Article Title:Snakes and ladders - LGBT tactical voting
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:13th September 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:416
Text:As the latest Colmar Brunton poll shows a dead-heat amongst both major parties, what should we do in terms of tactical voting? I am assuming a politically pluralist LGBT community here. Still, there are some things that we need to consider. Granted, Don Brash and Rodney Hide are good centre-right social liberals, but neither of their deputies are, and the legacy of Bill English's inept leadership period has left a National Party that is disproportionately social conservative right now. National's organisation and parliamentary leadership needs to do something to insure that it selects good, moderate political candidates before the next general election, to redress this balance. It needs to publicise that such candidates are mainstream social liberals. This may be a job for the Institute for Liberal Values. At the earliest possible opportunity, Gerry Brownlee should be replaced by Katherine Rich. Judith Collins should be dumped as party health spokesperson if she continues to carry on like Graeme Lee in bad drag. National's current social conservative fruitcake element are in danger of alienating mainstream centre-right liberal voters from the party, as has happened time and time again in New Zealand's electoral history. As for ACT, it could be said that much the same needs to happen. Heather Roy is far more capable than Muriel Newman, and if Rodney Hide should reshuffle his Cabinet, she should be promoted to Number Three at least, particularly if Stephen Franks carries out his promise to resign at the end of this parliamentary term. For ACT, and the centre-right, the implications are worrying. Whatever one might think of ACT's economic policies, it is marginally more palatable than New Zealand First. In the centre-right's worst-case scenario, National would be left with New Zealand First, and infighting would mean that it is unable to secure a parliamentary majority for its side of the political balance sheet. For centre-left LGBT voters, things are similarly tricky. In our case, the bete noire is Peter Dunne's opportunist United Future party. Dunne should spell out now whether or not he intends to hold the government to ransom over same-sex adoption or trans- inclusive anti-discrimination laws. If he really intends to defect if there's a dominant but close Labour/Green coalition at the end of the next election, then that will put impossible strains on MMP, and it is uncertain whether a three-way National/NZF/UFNZ would be stable in any case, as a minority government. Dunne must not be placed in this position through our community's negligence and lack of tactical nous. For centre-left LGBT voters, the best outcome would be a Labour/Green confidence and supply agreement or coalition. The Greens are a valuable voting bloc, and they deserve to electorally survive. If that means that we, and other centre-left constituencies like the trade union movement, need to vote tactically to insure that the Greens make it over the five percent threshold, then so be it. And while one appreciates its consistent and strong electoral support for our communities, the Greens and their rainbow contingent could be somewhat more proactive, instead of leaving that role to Labour LGBT activists. What is the other side thinking? I had a look at a fascinating article about fundamentalist voting intentions at the next US federal election. According to US fundamentalist intellectual Francis Beckwith, conservative Christians should vote tactically, even if it means that's for a liberal candidate of a conservative political party. The Christian Right wants the Republicans to retain power and implement their destructive social agenda, so the Republicans need the numbers to do so, which means letting a few token pro-choice/pro-gay Republicans through the net, rather than social conservative Democrats who might be ideologically pure individuals, but conversely belong to a political party that is pro-choice and pro-gay as a whole. If that article gets regurgitated here, expect the Maxim Institute et al to advise bloc party list votes. In their case, it'll be to insure that United Future is in an electorally strategic position to potentially sabotage LGBT adoption rights legislation, trans- inclusive anti-discrimination laws or other community objectives during the next parliamentary term. Whatever our political persuasion, we need to insure that the Christian Right, United Future and New Zealand First aren't in a position to sabotage future political gains. Recommended Reading: Frank Beckwith: "Wise as Serpents: Christians, Politics and Strategic Voting" Christian Research Journal: 27:3: Autumn 2004: 52-53 Craig Young - 13th September 2004    
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