Archives - Strategic Voting
December 2017
Elections 2018: Strategic Voting
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Our Congressman, Tom Garrett Jr, will be up for re-election in 2018. There are four people running for the Democratic nomination to oppose him, and the candidate will be selected at a Convention in May, following caucuses in the 24 localities in the Fifth District.

Senator Tim Kaine is also up for re-election. So far, at least five Republicans are running for that party's nomination to oppose him, and the candidate will be selected in a Primary election to be held June 12.

So Fifth District Democrats, on June 12, will have information about the Republican candidates' positions and relative strengths. And they will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote in the Republican Primary, since Virginia does not permit voter registration by party. There will be a lot of discussion and speculation about the strategic and ethical implications of such voting, and I'd like to contribute some thoughts.

  • The best-known of the Republicans is Corey Stewart, three-term Chair of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. He was narrowly defeated by Ed Gillespie in the gubernatorial primary last year, and four years ago lost to Bishop Jackson in a bid to run for Lieutenant Governor. He was for a time the Trump campaign chair in Virginia, but was an embarassment to the RNC and was forced out.
  • Ivan Raiklin from Fairfax County is the child of Russian immigrants, a tech-start up advisor and former Green Beret with multiple deployments.
  • Del. Nick Freitas (30th-Culpeper) is also a former Green Beret and party activist.
  • Ron Wallace, Chesapeake, was in management at Oracle and is now at AFLAC
  • Bishop E.W. Jackson is the founder and pastor of Exodus Faith Ministries, Chesapeake. He was the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2013

So there are three possibilities next June for each Democrat to ponder:

  1. Stay out of the Republican primary. Would you want Republicans messing in yours? (At the Democratic caucuses a blood oath of loyalty is required).
  2. Vote in the Primary for your choice as the best alternative to Tim Kaine, whether or not that person is seen as the strongest general election candidate. There's an election being held and you can vote in it.
  3. Vote in the Primary for the (presumed) weakest opponent to Tim Kaine in a general election. Strategic voting. There's an election being held, you can vote in it, and you want to help Tim Kaine win.
I think staying out of it is clearly the ethical course. And voting in their primary to undercut their selection is evil. (I recall the discussion, early in 2016, about maybe crossing over and voting for Trump in the Republican Presidential Primary, since he was such a malignant buffoon and would clearly be the weakest Republican candidate.)

But there is an argument to be made for the second course. If Tim Kaine is to lose, you have the opportunity to vote for the Republican who comes closest to representing your views. Kind of like preferential voting.

Dave Sagarin (December 22, 2017)

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