Saturday, April 23, 2011

Harper win?

The the NDP surge in popularity is a game changer. There are some who are very worried that this will create the circumstances that will lead to a Harper majority because of the non-Con vote split. There are some who think that we'll end up with a Con minority and a Dipper official opposition. There are some who think Liberals will win, lose or draw.

The basic fact is that you'd have far better luck herding cats in a field full of mice than you would policing enough of the electorate to strategically vote the Conservatives out of office. In the past I've put faith in this idea, but people will vote how they vote and until the Parties themselves start telling people to vote for the other guy, strategic voting remains a fantasy.

How this election plays out, therefore, remains to be seen. Some NDP or Liberal led minority? Some coalition of non-Cons going to the GG and usurping a Con minority? Another Con minority? A sweeping Con majority?

I don't know and neither do you. We will find out May 2nd.

So what do we do? Well, lets imagine the worst and the Opposition divides itself and the Cons sweep in with a majority? Well, that's something we'll have to deal with. What are you going to do under a Con majority? Sit there and take it, whinging away while a Harper party bludgeons the country?

Or are you going to find ways of subverting and resisting that government? Will you accept that the game has changed and life isn't always fair or easy? Will you accept that sometimes the circumstances of your existence demand that you step up and act?  Will you think strategically about the next few years? You can focus on the local and provincial/Territorial levels; places where you stand a chance (if you don't live in Alberta) of electing progressive governments able to challenge the Harpercons? Will you some of you decide not to pay a cent in taxes to an entity that names itself Harper Government, or work on ways to limit your participation in a society that is not what you thought it was?

Will you see a Harper majority be a catalyst for a revolution in progressive politics in this country and act accordingly? Will you card-carrying Liberal, NDP, Green, or even Bloc progressives see the Harper majority as a call arms, something that spells the post-war era of Canadian party politics you subscribe to and work toward an evolution of that system?

Or will you sit there and turn on your fellow progressives, and blame them for allowing a Harper majority? Will you use that as an excuse for inaction or noncooperation with whatever cohort you blame? Will you spend your time gazing rearward, with an angry fantasist's nostalgia at what might have been?

A Harper majority doesn't mean the game is over.


fern hill said...

I'm going to vote strategically, because it is the only thing I CAN do.

What I'll do under a Con majority I'll figure out when I recover from my week-long drunk.

900ft Jesus said...

thanks for this, Boris. Very well said.

hettygreen said...

My riding has a sitting Liberal member (barely) who seems to be a decent chap. While I don't consider myself a Liberal supporter (a BQ led government would be preferable were it possible) I have no problem voting stategically. Voting for the NDP (which I did last go round in a different, NDP led riding) is nuts if the candidate cannot come remotely close to winning the seat.

Watch Sun News (on an empty stomach if possible). They can barely contain their glee over Mr. Layton's 'surge' which, in the world of cold hard political calculus will only result in more left leaning liberals voting their 'social' conscience and ending up like the ANZACs storming the beaches of Gallipoli.

psa said...

not to be unkind hetty but if you are trusting the analysis of the sunfox news team you might want to reassess. there is some odd magical thinking at work in the land that seems to go to a floundering liberal party being able to wrest more seats out of the same polling numbers. on what planet does a sagging interest in the liberals equal a better chance of taking seats? the victor is the one with the most votes, regardless of brand.

a lot of the "ndp can't take more ridings" song is based on the received wisdom that the ndp can't take more ridings. for reasons that baffle me, i keep seeing this refrain from supposed progressives, "a vote for the ndp is a vote for harper". fucking bollocks is what that is. that panicked nonsense is the howl of partisans and those in fear of actual change. they want change but not so much that things are different.

it strikes me that all this terrified squeaking is doing is encouraging people to stay home. at the end of the day, the lpc is not a compelling choice. they have a safe, not too different from status quo platform. their parachute club borrowed slogan failed to catch on the way they hoped, perhaps because it was delivered by a guy that i and many people still don't trust.

if you're in a riding where the cpc are polling strongly i guess you just just stay home and enjoy the comforting embrace of television. after all, it would be nuts to vote if your candidate can't come remotely close to winning a seat. put your feet up. go ahead. nothing to see here. that is the logic being sold under the strategy brand.

psa said...


right now, the lpc, the cpc and the bloc are all filling their collective britches because none of them predicted that there might well be a groundswell movement among the population for something different, for actual change. we have three basic options: you can get out and vote your conscience and hope your candidate wins, you can rely on a website or an adamant person to convince you that you must vote for strategic candidate B as the only hope to unseat a con or you can stay the fuck home with the rest of the people who have been convinced that their vote doesn't count.

too many people will take that third option and it is in that option that harper will find his victory. and if enough people vote with their hindquarters... his dread majority. any lpc supporter or strategic vote monger who admonishes you to vote lpc as the only choice in your riding is a liar and a fool. the lpc numbers are stagnant and there is no momentum there. they will hold roughly around the same number of seats as they have. on the other hand, the ndp is making a real run at gaining some momentum in two battleground regions, quebec and the west. that momentum needs to be encouraged.

in the world of cold political calculus, mr layton's surge is the only thing that will bring new voters, youth voters and voters hungry for change out to the polls. the lpc are doing the same stupid thing that found them in the sorry state they're in, they are trying to grab votes away from the centre right and there are blessed few votes there that aren't spoken for. if left leaning liberals sit on their hands with a choice of a drab status quo lpc or the terror that shifting to the left will leave thousands dead on the beach, they'll choose number three and they'll stay home.

every vote that is not a cpc vote counts. it counts in a conservative riding, a bloc riding an lpc or ndp or green or a pirate riding. hetty your calculus is wrong. there is no evidence to support your finding that left leaning liberal voters, joining traditional ndp voters will amount to less votes against harper's candidate. you want bodies washing up on the figurative beaches, encourage people that their choices don't count. encourage people to abandon enthusiasm. encourage people to opt for a cold one and the game instead of exercising their franchise.

the pure fact is that none of the poobahs know with any certainty where the voting trends will go, especially this time out. please don't buy in to the myth that there can only be one outcome for your conscientious vote. all of the pundits and pushers that are working from the point of fear are doing so in the express admission that they sure didn't see layton coming... so do the same thing they told you to do before the game momentum shifted?

bottom line, more votes are the answer. the only way to beat harper is to bring out more votes. the cons are relying on a steady and predictable base number of votes. every vote cast above and beyond their locked in base reduces their odds. period. more votes will not equal gallipoli. more votes will resemble d-day, some will fall but more will go on to ultimate victory.

karen said...

I listened to a woman on Cross Country check up yesterday say that she has voted in every election for nearly 20 years and has NEVER felt she could vote her conscience and so has always voted for someone she didn't want. I hear some people I usually really admire spouting this advice and I don't get it. Why would you offer something you don't believe in your support? Could it be that we have the government we deserve because we keep voting for something we don't want?

hettygreen said...

psa my Liberal riding is a whisker away from going to Harper and Co. While I am not enamoured with any of the current crop of political leaders I will be d***ed if my vote for the Green or the NDP contributes to a CRAP win where I live. As for media credibility Sun has none (apart from the value of better understanding one's political enemies) but the main stream media promotion of the NDP surge somehow does? Sorry but I'm waiting for May 3 before even considering this as accepted wisdom. Hell, even Alan Gregg calls the polling business seriously dysfunctional these days.

Until such time as we get a more representative electoral system I'll be sticking with cold hard calculus when casting my vote.