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Friday, February 23, 2018

Vote for MPs that you select yourself

Last year, after the election campaigns in the regions began the discussion on “whether to participate in elections?”. First, the arguments for and against led opposition politicians, and on the eve of elections to the state Duma joined the discussion with the voters. I believe that vote still stands. And here’s why.

The rejection of the hike to the polling station, is not a “boycott”. A real protest affects the course of events. But the decision to stay home is affected is that on voter turnout. No turnout in Russia, so the elections will take place in any case.

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

“My voice still does not solve anything,” he might say absenteeism. And I’ll argue. Because a tick in the Bulletin affect the course of events to a much greater extent than the decision not to come to the polling station. In support of this perspective, I could cite the classic arguments. By participating in elections, you do not let to steal your voice. By participating in elections, you operate the political elite, at least sending her a signal about the competence and loyalty of its personnel. And so on. But all this you have probably already heard, more than once. So I want to draw your attention to the less common, but perhaps more important argument.

Its essence can be expressed by the aphorism: “If you tell a man that he is a pig, he’ll grunt”. Or softer: “they Say that if you smile all the time, you can become happy.” Translated into political language it would sound like this: “If you use the tools of democracy (read: to participate in the elections), then sooner or later democracy will come”.

This principle formulates and political scientists Jason Brownlee, Jennifer Gandhi, Beatrice Magaloni: the more democratic institutions mimics the mode, the easier it transformirovalsya in democracy. Take Tunisia, where after the “Arab springelections were held, a Constitution was adopted. The ideal, of course, still far away. But step on the path to democracy has been done. Examples confirming this thesis, can be found in the us. In 1988, Sakharov started the campaign for elections to the Congress of people’s deputies. He went to the polls, which many considered unfair and unjust to the rostrum to speak for liberal and democratic reforms. It was heard by millions. And the next election was already quite different.

Probably the opposite is true. If you do not use the tools of democracy (read: not go to the polls), then what is happening in the country will be less and less like democracy.

The responsibility of the country in which we live, lies with us. In the end, what’s the point to criticize the regime and behave as subjects of an authoritarian state, and not as conscious citizens of a democratic state. To start with ourselves first.

Elections to the State Duma 2016. Chronicle of events

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