I Have Officially Decided Not to Vote, and I Am Not Ashamed

Bernie Sanders showed us that we should not be afraid to vote with our consciences. So I am voting for the only palatable option left in 2016: Nobody.

Just about two months ago now, I wrote my final analysis on our two primary choices for President of the United States. As we enter the final week of the presidential campaign, those who are either undecided or open to be swayed to the other side have just about run out of time to make a commitment. And making such a commitment certainly hasn’t been easy. We’ve learned more about Donald Trump’s character than most of us ever wanted to, and even now, the FBI has mucked up the Clinton campaign as apparently, even more E-mails have been discovered in conjunction with the investigation of Anthony Weiner’s penchant for pedophilia. Chloe Angyal summed it up pretty nicely earlier:

So basically, whether we vote for Trump or for Clinton, we’re voting for some type of sex scandal to usher in the next administration. And this is on top of all of the other truly major issues I have outlined previously. To say that these are the most distasteful candidates I have ever come across in 20 years of voting eligibility would be to give far too much credit to both of them.

As many of you know, I was a staunch supporter of Bernie Sanders when he was running. Even though I knew realistically that he was probably never going to be able to overcome the anointing of Hillary Clinton as the darling of the Democratic Party, I held out some degree of hope as he continued either winning or coming quite close to Hillary’s support in a number of primary states. But I knew in my heart that it was likely just a matter of time before he had to drop out, though I was happy that he stayed in it for as long as he did. In actuality, Bernie was the only true alternative we had to either the Republicans or to extending the legacy of Bill Clinton. No, Hillary is not Bill, but the fact remains that we may be creating a Clinton lineage in the Oval Office. And let’s face it: With Gary Johnson’s gaffes concerning Aleppo and not even being able to name a foreign leader, he is a joke as a presidential candidate. And Jill Stein is barely even on the radar, even though my Twitter feed might try to convince people otherwise.

But the one thing that Bernie Sanders taught us through his civility, his determination, and his desire to fight back against establishment politics is that we cannot be afraid to vote with our consciences, for our principles, and against anyone who doesn’t share those principles.

When Voting for Nobody Is the Only Option Worth Voting for

To that end, my first thought throughout the entire mainstream election season has been to write in Bernie Sanders, even knowing that there is no way this will actually win him the presidency. But in recent weeks, I have wrestled with the notion of whether writing in Bernie, or simply not voting at all, would send the more powerful message concerning my loathing of both major candidates this year.

To be clear, there is literally zero chance of me voting for Donald Trump. I will say that, after the second presidential debate and the sexual assault revelations against Trump, a small part of me almost decided to vote for Hillary, just to contain the global threat that is Donald Trump. But when I think about what she will likely do to Palestine, to expand the United States’ war footing, her support of fracking, and her hypocrosies concerning Wall Street versus Main Street, I literally cannot make myself support her in any capacity. As I said in the article I linked to at the beginning: Trump and Hillary will both be disasters for America, just in different ways. And this is why I cannot find a way to support Hillary Clinton. I do not trust her, and I will never trust her. Do I want to believe she will be the kind of president that we need? Of course I do. But can I believe this? The answer is an emphatic, “No.”

I know that no matter who wins next Tuesday, this country is in for punishment like it hasn’t experienced in a relative eternity. We do not have any good choices. None. And no choice can even be considered a “lesser of evils” between whom America is used to selecting. All of our choices are potentially lethal to the well-being of America. And this is why I have decided that the only honorable choice I can make this year is to simply not make a choice at all.

I refuse to cast a vote for misogyny, for racism, for someone whose son slays animals for amusement, who is accused now of multiple sexual assaults. I refuse to vote for a sexual predator. I also refuse to vote for a war-monger, someone who changes her position on literally every major issue, whose team tries to rig primaries, someone who supports fracking at the cost of our planet, and someone who, to me, does not care about people like me. Regardless of what she says at campaign rallies, the reality is that some of the most anti-worker corporations and banks in this country have been the ones to bankroll her campaign. And such actions speak much louder than words. In fact, she has barely even had to touch actual issues since transitioning from primary to general election mode. The primary argument for Hillary Clinton is that she is not Donald Trump. I’m sorry, but for me, that’s not good enough.

I want a president who is passionate about eliminating big money from politics, tackling climate change, cutting the big banks down to size so they can’t run roughshod over the American people, transitioning to clean energy, eliminating college debts, and making the rich finally start paying their fair share to keep this nation alive. I want someone with the passion of Bernie Sanders, someone who actually does care about America, who is consistent at least the majority of the time, and who has tried to bring unity to the American people. I don’t see anything like this in the four remaining contenders who will be on the ballot on November 8th. I see nothing in any of our choices that I could ever support.

The age-old argument against those who do not cast a vote is always, “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.” I take strong offense to this sentiment. I didn’t used to. In fact, ever since I turned 18, I had subscribed to the same doctrine, and I always encouraged people to vote. When I voted, I wore proudly to work that little sticker which said, “I voted!” For me, it was a badge of honor, a way to show my patriotism.

But the last couple of election cycles — and this one in particular — have shown me just how nasty and filthy our election system truly is. I was familiar with gutter politics when I was a teenager back in the Bill Clinton days, but the depravity to which this campaign has sunk frightens me to the point where I feel our country’s very soul is about to be lost. What Donald Trump and his supporters are demonstrating is that this election is not only a referendum on the direction we are heading, but it is also a referendum on every single American value, on everything our nation has worked to achieve over the course of now two-and-a-half centuries. But in each election since my 18th birthday, I have always been able to find a way to support at least one candidate for president. The fact that I can find nothing to like about the current batch of applicants is a testament to just how dirty I think each and every one of them is.

A friend of mine on Twitter recently made me wish that, on each and every ballot, there was an option to state on the record that I do not support any of our candidates. I would love to formally have a “No confidence in any candidate” option on our ballots; I would actively vote for this if it existed. But since it does not, the only way I can effectively cast a vote of “no confidence” is to refuse to vote for anyone. To vote for any of our choices would be to say to that candidate that there is at least something I like about him or her. But there is nothing that I like about any one of our candidates. I cannot even remotely get on board with the Hillocrats after everything I have dug up in my own research about her. It’s still so sickening to me that so many of Hillary’s supporters are blind to her own corruption and just expect people like me to fall in line. It is never going to happen! I will never call Hillary Clinton “Madame President,” even if she does win. And there is every indication that Donald Trump is still in this race and may still pull it out next week. This is how much of a problem Hillary Clinton is, but the majority of her supporters, and the Democratic Party, still fail to recognize it!

So no more. Unless something truly compelling happens to come up within these next eight days, I am completely, 100% done with this election and its candidates. This will be the first time in my adult life that I have sat out on a presidential election, but this time, it is the only moral choice I can make. If I vote for any of our candidates this time, I will be throwing away my morality. I cannot do it. I will not do it. Next Tuesday, when a large chunk of America is in the voting both agonizing over which way to bring the hammer down on the country, I will be abstaining with a clear conscience. I refuse to sanction the destruction of America by voting for any of these candidates. And that is a vote I can cast proudly.