Everyone will be bugging you to vote today, and of course you should — your vote is valuable. That’s why the politicians spend so much money trying to buy it.
But it’s also important to vote wisely. Don’t waste it.
Back in 1980 when I was a young college student, full of dreams, I worked for the John Anderson for President campaign.
Never heard of him, have you? He ran as an independent against Carter and Reagan. Many liberals were really upset with Carter and so we drifted toward Anderson who, at one point early in the campaign, was polling about even with his two opponents. The campaign paid me to travel to Atlanta and some other places to help collect signatures to get him on the ballot, and I staffed the local Anderson office in Richmond, Virginia and helped to run fundraisers and get-out-the-vote rallies.
And then Reagan got elected. Which was the start of the downfall of America. It’s why we are in the terrible shape we are in now.
After that, I vowed never to waste my vote again. It may seem cynical to some of my more idealistic friends, but I consider it pragmatism.
Look, the system is broken, yes. But you know that, with a few exceptions, one of the major parties will win. If it’s down to the wire and the Democrat and the Republican are very close, don’t go wasting your vote on the Green party guy who is better than either of the other two. You’re going to end up with one of those two evils at the top, so choose the lesser of the two.
They’re not “all the same”. There is a vast difference between the Democratic party and the Republican party. Yes, the Democrats may not be where we want them to be ideologically, but helping to elect a Republican by voting for a third party won’t change that. We need to work within the party to make sure they discuss the issues we think are important, and we need to vote in every primary to make sure we get good candidates who share our goals.
There will be elections all over the country where a third party candidate drains votes from one of the leading candidates, causing the election of someone a majority of the electorate really doesn’t want at all. Sometimes this third party candidate will hurt the Republicans, and sometimes it will hurt the Democrats.
Think before you vote. “Sending a message” is fine, but if your message causes the election of a candidate you disagree with 100% of the time (as opposed to the one you disagree with only 50% of the time), you’re doing more harm than good.