Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Strategic Voting Strategem

I've always said that voting should be about finding representation for yourself. In New Zealand, we have MMP which allows for this - to a bigger degree than First Past the Post at least.

There's a problem though. While a 2 party system sucks, having a system whereby a small party can hold larger ones to ransom sucks even more.

The bit that the video doesn't tell you is that the party with the most seats doesn't necessary get to rule. Which is a good thing and a bad thing.

So you have 3 parties - the Blues, the Reds and the Greens. The Blues get 49% of the votes, the Reds get 48% and the Greens get 3%. If the Blues are center-right, the Reds center-left and the Greens more left than the Reds, then the Reds and the Greens are more likely to enter into a coalition giving them the majouriy in parliament. That's the good. The majority of people have voted for left policies. There's none of this splitting the vote bollocks.

Say the Greens want to be scummy about it though. Their agreement to join a coalition is vital to either the Blues or the Reds ruling. So in order to get the Greens' support, the Blues and Reds are suddenly in a bidding war with each other. Things like "We'll give you a ministerial seat. You can be minister of foreign affairs" or "We'll support your stance on energy". Essentially the Greens, with their 3%, get to decide who's ruling. 3% of the vote dictates where things are going.

Let's look at another scenario. What happens if you've got an election where you can already see where things are heading? There's another candidate - the Yellows - in the race. From a Greens and Reds supporter perspective the Yellows are pure unadulterated crazy - profits above people y'all! You know that the Blues are going to have the majourity.

The more seats the Yellows get, the more influence they have in what happens in the running of the country. More importantly, the bigger their ratio in comparison to the Blues, the more unadulterated crazy policies come into play.

So we get into strategic voting territory. While you still need a core of Reds supporters, it's in both the Reds' and Greens' interests for the Greens supporters to split their votes between the Blues and Reds.

Why? If it's the ratio between the Yellows and Blues that matters in terms of crazy levels, then by increasing the ratio of Blues to Yellows means that the Yellows have less influence.

Crazy right? Crazy enough to work?!?

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