Posts Tagged ‘voting

You get your own vote but not your own reality

with one comment

If you run a blog, it might be a good idea to ban discussion of certain topics, especially ones that quickly bore most readers and drive the rest to pointless acrimony.  You might prohibit debate over voting strategy if you want to avoid constant shouting matches about Ralph Nader.

Melissa McEwan of Shakesville, on the other hand, prohibits these shouting matches with more muddled reasoning:

Voting for a candidate in one of the two major parties is a legitimate choice. Voting against a candidate in one of the two major parties is a legitimate choice. Strategically voting for a third party candidate in a decidedly blue or red state is a legitimate choice. Voting for a third party candidate in a swing state is a legitimate choice. Not voting is a legitimate choice.

Some of these choices are ones I can imagine making; some of them are not. That does not mean they are not legitimate choices for individual voters to make with their votes. Period.

This doesn’t mean anything!  Of course a choice is “legitimate” in the sense that it is legal and physically possible to make.  But if you have a goal in mind (say, moving the country to the left), then some choices are wrong.  Voting Republican, for example, will almost certainly be ineffective at reaching that goal.  You might think voting straight-ticket Democrat will get you there, or you might have a longer-term strategy involving third parties, but these are competing hypotheses about reality, so at least one of them is wrong.  If you want a certain policy enacted, there may be an objectively optimal way to vote, even if it’s sometimes difficult to discover it in practice.

This difficulty is one of the reasons for discussing voting strategy.

Admittedly, this argument only works if you care more about increasing your chances of getting a good government than avoiding a feeling of disgust as you leave the voting booth.)


Written by pinkocrat

November 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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