If you’re one of those stubborn citizens of Egypt who voted for Ahmed Shafik, then congratulations, you’ve chosen Mohamed Morsi. Now that the run offs are between Shafik and Morsi, it becomes apparent that your anti-Islamist drive is leading to a near-certain victory for an Islamist. Here’s why.
The vote for Shafik is mostly a reaction to Islamists and partly support of felool. Shafik alienates Islamists, revolutionaries and those who are anti-military-anti-felool. Morsi on the other hand is a vote for Islamists, Ikhwan and some anti –military-anti-felool. In a run-off between Morsi and Shafik, revolutionaries will probably boycott; between a military felool and an Ikhwan Islamist, many will see no point in choosing. What’s more, those against the military might naively vote for Ikhwan thinking their rule better than a Mubarak-like dictatorship.
Had the run-off been Morsi and any other candidate, a great cross section would not have been alienated as such. If Morsi had faced Abol Fottouh, the Islamist vote would have been split. Also revolutionaries, liberals and all sorts were going to try and stop the Muslim Brotherhood’s power grab. If it had been Hamdeen Sabbahy, the Islamist vote wouldn’t have been split, but everyone else would have been on board to pre-empt the Ikhwan’s attempts at full dominance. Even with Moussa, some revolutionaries and anti-military voted might have voted for him as an alternative to authoritarian Ikhwanism.
Yet the vote for Shafik in a run off makes his chances weaker in the next round. Abol Fottouh’s supporters will be either vote for Morsi or boycott. Hamdeen’s supporters might not really support either candidate and a few of Moussa’s supporters will vote Shafik.
All this does not even take into account for how powerful the Muslim Brotherhood voting machine really is. With a low turnout due to disenchantment with the run-offs, the Brotherhood will mobilize most of its voting base without much opposition to drown their votes.
In the first free unfair elections, Egyptians did not try to choose what they want but what they thought was wise. Some voting for Aboul Fottouh thought Hamdeen had little chance, those voting for Hamdeen thought Khaled Ali had little chance, those voting for Moussa may have thought Hamdeen had little chance and those voting for Shafik wanted to avoid getting Morsi. Everyone catered to their own fake sense of wisdom and in the end, the compromises did not yield the intended results. If everyone had voted for their values rather than their calculations the results may have been entirely different. But these elections are not about choice, they are about fear and fear clouds our judgment and leads to such results.
The biggest losers I think are the Copts who might end up with the exact opposite of what they chose. But still under the new regime being formed, the only thing worse than being a Copt, is a being a revolutionary Copt. Because in any and all cases, with these options and any results, the two groups that will be targeted are Copts, as they have been under Mubarak and revolutionaries.
Egyptian voter, welcome to reality, you don’t choose through your vote, your vote chooses for you.