Tag Archives: Canadian Politics

Podcast 81

Curse You, Trump Opponents | The Conservative Party of Canada Leadership Race | Sean Spicer Kindergarten Press Briefing (The Daily Show) | Bingo Number of the Week | Newspaper Comment Section Default Avatar Guy | Introducing TREMENDOUS CLOTH!

This is why you hate politics

I’m the King of the Castle; you’re a dirty rascal. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear


A zero-sum-game is a game of winners and losers. For every winner, a loser; for every loser, a winner.

A zero-sum-game is a game of gains against losses, of distribution, of competition, of conflict.

I gain X at your expense. My gain of X is balanced exactly by your loss of X.

By necessity, a zero-sum-game is an attempt to gain advantage over others, employing tactics and power.

In a zero-sum-game, we are not all in this together. We are divided. Our interests are not the same.

The reality is that most people live their day-to-day lives playing a non-zero-game. We seek win-wins. We are not in conflict with our friends, our families, our neighbors.

We prefer harmony over conflict, co-operation over competition. We negotiate and share and look for the greater good.

Life in a healthy human community is not a zero-sum-game, but politics is a zero-sum-game.

You belong to Party X. I belong to Party Y. One of us must defeat the other.

A vote is a unit of marginal utility. We compete for votes.

My 51% of the votes does not give me 51% of the power, or the authority, or the right to govern and to legislate. I get it all. Your 49% of the vote gives you 0% of the power.

In everything other than politics, we seek to make the pie bigger. We want to ensure everyone gets a slice, and that we deal with others as much as possible in a spirit of fairness, respect, and co-operation.

In politics, I must win and you must lose. We cannot share. We are in conflict. We can not cooperate. The values and morals of ordinary human life do not apply, and must not apply.

A zero-sum.

Money, politics, and marketing research

Money and politics. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

In the 2011 federal general election, 61.1 percent of the 23,971,740 eligible voters of Canada voted.

A majority government was formed by 39.62 percent of this 61.1 percent.

Here is a graph of the historical trajectory of voter engagement.

Voter Turnout

39.62 percent of 61.1 percent is 23.79 percent. Under ¼ of eligible voters in Canada elected a majority government in 2011.

As voter engagement declines, mobilizing voter engagement becomes an increasingly valuable commodity.

1,323,927 votes separated the majority party and the official opposition—or 9% of the actual vote and 5.5% of the eligible vote.

In markets where small margins determine big outcomes, targeted campaigns are required. Targeted marketing campaigns require enormous market research.

Market research is expensive.

When you realize that everything depends upon mobilizing the 5.5% to capture an elusive 9%, the value proposition becomes clear. The rules governing money and campaigning noticeably change.

For example:


What is the value of a vote? This is the $125-million dollar question, and it has an answer.

The value of a vote depends upon the likelihood of someone voting for you.

Those who will never vote for you, no matter what, have low value—because they cannot be bought.

Those who will always vote for you, no matter what, have low value—because they don’t need to be bought. Money spent on either of these categories is wasted.

The most valuable voters are undecided. They are disengaged, low information voters. They are swing voters. They are waiting to be persuaded. They can be bought. In all likelihood, they must be.

They are the elusive 9% who determine everything. They are all that matter.

Money, marketing, and modern politics.