Voters: look before you leap

by | Oct 16, 2015 | Editorial

With the election fast approaching, tensions are in the air and Canadian citizens are hotly debating where there political allegiances will fly.

There is a real democracy at work and the citizens are eager to participate and help shape the future of the country that provides them the safety and security they need to live their lives in peace.

But which direction is the most relevant? And with so much surrounding the current government, including political scandal and obstacles in terms of democratic progression, the culture of Canada is sure to change drastically as we enter 2016.

We would like to present a new idea. Given a grassroots opposition to the current Harper government, and people agreeing generally that a new direction must be taken, we are faced with a choice.

Some would say that the opposition to the Harper government, especially amongst youth, makes this decision a split between the left and the further left. We could argue that in many people’s eyes this is an “anyone but Harper” game.

So where does that leave us? We are faced with two options that are very similar in ideology but differ in terms of practice and historical experience in government.

According to the most recent Nanos poll, the Liberal party is in the lead with just over 35 per cent of decided support, followed by the Conservatives at 29 per cent and the NDP at 25 per cent.

There is a phenomenon in politics called the split vote. This is where people who appropriate their convictions to a party they really enjoy rather than the party that has greater potential to win the election end up taking away from the party that might win. This can make it so that the unfavorable party wins because its opposition has lost strength to another group.

There is a possibility that this will happen in 2015. If many people are aware that the Liberals may win but decide to vote NDP, for example, this may result in the Liberals losing their momentum and the Conservatives gaining strength as the left wing voters are split between two favorable options.

For this reason, we believe left wing voters should unify under one party to give it the most possible strength in the election to replace the current government, which has failed in many ways. This is called a strategic vote.

While we should also consider the other side, however, the phenomenon of strategic voting applies differently to the Conservatives. A Conservative making a strategic vote must take into consideration the party that they would not want in power.

In terms of obvious politics, a Conservative may want the Liberals to lose. In this case, a Conservative may strategically vote NDP in order to take away from the Liberal momentum and create the split vote mentioned above.

However, if this happens the Conservative government loses momentum as voters haphazardly vote in other directions for the purposes of strategy.

We would argue that there may not be a strategic voting option for the Conservatives because the other two parties are unified against them.

The only way for Conservatives to take advantage of the election and increase their prospects for government is to vote Conservative and maintain the momentum that has been gathered.

Left-wingers have a different game to play. Unify under the party with the most prospects or vote for the party that represents a more drastic change for Canada.

This assumes that there are lots of progressives who would desire an NDP government. If this is the case, then the above applies and left-wingers who oppose Harper should vote for the leading progressive party to strengthen that potential government.

It is important to remember that the Conservative party is fighting in this election on two fronts. They are essentially surrounded by opposition. There is no real strategic voting option for a Conservative because all other options are counterproductive to their goals of establishing a Conservative government.

Progressives need a strategy. The Canadian left-wing has options and momentum.

We want Canadians to vote strategically and unfortunately this option does not apply to Conservatives who, when attempting to use a voting strategy, would weaken their party’s prospects.

Think about what Canadian government would establish your goals. If you are a die-hard left-winger, maybe moderate your views for the purposes of preventing an undesirable outcome.

Ultimately, the purpose of this election is to establish the direction Canada will take as it enters 2016. We have been on the same road for a while and if you believe a change is necessary, maybe take a slight left rather than a u-turn.

For many people, politics is a game. If Canadians want to establish a direction, sometimes we may have to play the game a little bit. Games often require a strategy.

In this election, left-wingers have this option of strategy. Maybe it is time to use it.