Who should I vote for?
In theory our proportional representation voting system should give one lots of choice. There are lots of parties to choose from, and if any of them get 0,25% of the votes they get representatives in parliament. Unlike a constituency system, there are no unopposed or safe seats, where you have no vote or a wasted vote. Every vote counts.
But I still find it difficult to decide.
What I do when following news of elections in other countries is to take one of those quizzes that you find on various web sites, where the quiz is designed to match your expressed values to the policies of one of the parties or candidates. For example, in the 2012 US Presidential election, I did one of those quiz thingies, and at the end it told me that if I had a vote in that election I should cast it for Jill Stein.
I’d never heard of her.
But you can read about it in American elections: rhetoric and reality.
But I couldn’t find any similar quizzes in South Africa, until I came across this one, sponsored by City Press.
It’s pretty clunky and unsophisticated compared with the overseas ones — instead of matching your expressed values with the manifestoes of the parties and statements by the candidates, they just give you chunks of the manifestoes themselves, and ask you to pick the ones you like the most.
Well, I tried it.
At least it might give me a clue about which parties I should look at more closely before decided which one to vote for.
The answer? All of them. Well, nearly all of them.
That’s not much help, is it? The percentages in the graphics also seem to be a bit inconsistent, though the trend is clear enough.
But of course policy manifestoes are not the only criterion. There are other co0nsiderations, like their historical record, how much you trust their leaders, and so on.
I’ll cross Cope off the list for a start. They seem to have spent most of their energy since the last election in internal party squabbles with various leaders taking each other to court. If they can’t manage their own party properly, there’s little hope that they will be able to manage the country.
Then there’s the ANC. But they seem to be living on past glory. Yes, they had a good story to tell — 15-20 years ago. But the recent past looms larger, and three things stand out: Marikana, E-tolls, and Nkandla. And that procession of very expensive cars in ANC colours doesn’t help; too much bling, angling for the IziKhotane vote, perhaps? Thanks, but no thanks.
The FF+? They seem too much like a retreaded version of Andries Treurnicht’s old Conservative Party to me, still standing for sectional interests, and even many of those who might in the past have identified with those sectional interests seem to prefer to throw their lot into a wider South Africanism.
EFF. The wrong party at the wrong time. If Cosatu had broken from the tripartite alliance and started a Labour Party, I’d be interested. But the EFF looks a bit too much like fat cats selling snake oil to the poor. The sight of Julius Malema leading a march from Joburg to Pretoria from the back of a bakkie seems to sum things up. They say some good things, and some incredibly silly things that they don’t seem to have thought through. But I might, just might, consider voting for them at provincial level. That wouldn’t help Juju get into parliament, but I suspect that they might have some good people on their provincial lists.
Then there’s the DA, the Democratic Alliance. They have several stories to tell, one good, the others middling to bad. They’ve been telling us that they fought apartheid. Well some of their ancestors did, and some of their ancestors introduced apartheid, so those seem to cancel each other out. I’m also suspicious of political parties that promise jobs. The ANC used to do that too. Politicians who promise jobs usually end up giving jobs to pals. And after the Democratic Party’s “fight back” campaign in 1999, to attract those of the white right who were gatvol after five years of democracy, which enabled them to absorb the rump of the National Party which had fought against democracy for 40 years and more.. well, that isn’t easy to forget. But, like the EFF, I might, just might, consider voting for them at the provincial level.
Which has the biggest chunk of the teething ring, the only one that got more than the other parties. I was pretty sure I would vote for them until Mamphela Ramphele shot herself in the foot by toenadering with the DA. But even though she’s blotted her copybook, what’s the alternative? I still think she could make a useful contribution in parliament.
So the City Press quiz, plus thinking aloud, as it were, in this blog post, is all part of the process of trying to make up my mind about where to put my cross come Wednesday. I’ve more or less decided where I won’t put it.
Just found another “choose your party” site (hat-tip to Ryan Peter), which is a bit mor sophisticated than the City Press one — I don’t know if it is more accurate. It had a different set of recommendations:
I thought the UCDP was Mangope’s party, and I have a kind of built-in distrust of former “homeland” leaders, especially those who opted for “independence”. But maybe I’m missinformed about that.
I’ve never heard of the People’s Alliance before, and I hope it isn’t the sushi king party!
I know of the ACDP, but would not vote for it for reasons explained in the comments below. I’m also pro-life, and so would prefer to vote for a party that is against both capital punishment and abortion.
Well, now you can try both these tools to help you decide which party to vote for!