We Americans are very fond of saying we love democracy, we love democracy. I’m sure that’s true in the abstract, but just how true is it in reality – especially if you know you’ll be on the losing side of a pivitol election? In 2004 I offered this poll on the SDMB. I figure now is a good time to run it again, so I reposted it below.
As I write this, things are looking pretty good for Obama which gives his supporters an easy excuse to say, Sure I’d let the election go forward as usual. That defeats the whole essence of this poll, so, *for the sake of this thread I would ask everyone – Obama and MCain fans alike – to imagine that the candidates are neck-and-neck in the polls, or that your candidate is trailing. *
Thanks all, in advance!
I wish a big-time polling service would conduct the following survey, but until that day I’ll try it out on the SDMB.
There is a lot of rabid partisanship in the American electorate these days which has got me thinking about our so-called love of democracy. When my candidate loses I step back and take genuine solice in the fact that, hey, the majority won – which (presuming no fraud or mistakes) is the way it’s supposed to work. It’s actually a good thing my guy/gal lost because the majority of voters do not endorse him. But how many people really feel this way? Let’s take a poll…
Let’s say the day before this election an all-powerful being appears before you with a magic ballot box and says:
“If you vote with this ballot box right now there will be no election tomorrow and all your candidates will simply assume office as if they had won the normal way. Because I have the power of mind-control I will make everyone think that nothing is unusual. There will be no protests or rioting; everyone will simply accept the results. Furthermore no one will know how the new officeholders were chosen, so your life will be unaffected in every way – no one will blame you or sue you or accuse you of subverting the will of the people – but nor will they thank you. Mind you, however, the people’s true opinions about the various candidates will not be changed by your actions; it’s just that the people will never be given an opportunity to express those opinions by voting. Of course you have the option to tell me to go away right now and let tomorrow’s election proceed as usual with all its normal uncertainties, imperfections and perhaps even illegalities. I promise that I will not offer this deal to anyone else. By the way, the two candidates are virually neck-and-neck according to the latest polls.”
So, do you cast your votes in the magic ballot box or let the election proceed? Be honest, people! Brief explanations to support your actions are welcome. And can we try to keep this out of Great Debates? I’m not really interested in the biiiig social implications here; I want to know how people would deal with this choice on a very personal level.
Me, I’d let the election proceed.