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Strategic Voting

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 387 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... A CREATIVE BREAKTHROUGH FOR STRATEGIC VOTING?
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 28, 2000
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      NHNE News List
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      Saturday, October 28, 2000

      Tom Atlee Writes:

      Ed Pliml <ed420@...>... alerted me to a creative, collaborative,
      even co-intelligent voting strategy being promoted in several websites,
      based on the following logic:

      i) The Electoral College creates a winner-take-all situation in each state.
      Therefore, Gore supporters who live in a state where Bush is sure to win,
      have an essentially meaningless vote. Whether they vote for Gore or not, it
      will have no impact whatsoever on Gore's overall victory or defeat.

      ii) Nader supporters and Greens, on the other hand, face a different
      problem. Since they are unlikely to get a majority in any state, they are
      just trying to drum up enough popular votes for Nader (at least 5%) to (a)
      qualify for federal funds in the 2004 presidential election and (b)
      creatively shake up the political status quo and bring more public attention
      to alternative viewpoints. But the Gore/Bush election is so close that many
      Nader supporters fear that if they "vote their conscience", they'll end up
      with Bush for president -- something they don't want. And, of course, Gore
      supporters are using this argument to get Nader supporters to vote for Gore.
      This argument is getting quite raucous as election day approaches.

      The creative solution Ed pointed out to me creates a collaboration between
      these two populations, as follows:

      iii) A Gore supporter in a state where Bush is sure to win (where a vote
      for Gore is almost worthless), pledges to vote for Nader (thus supporting
      Nader's 5% popular vote target) -- IF a Nader supporter in a swing state
      (which could go to either Bush or Gore) pledges to vote for Gore (thus
      supporting Gore's effort to earn that state's full votes in the Electoral
      College). In this way these erstwhile opponents can team up to generate a
      result that satisfies both their needs -- a prime goal of co-intelligence.

      While I am not advocating for or against any candidate(s), I do want to
      encourage the most thoughtful and full-spectrum voting options AND the use
      of co-intelligence wherever possible. This is certainly a creative example
      of both! (I should note that the same principles COULD be used by Buchanan
      and Bush supporters, but I am not aware of anything they're doing on that.)

      The original logic for this was articulated in an article by Jamin Raskin, a
      professor of constitutional law at American University. It can be found at:


      Two sites facilitate such collaboration:

      In <http://www.nadertrader.org/> Gore or Nader voters are encouraged to find
      someone they know in another state with whom they can switch votes. It
      might even be someone with whom they've been arguing about this for weeks!

      In <http://www.voteswap2000.com/default.asp> matches up Gore and Nader
      voters who don't know each other, to swap their votes.


      In the American political system, voting for a presidential candidate has
      seldom proven an effective strategy to generate significant positive
      transformation in American society. (There are exceptions to this,
      depending on what one considers "significant positive change", but from my
      view it is clearly the rule.) This is one reason so many people have
      stopped voting.

      (To ameliorate this, Ralph Nader once advocated placing a binding "None of
      the Above" option on every ballot of candidates to force the system to
      provide voters with better candidates. If the majority voted for "None of
      the Above", a new slate of candidates would have to be assembled. You might
      want to take a look at his 1992 "Concord Principles"
      <http://www.envirolink.org/greens/rn/concord.html> which included this idea.
      It is intriguing that this "none of the above" proposal is not mentioned in
      the Concord Principles summary on his current official campaign website --
      see <http://www.votenader.com/issues/Concord.html> ...)

      But there's more involved than the fact that Presidential campaigns are a
      weak force for positive change. The more top-down a governance structure
      (or economic system) is, the more potential there is for real damage to be
      done by those at the top. And our governance (and economic) system is more
      top-down than most people realize. So voting can serve to "slow down the
      bad guys" (whoever they may be from your viewpoint) long enough to do the
      creative work of establishing positive alternatives -- and it can be used to
      prevent back-sliding. (Some people even advocate voting FOR "the bad guys"
      in order to "get people off their duffs" to create needed changes, believing
      that people won't really take sustained action until they feel threatened or
      angry. Although I don't fully share this view of human nature, I know it is
      a real factor.)

      For all these reasons, I would suggest that voting is effective to the
      extent it is part of a larger effort to create a positive culture on all
      fronts. We need to rise above the assumption that voting wraps up our
      citizenship job for the next 1-4 years. We need to grow into a growing
      awareness of our co-creative role in generating the life we all share. Power
      belongs to those who use it, as Gandhi proved. If power-with (rather than
      power-over) is our central principle, then we should build and use as much
      of that power as we can, to co-create that shared future.

      Perhaps the vote swapping effort above is a small contribution to that.
      Perhaps not. You will know what is right for you. And time will tell the
      significance of what we ALL are doing together, every day....

      Tom Atlee


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