Strategic Voting part deux – an alternative viewpoint

Adam’s recent piece on strategic voting rejects the idea that the only way to ensure the defeat of the Conservatives, and the demise of Tim Hudak’s political career, is to vote for the current incumbent Laura Albanese. His argument is based on the probability that Progressive Conservative candidate Andrew Ffrench cannot win the York South-Weston seat. Adam concludes it does not matter if the the NDP candidate is elected, because it is not contributing toward a P.C. win.

Allow me to present a contrarian view based on conversations I have had with my wife.

A look at the policies of the three main parties in this election reveals that two parties, the P.C.s and the NDP have drastically veered from their traditional political positions.

The P.C. leader has ventured so far to the right that his party is touching on “Tea Party” territory. Mr. Hudak’s plan to create a million jobs, with no details on what type of jobs will be created, and his vow to eliminate 100,000 government positions should worry all of us. Creating jobs is not difficult if one sacrifices worker protection, environmental laws and benefits. As Reverend Al Sharpton, once astutely observed,

We had full employment in the black community during slavery. We just didn’t have wages. So we don’t want just a job, we want a job that pays, and pays so that we can take care of our families.

Part of the reason for Mr. Hudak’s shift to the soft shoulder of the extreme right is that Andrea Horwath has steered the NDP bus across the median and over to the right of centre, hi-jacking traditional Conservative policies.  When the so-called “Gang of 34” wrote their unprecedented letter, they simple pointed out the obvious fact that Ms Horwath has rejected traditional NDP values. The letter has been fiercely attacked by Ms Horwath’s supporters, questioning the reputation of people who have devoted long years to the NDP.  But her shift to the right was blatantly demonstrated when she chose to defeat the NDP-friendly Liberal budget. Ms Horwath should at least have the candour to relabel her party, as Britain’s Tony Blair did when he swung Labour to the right. Perhaps her party should be called “the New NDP”.

This drastic change in party policies, leaves just Kathleen Wynne, solidly at the centre. And despite the gas plant scandal, there really is no choice but to vote Liberal.

The results of this election have the potential to take Ontario into the kind of right wing territory which might make Mr. Harris seem a moderate.  Every seat will count in this contest. A minority government led by Hudak will allow him a bully pulpit from which to seduce people to turn against their own best interests, in favour of corporate profit and McJobs. Every seat the NDP wins will entrench Andrea’s hold as leader and encourage a further swing to the right, as happened in Great Britain after Tony Blair’s success.

Ontario voters must push the reset button in this election.  The only way to do this is to give Ms Wynne a solid majority. A Liberal majority will collapse the political fortunes of both Mr. Hudak and Ms. Horwath allowing normalcy to return. The Progressive Conservatives will reassume their traditional place just to the right of centre. The NDP will rediscover the values of Tommy Douglas and Stephen and David Lewis. Ontario will avoid the very possible slide into the delusory thinking which maintains that the only way to cope with our problems is to cut taxes, decrease government spending and allow corporations free reign so the unemployment problem can be solved by the free market economy. Research shows that these policies have not helped the average worker in the US.

“According to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, those in the top 1 percent of households doubled their share of pretax income from 1979 to 2007; the bottom 80 percent saw their share fall. Worse, while the average income for the top 1 percent more than tripled (after inflation), the bottom 80 percent saw only feeble income growth, on the order of just 20 percent over nearly 30 years. The rising tide was raising a few boats hugely and most other boats not very much.” Source: National Journal

While Paul Ferreira is a worthy candidate and one who, if elected would continue to work hard for the community, the need to vote strategically in this election is of greater importance.

8 thoughts on “Strategic Voting part deux – an alternative viewpoint”

  1. I agree with Roy. Hudak must be stopped. Based on the polls right now, the Liberals are the only ones who has that ability to stop him forming government. Although I may have some self interest in this (im a teacher), we can’t as a society go back to the Harris days.

  2. it is very disheartening to vote this time as no party seems good, and good local candidates will be sacrificed by trying to determine the party most likely to keep us healthy as well a working.

  3. I recently came across and subscribed to the Weston Web, at that time expressing in a post that I was / am impressed by Adam’s interest and the spirit of this civic effort. But while I do appreciate the sharing of this alternate view, I must admit … considering the high regard that I hold for Adam in creating this forum, I am relieved that he was not the author of what I consider to be this unprincipled call for strategic voting — a strategy that has proven itself effective in serving and enabling the highly unprincipled governance that we have experienced for the past decade.

    And no, I am not a Conservative supporter … just someone tired of arguments for civic engagement based on fear rather than principle — an argument that in this instance simultaneously (and in my opinion, ironically) cites unprincipled shifts in Party ideology as a premise.

    And no, I am not a teacher either … but as someone positioned to encourage otherwise uninspired youth to vote, I find it difficult to advise voting “strategically” while also attempting to mentor and model the importance of a principled foundation for words and actions — which, I would think, should include not continuing to reward those who have proven unworthy of trust and support.

    (“Strategically”: An essentially blind decision that individuals make in the hopes that by doing so they will help shape the population in accordance to their own interests … while others attempt to do the same in their respective interests … interests that may or may not coincide … What could go wrong!)

    My opinion: Register and make a principled stand — even if it means showing-up an spoiling your individual ballot to indicate your view that none of the candidates and/or Parties deserve your approval.

  4. My hubby read my reply and thought it might be good for me to clarify all the “…”‘s in my explanation of what it really means when one claims to be voting “strategically”.

    My point is this: There are just too many unknown variables for you to actually call that approach “strategic”. What you are essentially doing is deciding to vote based on your belief that others are going to do that which you fear … without knowing what the abstract unconfirmed number of other eligible voters are actually thinking and/or will do. And how could you really claim to know what others are thinking or will do with confidence when a) what little population-based information that you actually have has been so highly mediated and, b) even still, a significant proportion of eligible voters remain uncertain themselves right up to election day — including uncertainty about whether or not they will actually turn out to vote at all! The lack of confirmation is especially problematic in this context of voting since precision is also important — i.e. Is the “strategic” voter’s desired outcome a minority government (with its ramifications / implications), or a majority one (with its very different ramifications / implications)? –> Hence my “what could go wrong” statement.

    Strategic voting is too uninformed to call it that. When you think about it, it’s also too uninformed to even call it gambling since there are just too many inconsistent unknowns (i.e. actual numbers and attitudes change with each election) for one to claim to be acting based on consideration / analysis of probabilities.

  5. Hi Cherie, it’s great to hear from new readers and thanks for your two sincerely held and well written comments. Unfortunately I cannot agree with you because your position, if adopted by a large number of people could result in a P.C. win which I’m sure we’d both regret.
    In Ontario and indeed federally, first past the post balloting is the system under which we operate. It’s a pretty blunt instrument and as you are aware, under the rules, we have only one vote. Using that vote we can only select a local representative. Sadly, we cannot choose a party leader however we do so indirectly if enough members are elected from a party. In addition, the popular vote is also considered by the caucus when measuring the success of a leader’s campaign. Your suggestion that a spoiled ballot is preferable to strategic voting simply makes no sense for the above points.
    Had people spoiled their ballots in the last election, we would no doubt be complaining loudly about Premier Hudak instead of facing an election.
    It sounds as if we would both like to see a progressive win. However, when the party leader of one of our choices claims to ‘walk in the shoes of Tommy Douglas’, but is clearly wearing the corporate clown shoes of Ronald McDonald, a line must be drawn. Yes, the Liberals have a great deal of baggage but I’m drawn to them in spite of a high regard for Paul and the work that he does. Kathleen Wynne stands head and shoulders above the other two leaders and while I have had issues with Laura Albanese in the past, she is a sincere and responsive community representative.
    I hope that clarifies my position and helps you to see that strategic voting is far from ‘uninformed’.

  6. Roy, no matter the leader Weston will stay in the gutter until we have real representation. Paul is best to represent us provincially….Laura had her chance and failed based on Metrolinx fiasco……..time to move on.

  7. Wow, Cherie, so many words, such a carefully plotted addendum, but ultimately you have ended up agreeing with “Frank Magazine.” They also recommend that voters show their disgust with all parties by destroying their ballots, albeit in a more colourful way than you would condone. As to your attempt to wrap your opinion in the “mother and apple pie” issue of teaching young minds to act morally, what act could be more immoral than to shirk one’s duty to vote. You mistakenly present an act of frustration, destroying one’s ballot, as a principled stand. To teach the young that sometimes the only choice is no choice, is to indoctrinate them in the philosophy of nihilism. It is to teach them that there are times when one’s only choice is to “curse the darkness”.

    Roy is pointing out that there is still hope for Ontario and that a principled stand is to vote for the one leader, who though sullied by the past sins of her party, has decided not to change the core values of that party. One who is “just someone tired of arguments for civic engagement based on fear rather than principle” should be repulsed by the actions of both Mr. Hudak and Ms Horwath. Mr. Hydak is preying on the fears of many Ontarians that government is wasting their money by supporting lazy civil servants, including the teachers of the youth for whom you apparently care; and the lazier poor who want to live on hard working people’s money. Ms Horwath, as Roy explains, is a pretend NDPer. This province has already suffered through that in the debacle that was Bob Rae.

    “Lighting a candle” is sometimes difficult, I think Roy’s article explains how voters can choose to turn away from extremes. His only error might be to call his advice “strategic voting”, but that appears to have been done in response to Adam’s article. Really he has given a cogent argument why Ontarians should vote Liberal.

    I am certain that you will reply to this post, as one so blinded to reason as to choose destruction over construction, is unable not to have the last word. Therefore, I concede you that last word. Just remember,

    “Nihilism literally has only one truth to declare, namely, that ultimately Nothingness prevails and the world is meaningless.”
    Helmut Thielicke

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