The democratic process vs. candidate loyalty. Take my poll! (2008 edition)

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.

I thought about writing a lie here, an impassioned defense of the democratic process and a firm statement of my own belief in same.

But it would have been a lie.

I’d take the deal.

I’d tell the being to take the box away. I don’t want that much power in my hands, and what’s meant to be will be.

Can we only vote for a major party candidate because as a one time deal I’d like to put a third party into power and see what happens considering they would have no backing in Congress.

Outside of screwing with the system, I’d pass I don’t like either of these candidates enough to take responsibility for the ways they would screw up.

I’d tell him to go away. Either the right person gets elected, or the other guy makes an even bigger hash of things, and maybe people learn something. Doubtful, but I’m in the Maybe business.

I’d thank him profusely (no reason to hurt an all-powerful being’s feelings after all), but I’d tell him that even though I might believe in his infallibility I have doubts about my own.

However, this is related to the fact that although I think one of the candidates is kind of scary, I don’t think either is really Scary. If one of them was bad enough, I might have to take the deal.

Of course not. That’s disgusting. My opinion is no more intrinsically valid than anyone else’s. I’d basically be saying “You can’t be trusted to decide for yourselves, so I’ll do it for you.” I’m not the G-Man*.

Bear in mind that, were I actually in this situation, instead of imagining it, I’d probably be tempted a lot more.

*ten Internets to whoever gets the reference.

You can vote for anyone you like who is legally qualified, including yourself.

In that case, all hail King Oakminster. Thanks All-Power-Dude. My first act as President will be to dismantle the Department of Homeland Security. My second act will probably be to establish the uber-classified Department of Hookers and Blow, Executive Procurement Division.

furiously pads resume

I would let the election take its course, except in 2004, when I felt the electoral process had been subverted [in 2000] and the incumbent had essentially committed fraud in order to scare people into reelecting him.

Tough question. Now that the parameters have been expanded to anyone eligible for the office…in that case…whoo, I dunno. I’ll tell you what I would do: If I had the power outlined in the OP to do that to Congress I would, no question. I’d make every single incumbent running this year (along with incumbent Senators running in the next two election cycles) lose to their opponent. Republican, Democrat, Independent, it doesn’t matter, they’re out. And I suppose I’d make former Maryland governor Robert Ehrlich President. He’s the most honest politician I know.

I’d be happy to let any informed vote stand. I don’t think the current vote is entirely well informed. If I could have a magic ballot box that simply made all voters more intelligent, knowledgeable, aware, and informed before they vote I’d go for that.

I find myself trying to imagine what it would feel like if I took the deal, and my candidate ended up doing something extraordinarily stupid and/or harmful to the country while in office. There is a very, VERY wide gap between “Well, I voted for the guy” and “Well, I’m solely responsible for putting him in that position.” That’s guilt I just couldn’t live with, and there’s just no way I’d take that chance.

The election proceeds without supernatural intervention on my watch.

Ooh, yeah, that’d be nice.

How do you define an “informed vote”? People who listen to Rush Limbaugh all day could reasonably be described as “informed”; after all, they’re at least paying attention.

We love democracy, but we hate losing (and losers) more.

Of course I would; the point of an election is to try to ensure that the best candidate in your opinion gets elected. I really don’t care who the majority wants.

I don’t value democracy because I think it somehow selects the best possible leaders. I value it because it prevents the other side from oppressing me and denying my side its voice. If I had absolute power to choose, though, then that wouldn’t matter anymore. However, I’d rather not have to choose between the two tickets offered, which I think your poll assumes, since I don’t much like either of them.

Vox Imperatoris

ETA: Never mind, the poll does not assume a choice between Republican and Democrat. Woohoo! (Now if only I could change the Constitution to make myself eligible…)

I don’t consider getting all one’s information, especially from a source that doesn’t pretend not to be biased (and hyperbolic), to be informed, at least not “well informed”.