Twisted election “logic”

Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:21

Originally written: 19 January 2006

The Liberal party has an interesting way with twisted logic. An election leaflet for the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding in British Columbia, Canada, tells us that “an NDP or Green vote will elect a Stephen Harper Conservative.” The leaflet contains a chart showing the riding results for the 2004 election.

Liberal vote chart, 2004 election.
Saanich-Gulf Islands

The Liberals are clearly correct that if all the NDP votes or Green votes moved to the Liberal candidate, Sheila Orr, and the Liberals retained all of the previously Liberal votes, she would beat the Conservative candidate. The Liberals can add! However just as clearly as NDP votes moving to her would win her a seat to work for capitalism, if the Liberal votes moved to the Greens, the Green candidate would win a seat to work for capitalism.

If the Liberal concern with winning a seat was secondary, and the Liberal party holds sway over the Liberal votes, she could ask the Liberal electors to vote NDP, and shut out the Conservatives. And if Paul Martin was so concerned about the election of the Conservatives, he would make “vote NDP” or “vote Green” the Liberal strategy. If the Liberal electors are closet Conservatives, this strategy would fail. It would also suggest that the differences between the Liberals and Conservatives are not large. If the Liberal electors thought the Liberal candidates knew what they were talking about, it would succeed.

Is this Liberal leaflet a trick or are the Liberals oblivious to the other obvious conclusions which could be drawn from the vote counts?

It is, of course, obvious that if only half of the NDP votes moved to the Liberal candidate, she would win. But if only half of the Liberal votes and half of the NDP votes went Green, the Green candidate would win. The Liberal logic, presumably, is that fewer voters must vote for someone they do not want elected, to elect a Liberal.

In other words, the Liberals’ voting strategy is for people to vote for someone they do not want elected (the Liberal candidate) to prevent someone else they do not want elected from being elected. This is perfectly logical in a system in which it does not really matter which party wins the election.

This strategy probably makes a lot of sense to someone who wants to get elected. She has to convince fewer people to spoil their ballot by voting for her, than the NDP or Green candidates would. Given the fact that all of them support capitalism, which prevents the solution of the problems all of the parties say they will address, it does not matter which party wins.

All of them support the Leninist “follow the leader” approach in which they impose their policies if elected, even if they only have a minority of the popular vote.

In a capitalist “democracy” an elector can vote against the candidate of their choice, but the concept of voting for what you really want — a solution to the problems — seems somewhat strange.

If any of the pro-capitalism politicians actually had ideas which would solve the problems, the problems would have been solved a hundred years ago. Their ideas are basically unchanged after failing repeatedly during the past century. They, like the vast majority, refuse to admit that capitalism itself could possibly be the problem.

For most people, the logic behind socialism just cannot be right. People have been trained to accept the type of ridiculous “logic” used in the leaflet here discussed. The concept called “logic” today would be better referred to as “accepting the status quo” or “stating the obvious and hoping nobody notices that the conclusions reached are not justified by the supposed logic.”
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