We all have seen where candidates, either in advertisements or debates, shade the truth, bend the facts to their position, or just flat out bullshit. Should ordinary citizens resort to similar shenanigans to get the right vote? It's an interesting question, raised over at Concurring Opinions in the context of California's upcoming gay marriage initiative:
In short, a 'yes' vote on Proposition 8 ends gay marriage in California; a 'no' vote protects the right to gay marriage.I think it's a fascinating dilemma.
Imagine that you are participating in a phone bank placing calls to encourage Californians to vote against Proposition 8 (in other words, you favor gay marriage). You place a call, and the voter on the other end tells you that she is opposed to same sex marriage and that's why she's voting no on Proposition 8. Your response? Do you say 'Thanks for your time -- make sure you get to the polls!' or do you correct her error, and explain that a no vote on Proposition 8 is actually a vote in favor of gay marriage?
On the one hand, the voter's misconception of the issue isn't your fault and they're going to vote "your way," for whatever reason. Surely you wouldn't turn that down? McCain may not be pleased with people who won't vote for Obama because he's black/Muslim/from Mars, but surely he won't ask those folks to stay home (or vote for Bob Barr). Your job is just to get out the vote, however misintended.
On the other hand, isn't this the sort of voter ignorance we'd like to think we should care about? If someone seems passionate enough to vote, don't you bear some responsibility that they actually know what they're voting about? And if we, as citizens, aren't willing to correct a false belief just to secure a vote, how can we blame the pols for creating false beliefs in the first place?
The first position is most pragmatic and cynical. The second is more naive and hopeful. Am I wrong to wish for one and think I'd do the other?