On this so-called General Elections cooling day, I’m sweltering in the heat trying to crystallise the thought process behind how my vote should go. I’ve pretty much seen all the arguments that all the interested parties have to make as well as have had time to reflect on the way the country has progressed in the past 5 years.

For my constituency, the opposition party is pretty weak. They are a hastily assembled team and the quality of the candidates (from my limited viewing of one of their rally speeches and another of one of their candidates’ past actions) is horrible. As such, I think I can term them- ‘The angry men team’. These guys are angry at the system because they have been marginalised by it. Worse still, in all likelihood, they have many more years to live and if the system does not change so that the rules of society are calibrated to suit them a little better, they will feel more and more marginalised in time to come.

On the other hand, the incumbent has got most of their economic policies right. I know because I’m suited to such a system- do well in school, graduate with decent enough grades, get a job that pays relatively well without having too much demands on me. I’ve got it all and if it weren’t for such a system, I wouldn’t. In short, the policies of the incumbent have pretty much benefited me.

Unfortunately, if that was all there is to it, then the decision would be easy.

I like to think of things in simpler terms and as such, I’ve come up with the game show analogy:

Imagine that society and politics is a game show where a) the voters are the audience, b) the election nominees are the contestants and here’s how the game works:

There are two main teams- the White team and the Coloured team. Each team can put up as many candidates as their resources allow them and the main aim is to win seats. Some seats can be won individually while some seats are packaged in threes or fours. The total number of seats up for grabs, in a given round, are finite. Chosen candidates get 5 rounds to make decisions, after which, they are subjected to an election round where they try to canvass votes for seats.

Why do contestants want to win these seats? Well for one, getting a seat means that you receive a sum of money each round. However, in return you also get to make some decisions that will affect the audience and you can also change the rules of the game so that when the next election round comes up, the game may be tilted in your team’s favour. However, to do that your team will need the majority of seat votes to back that. Now, the decisions made by seat-holders are taken from a pantry of resources that is stocked up with audience money accumulated over all previous rounds.  e.g. If a seat holder decides to give each audience member $10, this is taken from a pantry/vault which holds all the monies accumulated from previous rounds. The reverse is also true- seat-holders may make decisions that extract monies from the audience or earn it from external sources.

Now, as an audience member, your tough job is to give one vote to a candidate of your choice. The current rule is that each audience member is designated a seat number(s) in which they have to vote a candidate to fill.

So question:
– Do I vote for a weaker candidate because there is another ‘strong’ candidate within the team?
– If I didn’t like the decisions of some of the White Team members (which is the winning team so far) that I’m not voting for, should I still vote against the candidate in the White team that is canvassing for my vote?
– The White team has been on a roll since round 1 but their most recent performances have been suspect. They have denied responsibility for some mistakes but during the election round, they have been promising that they will change.
– The Coloured team has quite a few good candidates this time but I can’t vote for them. Instead the coloured team candidates canvassing for my vote seems pretty weak.

– If I vote the White team, it means more of the same. After all, they have been touting their track record which will probably continue to benefit me but I see other audience members getting an ice-cold chair and bone while I get meat and a nice warm seat. I think I’ll feel a little guilty.
– The Coloured team candidates definitely suck. They will propose unrealistic decisions that benefit no one in the audience in the long run.
– If the White Team retains most of the seats (which is the highest probability scenario), they will continue to push through decisions that are mostly sound. If they get a low percentage share of the votes, will they tweak their decisions to be more inclusive so that they can get more votes the next election round? Or will decisions that are more inclusive turn out bad in general? If they turn out bad, will it be so bad that it permanently damages the game?

It’s tough to be a swing voter. Aljunied would be so much clearer-cut.