Riddle of Popular Vote

One of the misleading buzzword which often pops up near elections is the ‘popular vote’. How do we define or measure “popular vote?”

One could probably apply a certain criteria to “popular vote” here as one do to the other things, you might not like or agree with policies, etc…But all of these people can look at an issue, make a reasonably sound decision and articulate why. And the more people tilt towards that decision, the more we say it’s a ‘popular vote’. Does that count as popular vote? How popular is popular enough?

More often than not, the popular vote is what we assume. It’s a unique illusion, which blinds people until the results of elections get announced. Just as it happened to many of our so-called political leaders in the past. Even if the elections are rigged, popular vote shows off. Like it did in the 1977, when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto tried to alter the popular vote taken by PNA movement, by stuffing the ballots and by arresting the opposition candidates. But he then reached to gallows after falsely winning those elections and nobody moved to streets for him. Though elections of 77 showed that he was all in all.

Since people disagree about what “popular” is (take these elections as an example) it seems like you could have two people making decisions that are fundamentally opposed and having their respective camps nodding and pointing to both as an example of “popular vote.”

Popular vote is just as nebulous a concept as our voters and for that matter our candidates for the power and pelf. You could easily say that you only need enough popular votes to follow the advice of people who are smarter or who have more clout than you do.

When Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, and Chaudhry Shujaat all clamoring loud that they have the popular vote, I am still at loss as how do you measure popular vote? How can you know which candidate has the popular vote? That is the question, I am worrying about on the second day of Eid, while eating Kebabs of my late Bakra.


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