Please Think Really, Really Hard Before Saying, “I’m Not Voting, Because I Dislike Both Candidates.”

We have reached peak election-disgust after last night’s debate spectacle. I’m hearing more sighs: “Both candidates are terrible, and so I am not voting.” I understand the exhaustion, frustration, and downright sadness about this cycle. plato

But make no mistake, nothing good is accomplished by not voting based on a general disgust with the campaigns. In fact, this sort of thinking makes things worse, and will result in more awful elections. Not voting means that the actual voters are more and more radical.

I personally believe that Donald Trump is the most unqualified and dangerous candidate in generations. But, even if you disagree with me, still think very, very hard before deciding not to vote.

Here’s why:

The chance of us electing a truly crazy person (Republican or Democrat) increases exponentially the more people who decide, “I don’t like either, so I am not voting.” Winning candidates are elected to office because a majority of voters agree with what they say. That means that who the voters are matters a lot. The candidates will say what the voters want to hear. If more voters believe ridiculous things, then winning candidates are more likely to believe ridiculous things.

quote-in-reality-there-is-no-such-thing-as-not-voting-you-either-vote-by-voting-or-you-vote-david-foster-wallace-41-61-12Many decide not to vote to signify their disgust at the current nominees. But guess what, if you do not vote, that only means the next election may have even worse nominees. Because the candidates reflect the ideas of the voters–not the ideas of the non-voters. If you want your preferences to be more reflected in candidates, DO NOT take yourself out of the voting pool. 

The bottom line: 

  1. One of these two candidates will win.
  2. They have incredibly different ideas on a wide range of policy positions that will affect all of our lives.
  3. They have demonstrated very different temperaments that will determine their response to whatever unknown events the next 4 years hold.
  4. Even if you think one is 98% horrible and the other only 93% horrible, you have a slight idea of which one is better (or not as bad).  You should vote for that one.
  5. Not voting just means you are letting everyone else decide. You are not accomplishing anything positive.

Our American system works because the diverse group of us are able to collectively hobble together decent decisions in the long-run. Leaving the choice up to only the most rabid supporters on either side is disastrous.

Honestly assess each candidate on what they say, do, and propose. Go to the polls on election day and cast a vote for who you think is best (even if only barely). Then reward yourself with ice cream, give a high five to a stranger, and enjoy that amazing fact that you are alive on this tiny speck of dust in the middle of the universe… and, by the grace of god, an American.

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