NDP’s new appetite for balanced budgets predictable. Learn why!

Icecream vendorsDon’t be surprised by the NDP’s sudden passion for balanced budgets during this election campaign.

It may sound like expedient role reversal, a cynical attempt to distill fears about the party’s big spending reputation.

However, I’d like to argue that Tom Mulcair’s appetite for balanced budgets was rather predictable for anyone familiar with a long-established theory. The Median Voter Theorem explains how political parties in democracies will by necessity move to the centre if they are serious about winning elections. It’s about brand building and PR, not ideology.

Have a look at this 6-minute Animation. It helps explain the Theorem by applying it to a non-political scenario. Two ice cream vendors (the parties) fight to gain customers (voters) in a city block. It also explains the Theorem’s origins in Harold Hotelling’s spatial model of firm strategies in a competitive marketplace.

So, expect more of the same from our political leaders as this campaign unfolds and the fight for undecided voters intensifies. All leaders will move as far to the centre as they can without completely alienating their core constituencies.

One thought on “NDP’s new appetite for balanced budgets predictable. Learn why!

  1. I disagree with the Theorem, by the way, because it is harder to entice voters to vote than it is to deal with everyone who wants ice-cream. So there are too many other variables, compared to the ice-cream vendors. E.g race, religion, creed, level of education, physical disability, psychological motivation, etc. Furthermore, when you have three parties instead of two, it gets more complicated.
    The ice-cream theory would suggest that the Democrats and Republicans would always be tied. But in actual fact, there are 41 states that are quite predictable and nine that always go either way. In the last election Obama won 8 of those 9, because he knew how to get a bigger slice of the middle part. In an earlier election, Bush got about 7 out of 8 of those swing states, by bringing up the paranoia of gay sex. That has now backfired. Nick (posted on his behalf. Received via email)


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