September 17, 2006

Messing The Sendage

Over at the Assistant Village, the Idiot has a great post on the all too popular notion of furthering one's political philosophy by the act of declining to vote for the candidate whose position somewhat more nearly resembles your own. He points out that except in the primaries, any single vote conveys very little information.

The logic is actually quite simple. Altho primaries offer more possibilities, general elections are binary. You can vote for - A and not B - or you can vote for - B and not A -. Abstaining or voting for a noncontender is a vote for - not A and not B - but it conveys very little information.

The gubernatorial election in Wisconsin four years ago is an excellent example of this. A popular Republican governer had moved into the Federal government, leaving his lieutenant, viewed by many as a RINO, as incumbent. In the Democratic primary, the winner had positioned himself as the moderate. Into this non-fray the Libertarian Pary introduced a candidate with name recognition, the younger brother of the former governor. The only issue on which he had credibility was racial discrimination with regards to gambling, but the incumbant was seen as generally weak on conservative issues, specifically gun rights for one, many people who otherwise wouldn't have chose to vote Libertarian and he pulled ten percent of the vote. End result? The Democrat won, and immediately showed his true colors. On the gambling issue? New pacts with the tribal gambling syndicates which amounted to a total giveaway. On the gun rights issue? Wisconsin is now one of only two states with not even a limited licensed recognition of the right to bear arms. Did the Republican Party recieve any sort of a message? Based on who the party organization has supported in primaries since I don't think so.

Posted by triticale at September 17, 2006 06:25 PM | TrackBack
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