Voting strategically is about fear
With the federal election campaign well underway, certain citizens appear determined to vote “strategically”. This requires supporting one party, usually established and with a reasonable chance of success, to prevent a similarly endowed opponent in an “enemy camp” from gaining victory. Frequently the candidate chosen to thwart the rival is not the strategic voter’s first choice. More often than not, their first choice would be a candidate from a smaller, less “old style” party, or perhaps an Independent. That this preoccupation with ” keeping someone out”, rather than “getting someone in,” is ultimately self-defeating seldom occurs to the strategic voters. By not supporting the party of their original instinct, they deny themselves the personal satisfaction of having followed their true preference, and may well have harmed the prospects of their first choice in either actually being elected, or at least building a strong base for future elections.
Another consequence is the continued dominance of two opposing “gangs” vying for supremacy at the top of the political order. With dreary predictability, the succession of the status quo is assured through the dismissal of newer and different political directions. This is not voting “from the heart” (thank you, Paul Ruszel!), but allowing fear to dictate our political decision making. To those who complain about the same tired old scenarios being played out, why not try something different? Change can be rewarding!
Of course, fear is a powerful motivator, and in the past, I, too, thought along these lines. I suppressed my natural inclination to vote Green, even though the Green Party’s authentic and unswerving commitment to caring for our planet — likely the only earthly home we humans will ever have! — was unfettered by allies in the corporate realm or allegiance to labour unions. Eventually the realization began to dawn that, unless we who shared the same values actually began to act on these principles, then the ideals we cherished would never manifest in concrete terms. Possibly an element of synchronicity was in effect, for lo and behold! the Greens began to be elected, both federally and provincially! People voted with their hearts and met with success!
Whether your heart’s desire is an Independent (should one have emerged at the last gasp), a Green, or a member of the Fraternity of Pink Polka Dot Hippopotamuses, vote accordingly. Your choice can only succeed if you register your support!
Clearly the way forward is based not on fear, but hope.