As our provincial election nears and rhetoric heats up, it’s worth considering how significantly our voting attitudes can be based on emotion rather than facts or platforms.
We’re bombarded with election ads and buzzwords from the two front-running parties in B.C., and are constantly reminded of what the parties have stood for in the past, and how they’ve deviated from those ideologies at the expense of B.C. taxpayers.
Perception is a powerful thing, and all too often the public is manipulated into believing the old political fault lines still exist: that the concept of left wing and right wing politics is alive and well. Personally, I think these terms are dead ducks that no longer apply.
A quick glance at B.C. politics over the last decade shows that decisions made often confound our expectations. By establishing the escalating carbon tax — now slated to settle in for a five-year freeze — the BC Liberal party threw a curveball that few would have predicted, and that many still see as an anti-business move.
Similarly, the NDP threw their support behind the Jumbo ski resort in its initial stages two decades ago, a move that seems jarring considering the party’s more recent stance on the proposed project.
Politics is a game that parties play to win, and that means hitting a moving target of public opinion. As public attitudes change and evolve, parties do as well — and this means we should keep an open mind and pay attention to platforms come election time.
Media all too often trot out dated cliches built around these perceptions, which serves to give parties a free pass when it comes to real scrutiny of what’s actually in their platforms.
To vote based on past allegiances or ideological stances reminds me of what Jerry Seinfeld once said about cheering for sports teams that are constantly trading players and switching up strategies: it’s like cheering for laundry.