Get out and Vote on May 2nd II

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Maysie Maysie's picture

Sorry, this reminds me of a joke.

What's the difference between ignorance and apathy?

I don't know and I don't care.

Kiss

Sorry, back to the thread topic.

theatlanticaparty theatlanticaparty's picture

Rikardo wrote:
By not going to the polling station at all, I do send a message. We were around 40 percent, the largest percentage in the last election. Even a Green Party vote is an endorsement of our antiquated FPTP system which gives no chance to the Green Party. Another point. Why didn't Jack Layton and the other leaders, refuse to debate without at least one question, say five minutes, for Elizabeth May?

 

I think Rikardo raises an interesting point. Not voting as a vote of non-confidence in the system. More and more people are taking this route. When you do vote you are in a sense signalling content with the status-quo (assuming you do not have a protest party to support). Eventually I guess the strategy would be to get turnouts lower and lower until something changes. The only people left would be the supporters of political parties that benefit from the flawed system who cannot see any point in reform.

6079_Smith_W

@ theatlanticaparty

No, I think he is missing a few things. For one, a Green vote does provide cash to that party, and secondly it is interesting that he expects party leaders go beyond calling for May's inclusion and actually boycott the debate when Rikardo has no intention of doing anything at all. Pretty handy standing on a moral high ground when it means not actually doing anything. Let me know when either of you chain yourselves to the doors of a polling station in protest, or even bother to look people in the eye and hand out flyers

And why should he care about the debate? He's not going to vote, and the vote the whole purpose behind the debate. Seems to me the people who are rightly pissed off about it are those who intend to actually VOTE.  If we want to start bringing in tangential issues I might ask him when he intends to stop paying his taxes to protest this system he opposes.

But thank you for at least being honest this time and not continuing the lie that you think voters should actuallly check out the candidates to see if they can find someone to vote for before spoiling their ballots.

You have no interest in people trying to work with the current system.

theatlanticaparty theatlanticaparty's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ theatlanticaparty

But thank you for at least being honest this time and not continuing the lie that you think voters should actuallly check out the candidates to see if they can find someone to vote for before spoiling their ballots.

No so. We tell people to inquire of their candidates and parties their intentions to political reform. If they do not get a good answer consider voting blank (not spoliling) ballots. The only other alternative is to tell them to stay at home and we do not agree with that.

6079_Smith_W wrote:

You have no interest in people trying to work with the current system.

Not true. We are just suggesting that after a century or more that perhaps it might be time to try something different.
It is the system that has no interst in working with the people.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Really? I think you are just dancing around and shifting your position to try and not get pinned down on any subdstantial point That is if you are in fact clear on why you hold the position you do - and I am suspicious because you pay lip service to trying to work with the system but always come back to your only real position - that you want people to not vote.

 

If you think people should try and find a party they support then clearly you support electoral politics in principle. 

If you support it but you think there should be reform then why don't you vote for any number of parties which are calling for electoral reform? And if you can't find a party but you support the principle then why don't you start your own party once you figure out what you actually stand for?

 

6079_Smith_W

Tobold Rollo wrote:

 The most cynical thing we as citizens can do is resign ourselves to voting for the lesser evil because we see top-down policy decisions as our only realistic and effective recourse to democracy.

I don't vote for the lesser evil, and I don't have to..... There are quite enough positive things within the platform of the party I intend to vote for that it outweighs those things I disagree with. If you personally can't find a party to vote for, I have no problem with you abstaining or spoiling. That is not the question as I see it.

Tobold Rollo

A few points need to be made here:

(1) Parties aren't the problem. The strictures of governance to which all parties in Parliment must abide are the problem, for the most part because they cannot be reformed by parties themselves in the absence of social pressures on markets.

The democratic gains we now enjoy were made in the early twentieth century when perceived threats to markets (eg, depressions, labour activists, communists, etc), forced business to make consessions. Sometimes more progressive parties were voted in as well, but not always. The parties weren't responsible for the change. The gains culminated in the 1960s (eg, healthcare) but by the time things calmed down in the 1970s these gains were already being clawed back. Again, it hasn't mattered which party has been in power. Sometimes things have been worse under the more "progressive" parties. Parties aren't the problem.

Today there is no real source of social pressure on markets, so voting for any party is a vote for the further retraction of democratic gains. A fixation on ousting Harper and the Conservatives is the surest way to entrench the continuation of conservative governance.

(2) Abstention does not communicate a motive to government, so there is no way to tell if people abstain out of habit or principle. Problem is, the same is true of voting. There is nothing about marking a ballot that communicates that a voter has risen above habit - the habit of voting - or disinformation.

Voting has two main functions: determining which party gets seats in Parliament, and indicating the level of legitimacy upon which Parliment stands.

The political classes are very sensitive to voter turnout for this reason. But if, as they often protest, abstention is meaningless because governments (progressive or conservative) respond to low voter turnout with business as usual then it shows that Parliament was never interested in nor deserving of our votes in the first place. 

(3) Voting is cynical and apathetic. The most cynical thing we as citizens can do is resign ourselves to voting for the lesser evil because we see top-down policy decisions as our only realistic and effective recourse to democracy. Likewise, what could be more apathetic than hoping impotently that despite unchanging conditions this next round of electoral endorsements is somehow going to present a different outcome. We honour those who struggle for democracy by rejecting the cynicism and apathy of voting.

In the context of the ongoing erosion of democracy, and in the absence of social pressures on markets, revoking one's edorsement of legitimacy - abstention - is a responsible choice.

Tobold Rollo

Tobold Rollo

I don't vote for the lesser evil, and I don't have to..... There are quite enough positive things within the platform of the party I intend to vote for that it outweighs those things I disagree with. If you personally can't find a party to vote for, I have no problem with you abstaining or spoiling. That is not the question as I see it.

Platforms in and of themselves are meaningless. The last 40 years has demonstrated that policy outcomes do not follow from platforms.