I really hate this voting shit but I think it's important. Canada's province of British Columbia is holding a referendum on electoral reform via postal ballot as you've probably noticed people won't shut the fuck up about. The submission deadline is November 30th.
I've been trying for weeks to absorb the details of how the first-past-the-post and proportional representation electoral systems and the latter's sub-systems work. It's so dull it makes me angry.
I don't think politicians are known for playing fairly. I watch House of Cards so I know literally everyone in politics lies all the time constantly when they're not having affairs and hiring killers.
Therefore the cons include the ways each system can be manipulated both legally and illegally, which aren't all obvious or even talked about, like the non-computer version of a zero-day exploit. It's like comparing systems in a dark Upside-Down world like Stranger Things where everything's trying to eat you.
First-past-the-post is quite simple on paper. Most votes wins. Like getting most kills in Black Ops deathmatch.
It seems the biggest problem people have with the system is its tendency over one election cycle after another to boil the competition down to only two candidates rather than a variety of voices. In essence that bottlenecks the structure of governmental power. If there's a flaw at a high level of government it can remain relatively out of reach from the people and exploited. And the one party that wins gets to tell everyone what to do, including the parties that lost.
I can see the danger in that, while I'm not convinced it's impossible to maintain a minimum of over two parties across a string of election cycles under a first-past-the-post system.
So what about proportional representation? It's not as simple on paper but it sure sounds nicer. While the "winner takes all" the power under first-past-the-post, who could consist of less than fifty percent of the population, the proportional representation system is intended to make the resulting balance of power post-election more accurately reflect the interests of the entire population. The system seems to do this mainly by increasing the number of political seats and giving everyone a second vote.
I know I also don't want a boundless smorgasbord of parties led by any ideologically possessed lunatic under the sun to pick from every election cycle either and then have even less of a fucking clue as to who to vote for than I already do under the current system.
Of course I chose a ridiculous example. While I'm sure the number of parties to choose from per cycle would be more reasonable, just how unlikely is it to have that same number under first-past-the-post?
And I don't think it's necessarily bad that the winning party gets all the say either. It's a double-edged sword like a lot of things in life. If it's a good winning party that could be great. On the other hand if you've got bad guys in there you're gonna have a bad time.
I think I'm in favor of the element of additional representation and discussion that proportional representation provides, with the hope that more seats don't merely end up serving to muddle serious political situations and make them more complicated than they are, like a too-many-chefs situation.
I'm not interested in arguments based solely on emotion and especially not fear. Anyone using scare tactics over data and critical thought can fuck right off, I have no patience for that.
Now, that doesn't mean that extremism isn't a problem. It exists absolutely and on both sides, like most things, and has led to the collapse of civilizations throughout history. Extremism on the left tends to be less obvious as it involves the dissolution of both physical and metaphysical borders which is constantly conflated with diversity, empathy and acceptance and is therefore often thought of as inherently virtuous. That's how you get groups like Antifa, an anti-fascist group that beats up people who don't agree with them, yet is allowed to exist as a paradox because they consider themselves to be on the side of good. All you need to do to characterize the extremist right is throw a hitler moustache on whatever it is. It's why the scare tactics often involve pictures of the Ku Klux Klan.
I don't believe this Bill Tieleman guy when he says proportional representation will open the gates to the province's leadership under right-wing extremist parties. If the system ends up doing what it's supposed to, which is better reflecting the will of all people, then I can't see things getting to the point where a KKK grand wizard is dancing around a burning crucifix in parliament telling everyone what to do.
However, I haven't ruled out the possibility of leadership under left-wing extremism for reasons I've mentioned. That said, I don't think that concern warrants the dismissal of the system entirely. I'm trying to soak in the details of each of the three proposed modes of proportional representation. I'd appreciate some input on that from people knowledgeable on the subject.
I'm a strong believer in harmony between political sides. I think there's a path to be found between polarizing modes of thought and I want to vote for the electoral reform that best lays that path before us. And I welcome people to provide input and correct me if I'm wrong about something.