Politics…after the fact

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When it comes to politics, particularly pre-election politics, I do my best to avoid the conversations and controversy. The fact is, during this most recent election, I made my voting decision at the last minute. For me, it was between two parties. I knew the Conservatives would win, but did I want to vote them in? And as time went on I learned that I wasn’t really in agreement with some of their policies and the lack of responses to questions left unanswered on issues that are important to me.

But after the fact I can say, here’s the thing. Most of my friends and social media colleagues are well read. They pay attention to the issues. They take a stand and stick to it. But I don’t believe the majority of those who vote actually vote based on issues. In fact, I think there are many who vote based on their feelings; that inner voice that says “Not him, go with him.”

In a recent article, by media columnist Warren Kinsella, http://ht.ly/4Mkps * he talks about the HOAG theory, an acronym he says stands for “Hell Of A Guy,” and a theory, says Kinsella, that will often lead voters to vote for the candidate who “emotes” the strongest “HOAGism.”

In this election, Kinsella says NDP canadidate, Jack Layton, rose in the polls because he “is the most likeable leader.” He goes on to say that he personally has worked with Liberal party leader Michael Ignatieff, “and can attest to the fact that – in person – he is a thoughtful, easy-going, impressive guy. But that quality doesn’t come across on TV. On the big flat-screen the Liberal leader doesn’t emote HOAGism. It’s not fair. It’s not accurate, but it’s a fact.”

I’m not saying all voters are shallow. And I don’t consider myself to be uninformed. But, at the end of the day, what draws me to a party is both their platform and the charisma of the leader. Is S/He someone I believe will make good on their promises after they’re elected? Do they come across as sincere? If the answer is “I’m not sure,” then it’s likely I won’t throw my vote in their direction.

And then there are those who may not care about the platforms and platitudes but just go with their instincts, right or wrong. For example, I was born in Canada, but I grew up in the U.S. of A. I remember my great aunt said she wouldn’t vote for Richard Nixon because she didn’t like his nose. Turns out my great aunt’s instincts were right. Who would have known?

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*Note: this link may not work by the time you read this, as newspapers often only post the articles online for a limited time period.

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6 responses »

  1. Interesting read, Suzanne. I was raised in a family of devout Liberals. I used to blindly toss my vote to the Liberal party. Over the past 10 years, I’ve decided that I want to vote for the person, not the party. Irene Mathyssen, an NDPer, is the MP is my riding and she has done a wonderful job. Voting for her yesterday was a very easy decision. I can understand the HOAG theory, but I cast my vote for Irene, not Jack Layton.

  2. I cast a ballot for the party, but not for her. When I lobbied on behalf of PWAC on Parliament Hill (for our 25th anniversary) we got a sit down with her. We told her the issues faced by freelance writers. Her response? A dismissive “Yes, well, everyone has issues.” Huh? I thought the NDP was all for the underdog (though the arts industry itself pumps $ billions $ into the economy). So I voted for the party. But I wavered because I was leaning Conservative, until I saw that a question posed to each party about the arts was answered in detail, except by the Conservatives, who didn’t bother to reply: http://ht.ly/4Lo7u

  3. And you got out to vote! I am not always as politically savvy as some people I know, but I try to always make a point of voting. I think there are a lot of people wondering what this majority government is going to bring about now.

  4. For me it’s a combination — but no HOAGism. I generally lean more left than right but have voted in the past for all the major parties, both federally and provincially. (However my federal Conservative vote was for the Progressive Conservative party, not the current Conseratives after the PCs merged with Reform.) I don’t like the Harper government’s lack of support for the arts and the environment and I don’t like the lack of transpareny and accountability imposed by the PMO. So my strategy was to try to help prevent a majority (sadly unsuccessful) and with the late-in-race NDP surge, I could have gone that way. But the local NDP candidate was an unknown — I received no literature, phone calls or door visits. The Liberal candidate was more high profile in the region and I did receive literature from him so I went with the known quantity locally that fit my strategy on the national level.

  5. I voted and my candidate didn’t win. But that didn’t distress me as I didn’t expect him to win.

    I am distressed by the fact that the Conservatives (or should I say ‘the Harper Govt’ as he likes to call it) have a 4-year mandate, knowing that much of what I stand for means nothing to them and that we will be at risk of losing personal freedoms in this country.

    With them it’s all about money and the economy. They do not care about social programs and personal freedoms. But the majority of voters were split by the Liberals & the NDP, so the Conservatives slipped into power by default. It deflates me just to think about it.

  6. I too am dismayed at the Conservative’s lack of transparency and that they don’t appear to be supporting the ‘arts.’ Many people think ‘arts’ means ‘artsy,’ but, in fact, it is an industry that pumps Billions of $$ into the economy. In a questionnaire sent out by the Canadian Conference for the Arts (CCA) http://ccarts.ca/en/advocacy/bulletins/2011/1611.htm , the Conservative government’s lack of response to all questions was glaring. When I saw this I knew I couldn’t vote for them. What next? I too am starting to worry.

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