The standard argument against voting for third parties is that “You’re throwing your vote away.”  There’s no point voting for someone who can’t win.

Now consider how this applies to Singapore, where even second parties have no real prospect of winning.  Suppose a Singaporean says he’s voting for the Workers’ Party.  Isn’t it just as valid (or invalid) to tell him that “You’re throwing your vote away,” as it is to say the same to an American who says he’s voting for the Libertarian Party?

Valid or not, the “Why vote for a party that can’t win?” argument is probably an important reason why the opposition does so poorly in Singapore.  The upshot is that even in democracy, there may be equilibrium where one party gets on top, voters don’t bother with rival parties because they don’t think they can win, and this resignation in turn becomes self-fulfilling.  Hmm.

P.S. When you read what the Workers’ Party has to say about organ trading, you too may be delighted that their party is a joke.