4.05.2011

"why i'm voting liberal even though i'm not a liberal" at the mark

My piece "Why I'm Holding My Nose and Voting Ignatieff" is now running at The Mark.

I still don't feel altogether comfortable with the choice, and I'm sure I never will. But I've examined it from every angle, and this time out, this is what I have to do.

24 comments:

Matthias said...

Tough choice that I probably couldn't make the way you do (although I found the idea of a vote swap in the last elections quite good). But as a German citizen I don't have to vote that way in elections due to our system of (partial) proportional representation - which is not great but definitely better than the "the winner takes all" approach" in North America.

laura k said...

A proportional representation system would go a long way towards fixing this problem.

I'm curious why you say you "probably couldn't make the way you do". You mean because it would disgust you too much to vote Liberal? That is what happened to me in the US with the Democrats, so I certainly understand. Or do you mean something else?

PaulM said...

Welcome to the world of strategic voting. I'm a lifelong NDP supporter who has federally voted Liberal in every election since I came of age. If I ever thought, for a second, that the NDP had a chance of forming a federal government I'd switch in an instant. Unfortunately, I feel I must always vote to block some Tory wingnut. Redundant, I know...

laura k said...

Welcome to the world of strategic voting.

When I posted this piece the first time (earlier on this blog), people said the same thing. I'm from the US. Strategic voting is not unknown to me! I met it long before coming to Canada.

If I ever thought, for a second, that the NDP had a chance of forming a federal government I'd switch in an instant.

That would not be the only criteria for me. If the NDP had any chance of winning my riding, I would absolutely vote for them to increase their number of seats in Parliament. For me personally, it is not only about who forms the government.

There are many ridings where the realistic choice is between Lib and NDP. In those cases, I would vote NDP every time.

Matthias said...

Yes, Laura you got me right.
I once voted for the social democrats and the Greens in a provincial election to get one of the most right wing conservative PMs in Germany out of power - but it didn't work out. Since then I have always voted for the Left Party and I am quite glad about this choice.
But if I had the Canadian citizenship and I was in your situation, maybe I would vote for the "lesser evil" - right now I can't get my head around this concept.
I am in Québec at hte moment and here I would vote for Québec solidaire on the provincial level (once again difficult although Amir Kadhir won his riding in MTL) but on the federal level I wouldn't know who to vote for because of the poor "choice" between the disgusting Conservatives, the once social-democratic Bloc Québécois and the Liberals that are smashing the social gains of the Québécois people right now in the provincial government.

Bon bref, I hope you can be happy with your difficult but understandable choice next month.

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree totally Laura. My riding is unrepresented by an empty suit Tory who has held the seat since Preston's Reform Party days. He's still a backbencher only because there are no seats further removed from the floor of the House. I'm willing to vote for whatever candidate is poised to give him the toughest fight although folks in this constituency will still back the guy anyway. There are so many elderly from across the west in my riding that they seem to vote Tory almost reflexively.

M@ said...

I'm in an even worse spot -- I know the NDP candidate personally and I like him a lot. I'd be happy to give him my vote.

But Oakville is a winnable riding for the Liberals; even electionprediction.org says it's too close to call. The Green party got more votes in 2008 than the NDP did in Oakville. I don't want to jeopardize a chance to defeat a CPC incumbent so my vote (and Mei's, and Bean's if that's at all possible) is going to the Liberal candidate.

laura k said...

I once pronounced that I would never vote LOTE again, but as I learn over and over, never say never. Each situation is different.

I must say it makes me feel better to hear from friends who are voting strategically, like M@ and others in the 905s. I have friends who would as soon vote Lib as jump off the CN Tower... but they live in downtown TO, in ridings that are either solidly NDP or contested between NDP and actual liberal Liberals. Easy for them!

johngoldfine said...

I'm a registered USian Republican--but only so I can vote for LOTEs in primaries and local caucuses. In general elections I have only voted Republican once, and he was a neighbor and not a nutjob.

laura k said...

I used to register Democrat for the same reason. I sure am glad to be done with primaries and party registration.

impudent strumpet said...

So THAT'S why people in the US register for political parties. I've heard people mention it in passing before, and I'm like "WTF, you have to tell them who you're going to vote for before you vote?" That makes better sense.

laura k said...

You can only vote in the primaries if you're registered with a party, and only for that party. I used to register Dem to get another shot at voting, and to record another vote for the more liberal Dem.

Lots of times I would vote for the most progressive Dem in the primaries, then vote third-party in the general election.

johngoldfine said...

I live in a heavy Republican area--so when I write my legislators regularly about the stupid shit they are up to, it's nice to start the letter, "As a fellow Republican...."

("Not that I'd ever vote for you, dumbo....")

M. Yass said...

I'm in a similar boat. My MP, a Liberal who was formerly the NDP premier of BC, won the last election by 20 votes following a judicial recount. He also helped me with my last study permit application.

The NDP candidate here, who is Chinese, can at best can siphon off enough of the Chinese vote to deny a victory to the Tory candidate, who is also Chinese. At worst, she can also grab enough votes from the incumbent to hand the election to the Tory. Or so the thinking goes.

Needless to say, I'm supporting the incumbent Liberal candidate in my riding. Now, if I lived in either of the two ridings north of me, or in the riding to the northeast where I used to live, all of which are solidly NDP country, then I would support the NDP candidate.

Isn't it nice to live in a country where (1) the choices aren't limited to the Evil Party and the Stupid Party (even though we have those) and (2) where corporate campaign contributions are banned?

M. Yass said...

@ImpStrump: My former home state of Washington tried to change that by instituting a so-called "nonpartisan blanket primary" a/k/a the "Louisiana Primary." Under the system, there is no registration by party and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. This also means that candidates are listed only as "preferring" one party or another. The Republican party fought the state all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep it on the books, but backers of the system ultimately won.

In Washington's last gubernatorial election, the Republican candidate, a slimy real estate scammer named Dino Rossi, listed himself as "Prefers G.O.P. party." Shows you how far the Republican brand has fallen, eh? Fortunately I think we've seen the last of Dino has he's lost to the incumbent governor three times in a row.

allan said...

the Evil Party and the Stupid Party

Neither party in the States is stupid.

They may make decisions and spout opinions that we regard as stupid, but they don't think like us and they have very different priorities.

For what they want to do -- which includes making people think they are often incompetent (easier for the public to rationalize that than thinking of them as pure evil) -- they are quite smart in getting what they want.

M@ said...

Isn't it nice to live in a country where the choices aren't limited to the Evil Party and the Stupid Party (even though we have those)

You hit the nail on the head, here. In fact, it made me feel good to know that others here (e.g. Laura) were willing to vote Liberal, even with Ignatieff at the helm.

laura k said...

The Republican party fought the state all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep it on the books, but backers of the system ultimately won.

In NYC, the Republicans tried to scrap the primary system for municipal elections, and to make it so candidates could run for municipal elections without a party affiliation. The Democrats fought it tooth and nail, because (obviously) the system benefitted them. To my knowledge, the system was not changed.

laura k said...

Thanks to Allan for calling out the Evil vs Stupid trope. I know people use it as just something to say, a half-joke, but I think it perpetuates a false and dangerous belief - that if someone the Democrats were just more strategic or more cunning or stronger, they'd be ok.

laura k said...

In fact, it made me feel good to know that others here (e.g. Laura) were willing to vote Liberal, even with Ignatieff at the helm.

Thanks M@, I felt better knowing others felt that way too. If you click through the story at The Mark, you'll see a bit of the disagreement I expected (and received) about this choice. I understand the POV... I just can't do it this time around.

M@ said...

Yeah, I did see the comments at the Mark (and I actually know Dr Dawg pretty well). But I'm with you on this.

There's always a false equivalence in politics. To a [hypothetical] person on the left, the Liberals are bad, and the CPC is bad; because they are both bad, they are equally bad.

Fine in theory, but of course that's not how we think or how we vote. Everything is a tradeoff. I'm absolutely fine with trading off my dislike for Ignatieff, my personal respect for the NDP candidate, and (especially) my rage with the Liberals for some of their actions as an opposition for (a) a platform I have no objections to, and (b) a party I will dislike far less in power than I dislike the CPC.

laura k said...

I have a ton of respect for John Baglow / Dr. Dawg. He writes one of the best and most important Canadian political blogs.

It will take a full-scale revolution for there to be a party that I vote for without compromise. Until then, as you say, a tradeoff.

M. Yass said...

Keep in mind that neither the Tories nor the Grits have enough support to force a decision and gain a majority government. Stockwell Day and the other ex-CRAPpers who resigned before the election did so because they saw the handwriting on the wall: If there's another minority government, Harper is history and with him their ticket to anywhere besides the back benches. A majority is looking even less likely as Team Harper look like it's coming apart at the seams. Of course, if Team Harper flies apart at the seams, it is likely that the uneasy coalition between the CRAPpers and the old-line PCers will as well.

This, of course, puts Iggy in an uncomfortable position: Either become PM as part of a coalition government with the Bloc and NDP (which he vowed never to do), or resign. In other words, 24 Sussex Drive or the unemployment line . . . think . . . think . . .

As for me, if the unthinkable happens and Harper does get a majority, I will be forced to seriously re-evaluate my Grand Canada Plan. With a majority, immigrant admission to permanent residency will likely all but dry up. And Harper will make good on his promise he made as head of the National Citizens Coalition to repeal the Canada Health Act. In other words, he's right - I won't recognise Canada by the time he and his crew are done.

Andrea said...

this is making me giggle

Chilliwack Conservative nomination called a 'coronation'
http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/news/Chilliwack+Conservative+nomination+called+coronation/4503821/story.html

based on the overall uproar this has caused in our sleepy town the new liberal nominee (who is actually someone I would vote for) might have a chance.
I am actually really looking forward to election day now. I for see some changes - maybe not big enough - but a start in my area.