The Spoiler: Vancouver First

In the mayoral race, there was no spoiler.  It was a straight up three-horse race, and Vision won by a decent stretch.  Had Bob Kasting stayed in the race, he would in large part have taken anti-Vision votes away from NPA and thus widened the gap even further. In the end it didn’t matter.

But it isn’t so simple when you look at the numbers in the all-important Council contests.  It seems to me that the vast majority of Vancouver First votes would have come from the conservative side of the NPA. Had Vancouver First not interjected itself into the Council race, it is reasonable to suppose that some or all of their vote would have gone to NPA candidates.

Ian Robertson and Gregory Baker were less than 3,000 votes shy of overtaking both Geoff Meggs and Tim Stevenson.  Just a reasonable part of the 17,000 votes received by Mercedes Wong and the 9,000 votes given to Federico Fuocco if given to Robertson and Baker would have given us a Mayor and Council (5 Vision, 5 NPA, 1 Green) in which Adriane Carr held the casting vote in any disputes between the bigger parties.

But that isn’t to be because Vancouver First decided to expand from its natural home in Parks Board politics and move into more general muncipal issues with a conservative twist.  That decision, that vote splitting on the right, has in large measure given us a Vision majority for another four years.

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4 Responses to The Spoiler: Vancouver First

  1. bcvoter says:

    Well, as long as you understand vote splitting and want to continue supporting it. That’s all the matters, right Jak?

  2. Digging into the election numbers does show that Vision lost votes across the board. Enough so that as the party and its people pore over the results, they should find reason for concern. If opposition to Vision had been focused rather than fragmented, they would have been in trouble.

    The problem with the ‘mixed slate’ approach that some of us were pursuing is that with so many candidates, my mixed slate may be somewhat different from your mixed slate. You vote for one extra Green, I vote for one extra COPE, and so on. Unless there is strong alignment on the mixed slate, too many votes end up not being used effectively.

    The other problem is that the plethora of candidates and parties makes deciding how to vote confusing for the average citizen. By ‘average’, I mean someone who doesn’t have a significant amount of time and energy to follow municipal politics in any depth. Which probably means most voters. We already have a situation in which voter turnout is consistently well below 50%. And of those who do turn out, I suspect many just want it to be easy, so they vote a party slate. They feel a party generally aligns with their personal views, nuances get lost, and they fill in the multiple dots using party affiliation as their only guide.

    I think it is possible for ‘a people’s party’ to knock off a big-money machine, but only if the people are strongly aligned behind one front. That was the case in 2002, when Larry Campbell and COPE rode a wave of popular sentiment, but COPE’s subsequent self-destruction has lead to an era of fragmentation.

    If oppositional forces can’t find a way of coalescing under a single front, I imagine the centrist Vision, with the developer’s fist in the green glove, will continue to hold power.

    In politics, I think the KISS principle is generally the key to success — however that may reflect upon us as a species.

  3. david parent says:

    I have to agree with you completely on the right vote splitting. I looked over many of the polling stations and noticed Vancouver First got alot of votes on the Westside and outlier areas of Vancouver and clearly these votes would have made a big difference on those last 3 council seats that Vision won. But in the end thats the way the cookie crumbles in democracy!!

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