Category Archives: strategic voting
Message to Progressives Thinking of Voting "Strategically" and Why the Progressive Vote in Parkdale High Park Should Go To Peggy Nash
Progressives, by which I mean those concerned with issues of a thriving democracy, the environment, and social and economic justice, are once again not being well served in the coming election. Indeed, the middle of political discourse has shifted so far to the right that Rob Ford appears “reasonable” rather than bat shit crazy.
Owing to an outdated and profoundly flawed electoral system, “strategic voting” has reared its ugly head once more. Considering that one of the few strengths of First Past The Post (FPTP) system (i.e. electing a local candidate) is already continually undermined by voters who scarcely consider the merits of their local candidates in their choices, “strategic voting” only contributes further to the dysfunction in our electoral system. Thus, all progressives should at the very least demand electoral and democratic reform from our political parties.
The NDP is running on electoral and Senate reform. The LPC quite predictably is not. Liberal hack, Jason Cherniak, reminded us in 2008, exactly why the LPC is not in favour of electoral reform. What progressive voters need to understand is that the LPC is not progressive.
Regardless, the idea of “strategic voting” to prevent the “diabolical” Stephen Harper from renewing his grip on power is once again circulating. Some points for progressives to consider:
- Stephen Harper will not lead the next government of Canada.
- to do so, the CPC would need to win a majority of the seats
- as poll numbers are now and will increasingly be showing, a Harper majority is essentially out of reach, and in all likelihood the result will be a Harper minority
- the opposition will have no choice (unless they are willing to be stupefyingly hypocritical) but to reject any attempt of Harper’s to form a minority government
- Michael Ignatieff will most likely lead the next government of Canada
- not only is is the LPC not truly concerned with progressives, but also its leader, despite his attempt to craft an image as a progressive intellectual, really seems much more at home in the neoconservative camp led by Wolfwowitz and co. As for Ignatieff’s mea culpa regarding his support for the U.S. invsion of Iraq see this.
- In an interview with The Tyee, Linda McQuaig says the following:
“That quote [in Holding the Bully’s Coat] from Ignatieff, where he talks about torture [being defensible] as long as it’s done by a patriotic American, now that’s an interesting quote. That one hasn’t gotten the play that some of the others [have]. That one was from an interview he did with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. That is an incredible statement of the notion of American exceptionalism, the idea that America should be excepted from being bound by international law. And for Ignatieff to come out and endorse that in the way he did is just phenomenal. I find it striking, because he doesn’t talk like that in Canada. You don’t hear him talk like that so much in Parliament…. And yet if you actually look at some of the things he’s said, he’s actually an extraordinary neoconservative. He’s up there with guys like Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith and some of those people in terms of the extremism of his position. And yet this guy’s a prominent politician in Canada”….
- In the coming parliament, the NDP will likely hold the balance of power. Thus, the more NDP candidates that get elected, the greater will be the leverage for the only party that truly represents progressives.
- The only thing worse than strategic voting is strategic voting that is highly non strategic. In ridings where the the Conservative candidate has no chance of winning, it is in the interest of progressives to elect NDP candidates.
- In my riding of Parkdale High Park, to elect former MP Peggy Nash is a no brainer and a win win. Constituents elect the better of the two candidates and get the representation they deserve. At the same time, progressives get that much more leverage in the House of Commons. It’s not only me that thinks so, the Facebook Group Anti-Harper Vote Swap Canada in the 2008 election also thought so.
You know that in principle I’m profoundly against strategic voting, which I see as the symptom not the cure for a deeply flawed electoral system. But I guess if there’s one thing worse than “strategic voting” it’s “non strategic strategic voting”. “Strategic voting” advocates say to vote for Peggy Nash in the riding of Parkdale High Park.
There are numerous ways to break down this tightly contested race between Peggy Nash and Gerard Kennedy. While I believe that we desperately need to reform our electoral system if we want to revitalize our democracy, given what we have to work with, we should first focus on the strengths of the First Past the Post system to mitigate its inherent unfairness. An obvious strength of the FPTP system is that it allows voters to establish a direct and local connection with their elected representatives. In the FPTP system, each voter really is asked to evaluate the candidates running in the riding and choose from among those the one that will best represent and defend his/her interests. For PHP, in a head to head comparison, Peggy Nash is the clear and superior choice for most voters, particularly progressive voters.