Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2022/ The NDP and Vote Splitting

The NDP and Vote Splitting

The provincial election is long gone and forgotten by now, but a few days ago I realized the NDP are idiots, and I have been fuming since.

Doug Ford got his big majority, but as usual it was a phony one. Voter turnout was low, and a lot more people voted NDP or Liberal than voted PC. In riding after riding the NDP and Liberals split the vote, and the PCs sailed through. I feel it would have been reasonably easy for the NDP to shift some Liberal votes their way, and they squandered the opportunity.

On paper, the NDP supports proportional representation. (They did not actually implement proportional representation in BC, but that is another story.) The Liberals, meanwhile, have sabotaged electoral reform twice, and at best support alternative vote. That leaves them vulnerable to parties that actually support electoral reform.

I feel many people did not feel enthusiastic about either Andrea Horwath or Steven Del Duca. But the NDP had an edge here: they were the official opposition, and they had a chance to form the government if they could consolidate votes. Not every Liberal voter would hold their nose and vote NDP, but I bet enough would if they had sufficient incentive. In this election, there were two incentives: preventing Ford from getting re-elected, and never having to worry about vote-splitting again. If the NDP had made a solid commitment to end vote-splitting and introduce electoral reform if elected, they could have consolidated a lot of votes. If nothing else, they would have given voters incentive to throw their votes to the NDP rather than the Liberals.

The Liberals, of course, would convince the NDP of being disingenous (possibly pointing to failed electoral reform in BC) but they would not be able to speak too loudly about this. They probably would say that Ontario voters "rejected" electoral reform in 2007, but the NDP had a clear rebuttal to this: it is 2022, and voters can clearly see the consequences of vote splitting, and of the tired Liberal talking point that "A vote for the NDP is a vote for Doug Ford". Given the two parties had such similar policy platforms this election, this would have been a clear way to distinguish the two.

I do not know that such a policy would have won the NDP the election. I do feel it would have pushed a bunch of seats towards the NDP, so that the PCs would not have won such an overwhelming majority. In hindsight, this would not have hurt the Liberals much, since they only won eight seats anyways.

(While I am at it, can I say that "Buck a Ride" was an incredibly boneheaded slogan to adopt? First, the Libs were plagiarizing Doug Ford. Secondly they were adopting a Doug Ford policy that was widely ridiculed. The Liberals really don't have a clue. A pox on their house.)

I am sure the NDP brought up electoral reform a little. But they did not acknowledge that voters were stuck having to decide between them and the Liberals, because they boasted of winning all the seats when that clearly was not going to happen. With every election and every crazy result, electoral reform talking points infiltrate the mainstream. But instead of capitalizing, the NDP blew it. A pox on their house, too.