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My voting dillema: What to do when both options for voting are (immently) corrupt?

Vendrah

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Actually, this is a support and advice thread that also involves a heavy philosophical political question, so this thread can belong to support and advice, politics section and philosophical too.

Ok, yesterday there was the election for mayor.
There were 12 candidates - 2 went to the 2nd round because the 1st candidate got less than 50% of valid votes.
Now, 2 candidates are left for the round two - one is theoretically from the left and the other is aligned with the far-right with Bolsonaro (far right wing president) 'support'. However, it is imminent that both are corrupt.

Someone said:
How do you know that?
Well, here we got something called 'declaração de bens', which translate as 'declaration of goods', which is a declaration of property - the candidate does declare which are their property. I think this was partially created to make the job of the people on the justice department to find which politicians are the best 'targets' to investigate, but also to people like me to spot those who either have lots of things to hide or have a very high amount of money without having proper activities to have so. The latter are almost in extinction, because you can deduct that there is fraud when the sum of all incomes of the politician (plus heritage) is significantly lower than the amount of declared goods.

You can't have a proper distinction from the other side, though. If the sum of all incomes plus heritage is significantly or waayyy higher than the declaration of goods, you cannot deduct that there is fraud, you can deduct that either the candidate had lost a significant amount of money or that the candidate is hiding goods - it is a common pattern in Brazil to corrupt people to declare less amount of goods to cover some sort of fraud - scams related to cheat taxes (by pretending something doesn't exist or into creating very high underestimations of its value to reduce the calculated tax) or 'washed' money/goods (the good indirectly comes from illegal scams, like drugs or money that comes from a public ordinance and goes to the politician pockets instead, but needs to be covered because it is recognized by property law to belong to the politician yet it does not belong to any income stream). There are some figures here (3-4 for this mayor election) that are 'homeless with expensive suits' ('mendigo de terno'), that declared that they have absolutely nothing - yet they are candidates!

What happened to the mayors in the 2nd round of my city is that both of the politicians that comes to the 2nd round declared that their amount of goods is less than their yearly income (using lower estimations) yet their income is active for decades, literally. Just a random example that, think of a person who yearns $60.000 yearly for 30 years and says that her/his amount of goods is declared to be worth a total of $40.000 - WTF happened to the rest of the money? It either mysteriously disappeared - it is probably hidden to get mixed to illegal money - or the person was actually irresponsible enough to lose it to a bet or to induce some accident event with guilt (like, I don't know, putting fire to someone's house and having to pay a new house? Ok, this is exaggeration, but think of a major event like that), or there was a massive donation. Anyway, all these events, except the donation, is really an argument for why that person should NOT be a mayor - lack of responsibility or the person can't even manage their own money (so imagine the disaster that would be them managing a city budget). However, we can google search for the candidates to see if we spot any major event that had caused that, even though massive donation is actually a known method do do money laundry - a method to hide money - so not all of them who officially donated the money actually did it.

But that comes from inductive reasoning - so, although it is imminent that these candidates are up to something, and I could not find any major event that justifies the massive donation without being worth of taking this suspicion out, also considering that the politicians here are usually corrupt (or at least perceived so - Corruption Perception Index of Brazil has a high perception of corruption) - I can't really say that about them, yet I do take both as likely/imminently corrupt (because they are hiding money, and they are hiding money because their yearly income is higher than the amount of goods declared by them plus they work for decades). But these are my two options. I can do two things:
- Vote in one of them knowing that I am giving votes to a corrupted politician, which sort of makes me feel bad and guilty when they started cheating while I gave them a vote.
- Or vote in none, which means that the other votes are going to decide which one instead.
I know I am not actually guilty of this situation. If most people were like me, none of them would make it, regardless of them being on the opposite spectrums of right and left. Most of people here, including some people from my family, did vote and does not know how many candidates for mayors existed this year if I ever ask them. They just voted on the candidate that was praised the most on Whatsapp (or the ones Bolsonaro supports, there is some overlap).

I did the latter option for the presidency 2 years ago (voted on none - you basically put a number that does not exist or press the letter 'white', which sort of should be called 'transparent' instead). Although my criteria was different (both of them passed on this criteria), I attributed both the left candidate and far right wing Bolsonaro as candidates with highly suspicion of corruption - the suspicion for corruption was actually more towards the left candidate while Bolsonaro seemed fascist and a little bit exaggerated and absurd - no, wait, actually Bolsonaro did a declaration which implies that he cheated taxes at least one time. But I don't know if I should voted on the other one that opposed to Bolsonaro even if I did perceived him as corrupted just because his proposal and priorities seemed more appropriated than Bolsonaro for the current situation of the country. So I did voted on none - but some anti-Bolsonaro people blame people like me because actually like 20-35% of the country did the same and if we all voted against Bolsonaro the other candidate would have won (not by a big margin, but would), so people from extreme left says we are guilty of it (Bolsonaro being president) too - even though most of us had voted for a candidate in the first round (we had 10-15 options at the time), but our candidate didn't make it (and nor other candidates that seemed reasonable and not corrupt), although some few people admit they are ignorant or don't care and instead vote white or a random meaningless number every election - I think it is great that ignorant people absents themselves from voting, that is indeed better for the nation.

So, what do you think I should do next time, vote on the corrupted one I think has the best proposals, try to speculate which one is the least corrupted, just make a 'right vs left' test and vote the one that is closer to my right vs left position (which would put me to vote on the less extremist one) or what? This is not personal but is quite of a dilemma.
 

Red Memories

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At worst, I would vote for the corrupt politician who aligns most with your values. I wish I could believe politicians weren't built on some corruption but I don't feel like US politics can be all that different at times.

At best, you may want to do what you did last election. However, that might mean the Brazilian Trump gets another go at it. Which may not be what you want at all. Similar to me not REALLY wanting to vote Biden but voting Biden anyway taking the worst-ish option XD
 

noname3788

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It's an impossible decision, and I think the most important thing is to acknowledge that there is no feel-good outcome in that situation. So just pick whatever comes closest to your own ethical mindset, and please don't regret it later based on knowledge you didn't have at the election date. If that decision is to not vote at all because you can't support any of the 2 remaining candidates, then it's a perfectly legitimate choice. No one is forced to vote. No one is allowed to force you to vote. And if you want to at least look like you've voted, then you can still attend to it, write "Harambe" on the ballot and have an invalid vote.
 

mancino

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Yeah, pretty much what [MENTION=39780]noname3788[/MENTION] said.
The way I see it:
- The nihilistic-cynical choice: nothing really matters, I won't vote
- The pure soul choice: I won't corrupt myself by aligning to these people, I won't vote
- The good citizen choice: It's your duty to the community, pick the best candidate, or the least bad
- The fundamentalist choice: I hate Bolsonaro, I'll pick the other guy just to screw him!

Actually, I think your frame of mind matters more than the actual choice itself. You started this thread because you care, and you did your research. Then, I suggest that you vote. Choose your #1 priority and give your support to the candidate more likely to do something in that direction. For example, my criteria: vote for the candidate that is most likely to do something about climate change and environmental issues. That simple. Is s/he corrupt? They all are, otherwise they wouldn't get to the top. But they still can do good.

And if you really think it shouldn't be that way, try doing something yourself. Maybe just a petition in the neighborhood to fix some minor local issue.
 

tinker683

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Yeah, pretty much what [MENTION=39780]noname3788[/MENTION] said.
The way I see it:
- The nihilistic-cynical choice: nothing really matters, I won't vote
- The pure soul choice: I won't corrupt myself by aligning to these people, I won't vote
- The good citizen choice: It's your duty to the community, pick the best candidate, or the least bad
- The fundamentalist choice: I hate Bolsonaro, I'll pick the other guy just to screw him!

Actually, I think your frame of mind matters more than the actual choice itself. You started this thread because you care, and you did your research. Then, I suggest that you vote. Choose your #1 priority and give your support to the candidate more likely to do something in that direction. For example, my criteria: vote for the candidate that is most likely to do something about climate change and environmental issues. That simple. Is s/he corrupt? They all are, otherwise they wouldn't get to the top. But they still can do good.

And if you really think it shouldn't be that way, try doing something yourself. Maybe just a petition in the neighborhood to fix some minor local issue.

Using the above criteria, my opinion is to vote the "good citizen choice" as outlined above
 

тень

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Burn it down.

lU5cE.gif
 

Lark

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I just reflect upon how small an aspect of life voting actually is.

Which is to say that you will probably not undo corruption with a voting intervention, even if it where possible for populations to mobilize the sorts of moral reprimand or approbation for representatives that would involve, its still, what? Once every three or four years?

Corruption starts in and is perpetuated within cultures and communities, maybe even, ultimately, families as they are usually the source of primary socialization/habituation, then there's all the secondary socialization/habituation, which is in your schools, community groups, neighbourhoods, social networks and eventually, what I think is the most powerful of them all, workplaces or, broadly speaking, "managerialism".

If voting is 1% of your time commitment, which I think is something like what it is, then the 99% this is "other" which variously gets described as "spontaneous order", "civil society", "free association", "voluntary association" etc. I believe in socialism and personal responsibility so voting is important and I never miss a chance to do so but its important to maintain perspective too.

- - - Updated - - -

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Who said that? That is interesting
 

mancino

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I just reflect upon how small an aspect of life voting actually is.

Right. This is why I believe you can do a lot just by making your close environment a better place, even in the face of corruption.

And then, corruption is a catch word. Take Japan, for example. By some criteria, it is a corrupt country. Business is not transparent at all, compared to Western standard. But it works for them, and being born in Japan is a lucky event compared to a lot of other places on Earth, even in the West if you are born poor or in dysfunctional families.

There are different forms of corruption: self centered and community centered. We always think about the former, and maybe it's the case in [MENTION=32874]Vendrah[/MENTION] 's voting dilemma, but it could be otherwise. I've seen it many times: disregarding a stupid law or rule for the sake of a greater good. If it involves money, it's a form of corruption, but still morally justifiable.
 

Vendrah

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I have until November 29 to do the decision, and Im willing to listen a lot of people for at least the next 7 days - I have not make up my mind.
But yep, its a minor issue.

I also have noticed that probably a lot of people does not even know how many candidates for mayor (total) there were on the first round. While some portion of my family (I talk about that at least as possible so I don't really know for sure, and I do that to prevent to be swallowed) around me voted based on what the Whatsapp is saying.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

I just don't get it how that applies to the question I asked on the beginning of the thread!
 

тень

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I just don't get it how that applies to the question I asked on the beginning of the thread!

How do you not get it? You don't have to tolerate shit and shit. Burn it down, and rebuild. If you don't, your country will become so corrupted that nothing you do will ever improve your life. And if enough people rebel, you will eventually be forced into line or killed. Eventually, falling under tyranny.

So burn it down before they take away your ability to.

In USA, there is corruption on both sides. But one is far less corrupt than the other. So there is still sliver of hope. That corruption for now, just wants you to consume product and stfu.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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The solution is obvious. You need to lead a rebellion and overthrow your government.
 

Firebird 8118

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Now I’m curious: how many of you guys are active politicians? :D
 

Siúil a Rúin

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[MENTION=32874]Vendrah[/MENTION] I hope you don't mind my intentionally facetious comment earlier, but I said it to make a particular point that such an ideal is much easier said than done. It is an unrealistic pressure to place on a single individual facing overwhelmingly corrupt power structures. It cannot be done alone, although I can see the point of holding it as a value, but I think it places unfair, unrealistic, and absurd pressure at the individual level.

I don't know the answer for you, except from an internal, emotional standpoint, you can think through each option: voting for the first candidate, the second, or not voting. Imagine how you will feel afterwards. I know part of the problem is that when a candidate is corrupt, it is difficult to know what kinds of lines they will cross once in office. When reading about the elections in Germany when Hitler ended up chancellor, the other options were not great. One was an avid Stalinist and the other was also a Nazi. I don't know that my advice is helpful, but there is a certain line of corruption past which I would personally not vote, but leave it to the fates. To a certain degree I can choose the lesser of two evils, but after a certain point, I don't think I could do it. That line would be different for each individual person, so projecting each decision into the future is the best suggestion I have and the option of casting no vote in such a scenario is one I would consider.

I am sorry to hear this situation is dire. My facetious comment was for the purpose of demonstrating how impossible that actually is as an option. It is fine to have an ideal of changing bad situations, but it isn't something we can as an individuals actually apply to reality with the ease of snapping our fingers. I was trying to show that it isn't a practical option for you for this specific scenario as it stands, so it was actually an attempt to show support, although I now want to be sure that wasn't lost in translation.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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I would also say that when evaluating a candidate's level of moral violation, it is important to look at documentation over rumor. In your country there may be documentation for both, but that is also an important consideration. The bottom line is choose based on documentation of moral violations.
 

Morpeko

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I'm sorry, you tagged me and I almost forgot to respond. But here's my 2 cents. I don't have much new to say, so I'll be going off quotes from previous posters.

Yeah, pretty much what [MENTION=39780]noname3788[/MENTION] said.
The way I see it:
- The nihilistic-cynical choice: nothing really matters, I won't vote
- The pure soul choice: I won't corrupt myself by aligning to these people, I won't vote
- The good citizen choice: It's your duty to the community, pick the best candidate, or the least bad
- The fundamentalist choice: I hate Bolsonaro, I'll pick the other guy just to screw him!

Actually, I think your frame of mind matters more than the actual choice itself. You started this thread because you care, and you did your research. Then, I suggest that you vote. Choose your #1 priority and give your support to the candidate more likely to do something in that direction. For example, my criteria: vote for the candidate that is most likely to do something about climate change and environmental issues. That simple. Is s/he corrupt? They all are, otherwise they wouldn't get to the top. But they still can do good.

And if you really think it shouldn't be that way, try doing something yourself. Maybe just a petition in the neighborhood to fix some minor local issue.

This is a pretty good and short outline for the choices. I'm something in between nihilistic-cynical and pure soul (although if I were really pure soul I'd probably put effort into voting third party where I live). I see why people follow the good citizen outlook, but I don't think I would. As for the fundamentalist choice... probably not a good idea and you'd probably not feel good about it in the long run.

I choose to not vote and that's my choice which makes me feel least conflicted. Maybe I am selfish, or a horrible citizen, but I'd rather be called selfish and a horrible citizen than potentially vote someone that I don't like at all, or don't trust (and I cannot trust any politicians).

Anyway, enough about me. It's your decision, and I agree with those who are saying that you should make the choice that gives you the best peace of mind. I also agree with those who say you have the choice not to vote. It is true. Also, you can do things for your community outside of voting, and it could probably help more than simply wasting a vote.
 

Tellenbach

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When I vote for a candidate, I'm not just voting for the person (unless we're talking primaries), I'm voting for the party's platform. As a libertarian, I know it's highly unlikely that we'll ever see a libertarian get elected because the establishment in both parties are selfish and corrupt, but in the USA, one party is significantly more corrupt than the other. It's really that simple; I'm sick of seeing stupid politicians waste tax payer dollars by the trillions and not pay any price for it. When Dems are in power, you can expect higher taxes and regulations, less productivity which translates into fewer jobs, higher crime, higher poverty, and a lowering of living standards. We saw this with Obama and we're going to see it again with Biden. Oh joy.
 
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