Election Paralysis? Let Me Help.
Only three days until the election and perhaps you still have not decided who to vote for. Let me try to help you figure it out. You might even want to play around with it even if you have already decided.
The trick is not to consider costs and benefits because we all want all the benefits without any of the costs. Just human nature. Rather, with my tool, we only look at the costs of each alternative. This helps us examine the values behind each choice and that gives us a deeper understanding of what we really want before we cast our ballots in this election.
Let me give you an example. This is not a personal example and you will see that some points could be written by someone on the right and others by someone on the left. I am trying to show you how it is done and not to show you why you should vote any particular party. I chose to compare Yisrael Beitenu and Likud, neither of which I intend to vote for. I brainstormed together with Avi Eisenman, a friend. We listed the negatives of each of the parties and this is what we came up with. Your own list may include some of these points and you may think of others we did not. The point is not how many items there are for any given party, but the nature of those items.
Who do I vote for?
|Costs of Voting Yisrael
|Costs of Voting Likud
|Liberman seems to hate Haredim and Arabs and both are part of the country so counterproductive
|Not pleased that Bibi is still heading the party
|Willing to paralyze the country twice so far
|Bibi talks the talk but then does not follow through on the walk
|Have heard that Liberman says different things in Russian versus Hebrew
|No clear replacement if Bibi suddenly has to go
|Says won't support minority government, won't support Joint List, won't support Likud - but all these cannot be true
|Large elements in party are not really rightwing but beholding to Histadrut
|Liberman also talks against religious zionists
|Likud members actively torpedoed justicial reform from right
|Thinks can get Haredim into IDF by criminalizing draft avoidance - this is counterproductive
|Weak on defence and fighting terror - not willing to change status quo re Gaza
|Liberman raised populistic legislation as opposed to meaningful legislation
|Not big on supporting sovereignty in Judea and Samaria
|Attitude to state and religion is not based on coexistence and communication
|Weak on defence and justicial reform
|Defers to Haredim on issues of religion and state
After you have your list, cross off those that are less important to you and leave the three to five points that are most important to you. Then try to characterize the list of points remaining – this should be related in some way to values.
For example, when I whittle down the list for Yisrael Beitenu, it seems to me that the party is characterized by hate of anyone who is not Jewish and secular. That is a value statement. Is that something I am willing to vote for? Keep in mind that your list may have very different points than mine did.
When I whittle down the Likud list of costs, I get the impression that they are promoting treading water, maintaining the status quo. Of course, there are many things the Likud promoted – such as economic stability and improved foreign relations – but this decisionmaking tool has to do with costs only. And promoting the status quo in important issues such as Haredi involvement in government, defence and sovereignty issues is definitely a value statement. Am I willing to vote for that? It is possible that your list for Likud will be very different from mine.
Do that for two or more parties you are considering this election and let us know in the comments what you come up with. Remember to list only the costs of the party you are considering voting for and not what you like about the party.
P.S. Last year at this time, I published a voting guide describing the parties running before our April election. Much of that is still relevant today and you might want to have a look at it.