Every Vote is a Strategic Vote
“The way to stop Stephen Harper from getting a majority is to take Conservative seats one by one, and defeat the MPs who are there. That’s how you stop Mr. Harper from getting a majority,”
I agree with the Cat, this is a fantastic development.
I am very happy that the NDP has brought forward the idea of strategic voting rather than parading around talking about Jack Layton becoming Prime Minister. I argued last election that strategic voting is the only kind of voting that makes any sense, especially given our flawed first-past-the-post voting system. This is even more true today than it was two and a half years ago.
The Greens won’t like this because while this is a call out by the NDP to Liberal voters in weak Liberal seats in BC and the prairies, it is really dropping the gauntlet on Green voters. I sincerely hope that Elizabeth May wins her seat this election but otherwise I think everyone who sees the necessity of defeating the Conservatives needs to think strategically and vote smart. In safe Liberal or NDP seats that means as much as possible to vote Green to help with their funding and popular support but in close seats it unfortunately means biting your tongue and going with the least worst option.
This would all be more depressing however if it results in a narrow Liberal minority win and nothing changes, dooming the Greens to no seats and continuing the travesty of the NDP getting less seats than the Bloc. The second element that is required and that we must vigilantly harangue candidates about is democratic reform and especially electoral reform. Recently Andrew Coyne committed to bugging them on just this issue, let’s be sure he lives up to that 😉
To be clear, strategic voting is not a fix to our system, it is a ‘hack’ as us programmers would say. It’s a necessary bandaid for a fundamentally broken system. A system that is bleeding worse each election as fewer and fewer voters show up to cast their vote and see it immediately wasted. Jack Layton has taken a brave step forward today in admitting that. Hopefully he will take further steps in the campaign by making a clear commitment to requiring an investigation of electoral reform as a requirement for supporting a Liberal or Conservative minority. Even more importantly, hopefully his brave and reasonable stance will inspire Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals to commit to fixing the democratic deficit that exists in our country which includes such outrages as: unfair elections, dangerous precedents of Senate interference and out of control Prime Ministerial power to name just a few.