and 2004 look impressive, since they ushered epochal shifts in parliament. (1993= Chretien 1st majority, two new parties; 2004= first minority govt in a generation, and a new united right).

Again, if it is advocacy these groups do, then they very well can have a positive impact, if they help galvanize the anti-conservative vote. There's nothing wrong with it in principle, and it probably has more positives than negatives if it does have any impact. The bigger question is whether these groups have any impact at all; although you seem to suggest they do.

NorthReport
janfromthebruce
Tommy_Paine

It helps to remember that in living memory, it was the Liberal Party that abandoned people during the Great Depression.  

It was the Liberal Party that turned away the St. Louis, and sent Germans Jews back to Nazi Germany. 

After the War, with everything known about the attrocities committed against European Jews, the Liberal Party policy on Jewish refugees was "None is Too Many."

It was the Liberal Party that invoked the War Measures Act, and suspended habeus corpus, and indescriminately rounded up people from their homes and held them in jails.  And put soldiers in our streets with guns.

It was the Liberal Party that instituted wage controls.

It was the Liberal Party that stole 50 Billion from the E.I. fund.

This all goes to show that when push comes to shove, the Liberal Party is every bit as right wing as any Conservative Party.

Lachine Scot

Malcolm wrote:

Avaaz sent me an email today asking me to pony up money to support a "strategic" voting "resource" website.  I imagine the staffer who reads my email replay may be startled by the unsupportive tone of my reply.

Ahh, I just got that e-mail as well.  Between this and their advocacy for intervention in Libya, they are getting very soft-headed!

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

It helps to remember that in living memory, it was the Liberal Party that abandoned people during the Great Depression.  

It was the Liberal Party that turned away the St. Louis, and sent Germans Jews back to Nazi Germany. 

After the War, with everything known about the attrocities committed against European Jews, the Liberal Party policy on Jewish refugees was "None is Too Many."

It was the Liberal Party that invoked the War Measures Act, and suspended habeus corpus, and indescriminately rounded up people from their homes and held them in jails.  And put soldiers in our streets with guns.

It was the Liberal Party that instituted wage controls.

It was the Liberal Party that stole 50 Billion from the E.I. fund.

This all goes to show that when push comes to shove, the Liberal Party is every bit as right wing as any Conservative Party.

 

It was the Liberal Party that slashed health and social transfers farther than Preston Manning could have dared or Stephen Harper could have dreamed.

Indeed, apart from the long gun registry, Stephen Harper is simply carrying forward all of the policies of the Chretien - Martin ministry.

bekayne

Tommy_Paine wrote:

It was the Liberal Party that stole 50 Billion from the E.I. fund.

Any parties pledging to put 50 Billion back?

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Lachine Scot wrote:

Malcolm wrote:

Avaaz sent me an email today asking me to pony up money to support a "strategic" voting "resource" website.  I imagine the staffer who reads my email replay may be startled by the unsupportive tone of my reply.

Ahh, I just got that e-mail as well.  Between this and their advocacy for intervention in Libya, they are getting very soft-headed!

Since Libya their messages go directly to spam on my computer. I'm glad I missed their latest missive.

Tommy_Paine

"Any parties pledging to put 50 Billion back?"

 

Directly, no. The NDP  is sorta maybe, in that they'd return the E.I. program to what it should be doing, that is maintaining consumer spending during economic downturns-- which is to say, something resembling what it was before Chretien and Martin gutted it.

duncan cameron

Michael Byers has come out strongly against strategic voting campaigns.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/04/20/cv-election-vp-myers.html

I took a similar position back in 2004.

http://rabble.ca/columnists/mulroney-and-his-impersonators

In this election defeating vulnerable Con candidates seems to me imperative. We are talking about perhaps 10 per cent of the ridings. What awaits Canadians if Harper has a majority is truly mind boggling to contemplate, beginning with cuts to the public service and the truly mad plan to acquire F35 fighters at a cost of $30 billion that are designed to be used in bombing support of an invasion of a foreign country.

Voting Liberal to defeat a Conservative does not mean electing a Liberal government. Stopping Harper can mean that the NDP idea of a coalition government with the Liberals will become a reality.

In fact pressure need to build now to ensure that the Cons are defeated on the speech from the throne on the principle that a party in contempt of parliament can not form a government in a democracy. After seeing the Cons defeated, the G.G. would be obliged to ask the second party to try and form a government.

janfromthebruce

Hi Duncan, I think that the best strategic vote is to follow the Quebec lead! Kiss get my drift!

 

duncan cameron wrote:

Michael Byers has come out strongly against strategic voting campaigns.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/04/20/cv-election-vp-myers.html

I took a similar position back in 2004.

http://rabble.ca/columnists/mulroney-and-his-impersonators

In this election defeating vulnerable Con candidates seems to me imperative. We are talking about perhaps 10 per cent of the ridings. What awaits Canadians if Harper has a majority is truly mind boggling to contemplate, beginning with cuts to the public service and the truly mad plan to acquire F35 fighters at a cost of $30 billion that are designed to be used in bombing support of an invasion of a foreign country.

Voting Liberal to defeat a Conservative does not mean electing a Liberal government. Stopping Harper can mean that the NDP idea of a coalition government with the Liberals will become a reality.

In fact pressure need to build now to ensure that the Cons are defeated on the speech from the throne on the principle that a party in contempt of parliament can not form a government in a democracy. After seeing the Cons defeated, the G.G. would be obliged to ask the second party to try and form a government.

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

janfromthebruce

Hi Duncan, I think that the best strategic vote is to follow the Quebec lead! Kiss get my drift!

 

duncan cameron wrote:

Michael Byers has come out strongly against strategic voting campaigns.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/04/20/cv-election-vp-myers.html

I took a similar position back in 2004.

http://rabble.ca/columnists/mulroney-and-his-impersonators

In this election defeating vulnerable Con candidates seems to me imperative. We are talking about perhaps 10 per cent of the ridings. What awaits Canadians if Harper has a majority is truly mind boggling to contemplate, beginning with cuts to the public service and the truly mad plan to acquire F35 fighters at a cost of $30 billion that are designed to be used in bombing support of an invasion of a foreign country.

Voting Liberal to defeat a Conservative does not mean electing a Liberal government. Stopping Harper can mean that the NDP idea of a coalition government with the Liberals will become a reality.

In fact pressure need to build now to ensure that the Cons are defeated on the speech from the throne on the principle that a party in contempt of parliament can not form a government in a democracy. After seeing the Cons defeated, the G.G. would be obliged to ask the second party to try and form a government.

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!