We should separate the act of voting from our conception of political action. Voting is not political – and to think of voting as genuinely political is to morally endorse a system which systematically excludes “the people” from political discourse. Democratic politics is about building movements which can by the force of masses take away the power which can no longer be trusted to elites.
If you support a movement which offers genuine critiques of the current state structure, you should support it materially and with your labour, and not only on election day. I lend my moral support to the election boycott; I think it’s the correct idealist (and revolutionary-practical) response to the corruption at the root of our system. But, even if you support a movement which does participate in the elections, like Green or NDP, you should not confuse with the number of votes your movement might receive with its strength. The strength of grassroots movements is not only in what happens on election day, it is in the everyday life of organizing a grassroots movement which extends throughout the year and does not rely exclusively on candidates, MPs or elections. To think a small party can intervene in politics through elections rather than through mass organizing is a pathetic mistake, and parties doing this should fail and leave room for movements which are willing to organize both inside and outside elections.
Since voting is not political, no matter what political movement you support, so long as it is to the left of Harper, you should vote liberal. You should not believe that in voting liberal you are “granting the liberals a mandate” (that’s empty political rhetoric), and you should not think of yourself as “selling out”. The real sell-out is to think that by voting by your conscience you are somehow doing your democratic duty, and doing what if everyone did would somehow make us ok. The real sell-out is to think that voting in any way other than “strategically” might matter.
Voting is not about democracy. Voting is not about ideals. Voting is about who wins, and who gets screwed as a result. Less people get screwed if there is a liberal minority as opposed to a conservative minority. So, you have to vote liberal.