Maybe this logic sucks, but this is my logic. When I vote, I ignore my positions on issues. Instead, I use my vote to advance two objectives:
- I want my vote to improve policy towards liberty.
- I want my vote to maximize my political power.
A simple test that I ask myself is this: If I vote for A, do I expect resulting policy to be more or less to my liking? And how should I vote to maximize my power?
Let’s see how this logic plays out in two races: my Congressional District and St. Louis County Executive.
Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District Race
If I vote for Wagner, I expect policy to be less to my liking. That’s because I think Ann Wagner will win her 2014 re-elect no matter how I vote. Therefore, a vote for her will be lost in the sea of votes. Historically, Wagner should get between 60 percent and 65 percent of the vote. There will be about 282,000 votes cast in her race, so my vote would count for 1 in 176,250.
If I vote against Wagner, I expect she’ll still win, but I might be able eat into her margin. If that happens, her power and influence in both Missouri and Washington wane. More of her considerable campaign funds will go to her own re-elections, which means she’ll have less money to buy influence from other Republicans.
To counter that loss of influence, Wagner has a choice: she can move left and hope to pick up support from Democrat voters or she can move right to regain support from liberty voters.
I expect she will do the latter.
Therefore, by voting against Wagner in 2014, I think I will increase my influence, and policy over the next two years will be more to my liking.
St. Louis County Executive Race
Different dynamics prevail in the St. Louis County Executive race. Rick Stream is likely to lose if I, and people like me, vote against him. Further, I believe that there is a 100 percent chance that either Rick Stream or Steve Stenger will win. So, if Stream loses, Stenger wins. Therefore, I expect St. Louis County policy to be more to my liking if I vote for Rick Stream and less to my liking if I vote for anyone else. Which is why I’m voting for Rick Stream.
You can argue with my logic, but it’s internally consistent. I can, in good conscious, vote for Bill Slantz for Congress and for Rick Stream for County Executive. I believe that this combination of votes maximizes my influence, and will improve policy in Congress and St. Louis County.
That’s how I’m optimizing my power in 2014.