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What to do about the vote splits

Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable

Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail

Every pol worth his salt knows that in a close federal election it's the splits that count. Splits are the percentages of votes in a three (or more) way race.

Last week, very early on a Good Friday morning, I spent 90 minutes at a greasy spoon in the bowels of downtown Toronto with my favourite Liberal mucky muck discussing same.

Here's the deal (he said): If you're a Grit they don't look good. Now of course my pal has to spin that POV like two bastards because, per Heisenberg, he wants those results to change while he's looking at them.

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Why? Because if "progressives" realize that by joining the orange wave they're handing the Tories a majority, then, just before they fire the gun to end the fourth quarter, they'll have an attack of real politique and vote Liberal.

And while he sat there spinning , I thought "I love this guy." I thought that because he believes that the Charter actually matters and he believes that the G20 crackdown was bullshit and he believes a guaranteed annual income is the natural outcome of a just society and he believes a lot of the same stuff I believe. Plus he's not a cynical bastard like a lot of other people in politics.

But this time, as much as I've pimped for the coalition and as much as I believe a Tory majority would be a disaster, I want to disagree with my friend. This time I want to vote NDP because it's the right goddamn thing to do; because they ran the best campaign and because maybe just maybe politics isn't about this campaign or the next campaign but the one after that.

Here's a quote from Catcher In The Rye that sums up my thinking this Easter weekend. I wish I'd had the wit to quote it verbatim to my Liberal friend.

"This fall I think you're riding for - it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement's designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn't supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn't supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started."

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