January 29th, 2006

The voting game

I came across this article from the Telegraph via Clive Davis:

Like many others, a young Fatah activist wished yesterday he could go back in time and replay the Palestinian elections all over again.

“I voted Hamas so that my own Fatah Party would be shocked and change its ways,” he said, giving his name only as Mohamed, in the Palmeira cafe in Gaza City. “I thought Hamas would come second.

“But this is a game that went too far. Nobody thought Hamas would win – even them. I know lots of people who voted Hamas, who regret it now. If I could vote again, I would vote for Fatah.”

I wonder how large a group he represents.

It’s always a bad idea to treat a vote as a game or a protest. Or, rather, it’s not so terrible if only a few individuals do it. But each person has no idea whether he/she represents an isolated case or is part of a vast trend. If a large bloc of voters happens to decide to play the same game at the same time, the results could well be catastrophic.

I’ve always been amazed at people in this country who fail to vote through apathy, or who vote for third-party candidates without a chance of winning because “there’s really no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.”

There may not have seemed to have been all that much difference between Fatah and Hamas, either, except a matter of emphasis: corruption and violence vs. violence and corruption. But voting for one when you would prefer the other is a stupid and dangerous game.

6 Responses to “The voting game”

  1. A Christian Prophet Says:

    The Holy Spirit might say that democracy itself is a dangerous and stupid game. The real question is: can democracy facilitate peace anywhere? As the Holy Spirit’s messages point out on the Christian Prophet blog, democracy is a system of conflict. It always leads to political factions fighting against each other. Democracy does not teach peace. It teaches attack and defense.

  2. sabinal Says:

    I voted Green party in 2004 and am proud that I did to this day. To me, neither candidate had either a straightfoward idea on how to handle domestic or foreign problems. It was a protest/sincere vote, as I agree with many things the Green party believes.
    However, I do not suffer BDS – BDS is just nothing more than a spoiled brat temper tantrum for people who have nothing constructive to deliver to the situation/conversation. I’m tired of angry yet clueless Democrats who are ready to bash Bush but have no idea – or refuse to accept – how to handle the war on terror

  3. BeckyJ Says:

    The last French presidential election saw the same phenomenon. The French always use the 1st round of voting in presidential elections as a protest vote. Last time however, Le Pen came in 2nd ousting Jospin (the Socialist candidate) from the run-off election. French voters expressed shock at the results of the 1st round voting. Chirac won in a landslide in the 2nd round.

    I put it all under the heading of “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

  4. Tom Grey Says:

    While I fully agree with the conclusion that voting for TweedleDee while wanting TweedleDum is stupid, most of this post I disagree with.

    If one is convinced in Palestine that CORRUPTION is the BIGGEST problem, and that Fatah is corrupt, what is the right vote?

    The desired outcome is moderation, less terrorism, less Israeli response/ repression, but especially less corruption.

    The Palestinian cited wanted a “Fatah” that doesn’t exist. Every vote is for both the good AND the bad — but you’re only responsible for the bad if your guy wins!

    I voted Libertarian, often — because I didn’t like Reagan/Bush big gov’t (socially) Reps; nor big gov’t Dems. Had school voucher supporting Libs gotten enough votes to decide an election, it’s likely the loser would have adopted the “most popular” Lib position. This idea worked for the Socialist party.

    (Why it works much less well for Libs is simple: Socialists favor big gov’t, Libs small gov’t — both politicians AND news folk naturally like big gov’t out of self interest.)

    [By the way, Nader helped Bush win/ Dems lose; but Ross Perot even more helped Clinton win/ Reps lose in 92; and most importantly Wallace (the ex-Dem racist) made Nixon win/ Dems lose in 68. Most Wallace Dems voted Nixon in 72; many voted Carter in 76; many Reagan in 80; most are now Reps. It might well be that it's easier to change your politics thru a third party; revelant to mind changing.]

  5. Promethea Says:

    Ralph Nader voters in the 2000 election should remember that they’re the ones who put in President Bush. If they now have BDS, well that’s too bad.

  6. terrye Says:

    If that is true, then the reign of Hamas should be short lived.

    But you are right, refusing to vote or voting not out of conviction but to just send a message is self defeating and ultimately dishonest.

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