Friday, August 04, 2006

Voting strategies?

Thinking back over the Trustee vs Delegate models of representation, I think maybe describing current representative democracy as %100 Trustee-based is an oversimplification.

It's true that many voters decide how to vote based only on whether or not a candidate claims to adhere to a certain moral authority (Evangelical Christianity, for example). But it's also true that some voters find such a voting strategy disturbingly naive, and do consider a candidate's position on specific policy when voting. So just as there's conflict between specific questions of policy and between whose judgement best to trust, there's also conflict between whether voting for a candidate's policy or voting for a candidate's judgement is the better option.

Uncertainty about the future I think gives voting on judgement an extra edge over voting on policy in the current world situation: the future seems especially threatening at the moment, and since you can't formulate policy for something that hasn't happened yet, voting on judgement is the best option.

Countering this means either convincing an electorate that your judgement is the one to trust, or convincing an electorate to be less concerned about what the future holds, so that issues in the present are given more emphasis, where it is possible for voters to vote on policy rather than on judgement. The preferred option of course depends on which one gives you the stronger position.

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