Monday, March 24, 2008

Tactical Voting

Large numbers of Americans are discovering the joys of tactical voting. Right-wing activists have been encouraging Republican voters to support Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, with two intended outcomes.

  1. To prolong the (supposed damaging) contest between Clinton and Barack Obama.
  2. To increase the chances that Senator McCain will face Clinton in November, whom some Republicans believe it will be easier to attack. (Republicans have lots of experience mobilizing anti-Clinton feeling.)
Republicans voting tactically for Clinton have been dubbed HillPublicans. It seems that they had a large (but not decisive) effect on the most recent primary, in Mississipi, and may have had a smaller but decisive effect on the primaries in Ohio and Texas.

But the most prominent advocate for tactical voting, a "shock jock" called Rush Limbaugh, says he is having difficulty persuading Americans to vote for a candidate they hate. Is that because of moral distaste (they think tactical voting is insincere and therefore dishonest), ignorance (they don't understand how tactical voting works), or fear (they are afraid the tactic will backfire)?

Shock jocks urge Republicans to vote for Clinton (Observer, March 23 2008)

The Limbaugh Effect in Mississippi, Texas, and Ohio (ObamaPolitics blog, March 12 2008)

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