Abstract

A familiar debate in first-past-the-post democracies is whether ideologically disenfranchised voters should cast their vote for minor party candidates. We argue that voting for minor party candidates will sometimes be the best strategic option for voters with non-mainstream ideologies. Major parties, as rational agents, will be ideologically responsive to genuine threats of defection. By voting for a minor party, voters can simultaneously punish major parties for unfairly “bargaining” with their voting bloc and also signal their ideological reasons for defecting.

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