Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How not to win

Once upon a time, there were three congressional candidates; a republican, a democrat, and an independent. It was an election year and the three candidates all wanted to win. One day they went out into the wood, campaigning door to door.

Along came a voter named Vince. Vince was a good man. Vince took a look at the candidates' platforms. Vince thought the republican position on certain issues was too hard. He found the democratic position to be too soft. The independent's position was just right.

Suddenly there was a knock on Vince's door. It was the democrat. "How have you decided to vote?" asked the friendly democrat.

"I was thinking of the independent" replied Vince.

"Oh, you don't want to do that" warned the democrat. "If you vote for him it will split the democratic vote and the republican will win. You don't like the republican, do you?" Wince admitted that he did not, and the democrat left, whistling a happy tune.

A short time later there was another knock at the door. It was the republican. "Have you decided who to vote for?" inquired the republican.

"I was thinking of the independent" replied Vince.

"Oh, you don't want to do that" offered the republican. "If you vote for him it will split the republican vote and the democrat will win. You don't like the democrat, do you?" Wince admitted that he did not, and the republican left, humming a happy tune.
A while later there was another knock at the door. It was the independent . "Have you decided who to vote for?" inquired the independent.

"Well" replied Vince, "I'd like to vote for you but I can't, because if I do a republican or a democrat will win instead."

A while ago I was listening to the Life Report podcast, and the topic of discussion was whether or not you would vote for a pro-life candidate if they were a third party candidate and both the republican and democratic candidates were pro-abortion. The general consensus was that if they voted for the pro-life candidate, that would weaken support for the "less pro-abortion" candidate and the "more pro-abortion" candidate would win. Therefore they would vote for a republican or democrat, even though the person were pro-abortion, and even though they had a perfectly good pro-life candidate to vote for.

After I untwisted my brain from trying to wrap it around that logic I penned them a long letter, and decided not to send it. Perhaps I should have, but it was apparent by the long and detailed discussion of the topic on the podcast that they thought they had thought of everything, and were not open to "new" ideas on the subject. And I can see how someone, like Vince, can be convinced that the logic makes sense.

My refutation is simply this. If you want "X" to happen, why would think the best way to get there is taking action that prevents "X" from happening? If you want to promote pro-life laws, why would you vote for a pro-abortion candidate? Yes, the candidate you want to win might not win, but they surely won't win if nobody votes for them. In addition, the fact that the candidate gets a percentage of the vote could cause whoever does win to evaluate their position on the issue.

The same faulty logic is used over and over again, to justify doing what we want to do instead of what we claim we want. "Everybody downloads music - the music companies even account for that in their pricing." The implication is that if I don't download illegal copies of music, I am somehow paying too much. Of course, if you don't want the music companies to build in a charge to cover their losses, the best way is not to steal the music, so they have no losses to cover. I can't make everyone stop illegal downloads, but I can control my own actions, and if I don't personally, what hope is there that the practice will stop?

If I want to live in a world without hate, without violence, without crime, how can my own hatred, violence, and crimes further my goals?


You are too RIGHT on this one!! As in correct, not conservative. I've had a similar argument for a long time. As long as the GOP and DNC can count on people to vote for one or the other we're going to keep getting the same sort of +++++s that are largely indistinguishable from each other.

If there was a consistent 10% to 25% of the vote that was voting "anyone else" then it would at least be clear that there were votes out there to be had, and that if one party didn't go after them, the other might. Until the parties reach a point of knowing that there are enough dissatisfied voters out there to cost them elections they won't pay any real attention to anyone outside of the party ideological straight jacket.

Post a Comment