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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    13 Jul '14 05:05
    You are considering voting in an election for some office, and you dislike all the candidates for the office. Assume you don't know which candidate is most likely to win the election, according to polls or public opinion. You weigh two possible courses of action:

    (1) You decide to vote for the candidate you least dislike (even though that candidate does not truly share your ideas and beliefs and values) because you see some meaningful distinction between the possible candidates.

    (2) You decide to abstain from voting, on principle, because you see no meaningful distinction between the possible candidates.

    My question to you is: what is your personal threshold for deciding to choose (2) over (1)?

    For example, let's say you're a single-issue voter, with respect to the issue of abortion, and you believe that abortion should be legal until the point of fetus viability, without exception. Let's say the only two candidates running are Alice and Betty. Alice opposes all abortions, without exception. Betty opposes all abortions except those in which the aborted fetus was conceived in the course of rape or incest.

    As a voter, would you vote for Betty, because her beliefs are slightly more aligned with yours? Or would you abstain, because both candidates hold such different beliefs than you do, that you see no meaningful difference between them?
  2. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    13 Jul '14 17:01
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    You are considering voting in an election for some office, and you dislike all the candidates for the office. Assume you don't know which candidate is most likely to win the election, according to polls or public opinion. You weigh two possible courses of action:

    (1) You decide to vote for the candidate you least dislike (even though that candidate doe ...[text shortened]... tes hold such different beliefs than you do, that you see no meaningful difference between them?
    One of the charges against Socrates in his infamous trial was failure to take part in the decisions of the Forum. Greek democracy placed a duty on citizens to contribute actively and recognized that when citizens refuse to participate then democracy falters.

    Elections frequently present a forced choice between different parties of whom none are really what we want. However, parties and candidates cannot be expected to appeal to people that will not vote - what would be the point?
  3. 13 Jul '14 18:15
    Why should you vote for someone who does not represent your beliefs and would represent you?

    If you choose the lesser of two evils, you've chosen evil. Why should people be forced to vote for evil? So we can put Stalin in power instead of Hitler?
  4. 13 Jul '14 18:44
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    You are considering voting in an election for some office, and you dislike all the candidates for the office. Assume you don't know which candidate is most likely to win the election, according to polls or public opinion. You weigh two possible courses of action:

    (1) You decide to vote for the candidate you least dislike (even though that candidate doe ...[text shortened]... tes hold such different beliefs than you do, that you see no meaningful difference between them?
    The voter may have to consider more than just the spoken words of the candidates, and evaluate the significant differences if there are any between the candidates. In other words, simply listening to the attack ads on TV may not be adequate. Sometimes the most telling ads are those attacks which are unsupported and misrepresent extreme positions. That candidate is automatically eliminated as they can't be trusted.
  5. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    14 Jul '14 03:29
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Why should you vote for someone who does not represent your beliefs and would represent you?

    If you choose the lesser of two evils, you've chosen evil. Why should people be forced to vote for evil? So we can put Stalin in power instead of Hitler?
    Sure, I get the "Stalin vs. Hitler" hypothetical/analogy.

    But really, let's not pretend that elections in the U.S. feature candidates at that level of evil, or even just at that distance from your personal political views.
  6. 14 Jul '14 18:24
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    Sure, I get the "Stalin vs. Hitler" hypothetical/analogy.

    But really, let's not pretend that elections in the U.S. feature candidates at that level of evil, or even just at that distance from your personal political views.
    In the US we can either choose Statist candidate A or Statist candidate B. The only choice we have is a person who is bought and paid for by big business and will work to take public funds and funnel it into private businesses. That's just one issue, there are many others where the options in the US will simply increase the power of the Federal government and take away the rights of the common person.
  7. Standard member wittywonka
    Chocolate Expert
    14 Jul '14 23:25
    Originally posted by Eladar
    In the US we can either choose Statist candidate A or Statist candidate B. The only choice we have is a person who is bought and paid for by big business and will work to take public funds and funnel it into private businesses. That's just one issue, there are many others where the options in the US will simply increase the power of the Federal government and take away the rights of the common person.
    Well, you're ignoring Libertarian, Green, and other third party candidates, but admittedly that's a whole other thread in the making.

    So anyway, pick an issue. Let's compare the two parties. Or even, the two parties' candidates in the past couple of decades.
  8. 15 Jul '14 16:27
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    Well, you're ignoring Libertarian, Green, and other third party candidates, but admittedly that's a whole other thread in the making.

    So anyway, pick an issue. Let's compare the two parties. Or even, the two parties' candidates in the past couple of decades.
    How about agribusiness subsidies?
  9. 15 Jul '14 16:33
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Why should you vote for someone who does not represent your beliefs and would represent you?

    If you choose the lesser of two evils, you've chosen evil. Why should people be forced to vote for evil? So we can put Stalin in power instead of Hitler?
    Why would you expect a candidate to share all of your views? If there were two candidates and only one issue, I would always vote for the person who's view I prefer.
  10. 15 Jul '14 17:17
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    Well, you're ignoring Libertarian, Green, and other third party candidates, but admittedly that's a whole other thread in the making.

    So anyway, pick an issue. Let's compare the two parties. Or even, the two parties' candidates in the past couple of decades.
    Tell me how much of an effect that those groups have at the national level.

    If none, then why bring them up?
  11. 15 Jul '14 17:17
    Originally posted by quackquack
    Why would you expect a candidate to share all of your views? If there were two candidates and only one issue, I would always vote for the person who's view I prefer.
    Why would I expect that they agree with my beliefs if they are representing me? I don't know, just seems logical to me.
  12. 15 Jul '14 20:04
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Why would I expect that they agree with my beliefs if they are representing me? I don't know, just seems logical to me.
    There are so many issues that it seems impossible that any candidate would agree with anyone on all issues. To expect a candidate to agree with you on all issues seems 100% unrealistic.
  13. 15 Jul '14 20:33
    Originally posted by quackquack
    There are so many issues that it seems impossible that any candidate would agree with anyone on all issues. To expect a candidate to agree with you on all issues seems 100% unrealistic.
    I'm ok with voting for people who agree with my main beliefs. I am not ok for voting for people because they simply agree with me in more areas. That is the system we have today and it means that I have no representation.
  14. 16 Jul '14 00:18
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I'm ok with voting for people who agree with my main beliefs. I am not ok for voting for people because they simply agree with me in more areas. That is the system we have today and it means that I have no representation.
    So it remains the case that although nobody represents your main concerns, you do by voting have a chance to move some of your lesser issues. By taking the day off, you have no influence whatsoever, or you and those like you guarantee the policies you most oppose may win.
  15. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    16 Jul '14 01:04
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    You are considering voting in an election for some office, and you dislike all the candidates for the office. Assume you don't know which candidate is most likely to win the election, according to polls or public opinion. You weigh two possible courses of action:

    (1) You decide to vote for the candidate you least dislike (even though that candidate doe ...[text shortened]... tes hold such different beliefs than you do, that you see no meaningful difference between them?
    Spoiling the ballot paper is the traditional option.

    I don't like your dichotomy. A single issue voter would go for the one they could get most from, since the single issue is all that matters to them.

    British parliamentary representatives are not just legislators, one can write to them about problems caused by policy failures. They have surgeries every month or so, where one can speak to them. If I had a choice between a set of candidates I didn't agree with and had no political basis for separating them then I would choose the one likely to be the best "constituency MP".