Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Who Should I Vote For

This is intended as general advice for anyone seeking to vote but isn't quite sure who to vote for.  It assumes they know at least a little bit about the candidates.

There are four basic techniques on selecting the 'right' person to vote for:

  1. Pick the person you trust the most.  You have been fooled before by someone you thought agreed with you.  But they flip-flopped, or turned out to be a fool.  So you go not by what the candidate says, but on how he says it - you look for someone you trust based on his back ground.  Or maybe you just are not all that up on the candidates but know the political parties.   You trust political party X, so you pick that party's candidate.  
  2. Pick the person you hate the least.   Usually elections come down to two people.  You may not know who honestly agrees with you the most, or who will do the best job, or even who to trust.  But it is fairly easy to pick the guy you hate the most and vote against him.
  3. Pick the person that agrees with you the most. The person that agrees with you the most will of course vote the way you want them to.  Therefore you should vote for them!
  4. Pick the person that you think will do the best job.   I know I am not perfect, I want someone that is better/smarter/more creative/more experienced than me - someone better than me.  I will try to pick the person that can do the job the best, even if he disagrees with me more than the second best candidate.  (Note this is more often done in crisis/war time - when the risk is high, people want someone better than them to fix it.)
The real problem is when these methods disagree.

Take Obama.  There are racists liberals out there (yeah, they do exist).   Such a person doesn't trust Obama and hate's Romney less, but he personally agrees with Obama and thinks he will do a better job than Romney.

All of this is complicated by the Trey Parker rule "It's always between a giant douche and a turd sandwich"   You can't win in politics by being nice - because your opponent will lie about you.  They will say "he's not an American citizen, show me the birth certificate", or "He paid no taxes, show me his tax returns."   Politics is a dirty game and you can't win without getting a little bit dirty.  So it's never between nice people, always a contest between people a sane person wouldn't get into business with.

Will it ever get better?  Well, THIS IS THE BETTER.   We used to decide with guns, now we do it with votes (and lets face it, money).   We don't even fight duels anymore, but we used to .... Burr vs. Hamilton - forget "Han shot first", it's "Burr shot first" ;)

Now, back to the main point:  How should you pick your candidate?

Well, first of all, ignore any method you can't get enough evidence for.  That is, if you don't know who will do the best job, skip that method.   If you don't know if you agree with them (which you really should find out), then ignore that method.

If you don't have ANY information - you don't know who agrees with you, who is the most competent, who is the most trustworthy or who you hate the least, then don't vote.  You should at least have something?

That only leaves the situation of having multiple and contradictory answers.  You agree with candidate W but trust X, while Y has done a fantastic job, but you hate W, X, and Y, so you want to vote for Z.  Or if you have two candidates, guy X you might trust and agree with, but guy Y seems nicer and more competent.

OK, in that situation, then I suggest the following:

A)  In politics, no one is really trustworthy (see Trey Parker rule above).  Going for the guy you trust the least is a crap-shoot at best.   It's the least reliable method.  Give that guy only 1 pt.

B)  In politics the guy you hate the least is mostly a function of his campaign - his public relations rather than his worthiness.  Remember the "Birth Certificate vs. Tax Return" stuff.   Yeah, he let them do that stuff (unless it's a Super Pac), but he didn't object.  While he still a douche or a turd, he's not quite as bad as you think.  Mark it as the second worst method.  Give that guy 2 pts.

C)  If you honestly knew how to solve political problems, you should be heavily involved in it - running for office or advising other people.  That is, if you know the right answers, but can't enact them, at least help a guy that can.  If so, vote for yourself/the guy are advising.  Failing that, admit your personal opinions, while important, are not the absolute best method.  Give that guy 3 pts.

D)  The guy you think is the most capable is the single best way to choose a politician.  It is how England got Churchill, despite so many people disagreeing with his politics.  They knew he was the guy to win World War II, even if they did not want him when the war was over.  (They voted him out in 1945, practically before Hitler's body got cold.)  If you use that method for emergencies, then why not use it all the time. Give that guy 4 pts. 

Add up the points and pick the guy with the most points.

For me, in 2012:

  • I agree with Obama more (I am liberal - mostly). +3 pts to Obama..
  • I don't honestly know if Obama would do a better job than Romney.  Romney might get more cooperation from the GOP - enough to get things done.   This is a bit of a crap shoot..  I award no point to either candidate here.
  • I trust Obama more   He didn't flip flop on Healthcare or abortion the way Romney did.  Obama puts forth actual plans, while Romney gives general, non-specific promises.  Yes, Obama has failed to do some things he promised to do.   But it looked to me like he made honest attempts.    Romney on the other hand seems willing to say and do anything to get into the Oval Office.   Who knows what Romney would do in office?  +1 pt Obama.
  • Of the two, I hate Romney slightly more.   Obama has failed to reduce the police state, but Romney's people keep playing really dirty - from birth certificate stuff to misquoting the president about 'didn't build that'.   +2 points to Obama.

Obama gets six out of ten points, Romney gets nothing.

That's me.  Your results may vary.

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