– “In 2019, I’d Like …… 
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.
Wm. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
In 2019, I’d like the opportunity to vote for someone rather than against someone.
The last time I cast a single-hearted vote for a politician or party was in 2006 when I voted for my City of Winnipeg councillor. Ever since then (and many times before then) I’ve voted, as the French say, faute de mieux: for the lack of anything better. Who are the villains in this sorry state?
Wedge politics (sometimes called ‘dog whistle” politics) is a factor for sure. This strategy involves a party’s pushing an issue which it knows will split their opposition. For example, American Republicans have been using same-sex marriage in an attempt to split African-American voters away from the Democrats.
Another factor is negative campaigning where a party attempts to stir up its own base by vilifying their opposition. This works because fear and anger are primal and often overriding emotions. President Trump’s re-election campaign’s treasure chest is bursting because his fund-raisers portray any opposition to him as threatening him and his base responds.
A third nogoodnik is strategic voting where in a particular constituency your preferred candidate has no hope of winning and so you vote for the lesser-of-two evils of the viable candidates. This tendency separates the voter from his/her beliefs and converts the voter into a cynical strategist.
But the fact is that politicians and strategists are not the villains. We, the people, are. Our politicians simply respond to the signals which we voters send them. Oh yes, many of them do try to manipulate and massage to their own advantage. But the voters still mark the ballots. And I think our hearts are divided. I know mine is.
So as 2019 presents to me one certain and another possible election, my New Year’s resolution is to do the work to know the candidate. That 2006 vote of mine was for my friend, Brenda Leipsic, someone whom I knew to have integrity, compassion and humility.
Of course, in partisan politics the strategy of the party is to get you to vote for the “platform.” Well, this year I am going to vote for the person and I resolve to do the work to know the person. That way, I can vote for someone.