Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,

Why I Am Unlikely To Vote In A Primary

I was originally going to title this post "Why I Don't Care About Primaries", but that's not quite true. I do care, in the sense that there are some outcomes I would prefer over others. But I'm still unlikely to vote in one.

A lot of people have been posting the results of various pick-a-candidate quizzes. I would like to summarize my results in graphical form:

So, okay. Primaries. The point is to pick which potential presidential candidate you prefer, right? And I could look at this ordering (even though it shuffles around a little bit depending on how each quiz is structured -- and how I'm feeling when I fill it out) and choose one of them.

But. Come November, we're not going to be picking amongst all these candidates. We're going to be choosing between one of the blue ones or one of the red ones. And in that case, it doesn't. freakin'. matter. I want a blue dot. Any of the blue dots. The very worst of the blue dots is nearly twice as good as very the best of the red. And if you throw out Giuliani as an obvious outlier, the average blue candidate (and note that they're clustered pretty tightly) is almost FOUR TIMES better than the average red candidate. I fit a gaussian to each of the parties. The two humps are NINE SIGMA APART. Differences between individual candidates? Totally irrelevant on that scale.

So obviously, what I want is for the most electable Democrat to win the primaries. And I have absolutely no idea who that is.

See, I can kind of wrap my mind around the thinking of people for whom the X-axis on my graph is reversed. I have to turn my worldview upside down and it's very weird, but I can at least sort of understand (in a hypothetical way) how that group of people thinks.

These people are also totally irrelevant to the decision-making process, though, because their graph looks just like mine, only backwards. So they're going to vote for whichever red dot ends up on the ballot. Choice of which particular blue (or red) dot it is will not affect their voting in the least.

No, the voters that will determine whether I am happy (blue dot) or sad (red dot) on November 3rd are the undecideds, and I don't understand them AT ALL. These are people for whom the two curves overlap significantly, with red and blue all interspersed and mixed up. And obviously, that makes no sense to me. I just don't get from what perspective you'd look at the candidates and see them all tangled up like that. The mind of the undecided voter is a complete mystery to me. Would Joe Undecided be more likely to vote for Obama or Clinton? McCain or Romney? Who knows? Not me, that's for sure! Joe Undecided confuses the hell out of me.

And so, the one thing I want from the primaries -- for the most electable Democrat and the least electable Republican to be the ones who get the nominations -- is the thing that I am utterly incapable of making an effective judgment about. Therefore, if I vote in a primary, all I'm doing is adding noise to the system. And thus, I think the most sensible thing to do is for me to just stay out of it and hope that people who do have that insight are able to carry the day. (Because it's not like I can even tell who has that understanding and defer to their judgment! The whole problem is just opaque to me.)

And that's why I'm not planning on voting on Super Tuesday. I just don't see any benefit to it.
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