Thursday, May 08, 2008

Electing McCain Based On Poker

Rachel Lucas asked her readers if they have changed their minds about voting for McCain based on the fact that Obama is the Democrats' nominee. Many said yes. I'm one of those people who decided long ago to vote for McCain, although I can't say I'm happy about it. I'm one of those "holding my nose while pulling the lever for McCain" people. Rachel also links to a blog post by Army of Dog explaining the reasoning of voting for McCain based on poker.

“How in the name of all things holy does this relate to politics and John McCain?” you ask. Simple, voting for McCain is about odds. When we decide what to do in the upcoming election we face a similar choice to that of a poker player. Our hand is not made, we don’t have a known quantity. What we do have are choices that have different potential consequences. We can stay home and not vote at all. The Democrat will be elected and our only real hope is to minimize the damage they can do in four years by using our minority in both houses of Congress. Given the lack of Republican political power that seems like a very bad option with very long odds to me. Given what I know about the penchant Republicans have for “getting along,” it looks even worse. Or we can vote for McCain and hope that his election buys us enough time to develop the next true leader of the conservative movement. This strategy has the added benefit of creating a crisis within the Democratic Party. Having a supposed dream slate of candidates and still managing to lose a Presidential election that was all but in the bag would have devastating consequences on the party from the top down. This is the electoral equivalent of firing back over the top and forcing your opponent to make the hard decision. You may not have a hand you like, but the other guy has shown weakness and if you win, he will have a very hard time recovering both psychologically and in terms of the game.

Unlike poker players, however, the one option we don’t have is folding. At the table, you can simply leave the hand and survive long enough to try again later. It’s more often than not the best choice in the circumstances I’ve described, but unfortunately electoral politics has no muck. One of the candidates left in this race will be the next President. The only play we have left is to back the best odds, and right now John McCain, like it or not, is the best of a bad field.

I’m actually a rather cautious poker player by nature, but I’ve played enough to know that when you’ve run out of other options, aggression is usually the best strategy. So I say we not only back the man who may betray us at any turn, I say we do it with gusto.
McCain '08 it is! (I'm trying.)

No comments: