Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tactical Voting

People are getting worked up over in England, in the run-up to Blair’s re-election, about whether to vote for Labour or Lib-Dems. It’s largely an exercise in trying to feel important and discuss these issues, since Labour’s victory is overwhelmingly expected. I think most commentators dream of a Labour led government, but chastised about the costs of the Iraq war.

[I note with wry amusement that Lib-Dems are becoming more and more automatically the preferred party of the Left, which says interesting things about the long term future of British politics. Labour as a continually dominant centrist-communitarian party? Lib-Dems as the dominant Left party squeezing Labour out? Who knows.]

Crooked Timber discusses the uselessness of tactical voting. The old saw about the economic futility of voting (the chance you’ll change the outcome times the value of a change in outcome, being very small). And if you believe that, then you probably litter too. It is certainly true that in aggregate these votes matter, and it’s a matter of social-contract that we “waste our time” doing it, so everyone else will. CT doesn’t make an argument for why voting “your preference” will actually change things, or is worth the effort more than staying home.


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