Green and growing

My story about being a Green politician in Canada, and why it was the best thing I ever did.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Herding cats

My belief is that strategic voting is like herding cats. We like to think that voting is a rational process, but it is not. There are a lot of other emotional and psychological factors in play, including loyalty, peer influence, generational influence, attachment to particular issues, leader preferences, local candidate preferences, and level of engagement.

Remember that 40% of the potential voters in this country will not actually vote. So to suggest that some grand scheme cooked up by a third party with an axe to grind will massively influence this complex behaviour is absurd. What it does instead is simply reinforce the belief that the outcome of this election was largely determined by the outcome of the last election. Who benefits from that? The same parties that benefit from first past the post. The same parties that benefit from voter fatigue. The same parties that are in it to hold power at all cost.

First past the post is well past its expiry. It is better to cast a vote for what you believe, than to cast a vote for something you dislike, based on the assumption that someone else's prediction of the outcome is accurate and yet somehow avoidable.

I wonder what it was like in the old days when there were no polls? I guess people just voted for the candidate they thought would do best. With proportional representation, we could do that again.


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