10 Reasons I’ll Be Backing a Losing Cause or Not Voting at all in November’s Presidential Election
This is the much condensed version of a longer piece I finished the week before the Republican Convention. I am even more convinced of it’s truthfulness now. If you like my reasoning, I encourage you to tackle the more in depth version as well. More importantly, though, I would encourage you to begin preparing (internally, in substance, in dialog, in love, in faith and more) for the days after the election. Join me, or someone else with whom you can find common ground, in a conversation that might help bring our country back together.
- Donald Trump is a flawed candidate. He is a misogynistic, racist, flawed businessman, Washington-outsider-turned-politician, authoritarian who eschews political correctness and who has shown again, and again and again, and again (ad naseum) that he lacks the depth to perform presidential duties, and who is probably just as surprised as anyone else that he made it this far in the election. Trump has, ironically, run his campaign as a populist outsider in a party that has grown weary of the current populist outsider. Trump admits to being a chameleon. He has been both a Democrat and Republican throughout his lifetime, although I am uncertain whether he has donned those labels out of conviction or convenience. Donald Trump currently identifies himself as a Republican.
- Hillary Clinton is a flawed candidate. She is a lying, manipulative, corrupt, felon, who believes she is the heir to the presidential throne, and who will say or do anything to get elected. Clinton has run her campaign while trying to avoid her record of scandal after scandal, and lie after lie after lie after lie in a country where average citizens are jailed for perjury or other minor crimes.
- I am no longer sure what it means to be a Republican or Democrat or if we even have respect for the political process and the positions of power we vote for. I am beginning to wonder if labels are valid anymore to the extent they accurately identify the people and objects before us, or if such labels do more harm than good as they divide us into little groups. (Side note— If I must use a label to identify myself, (or maybe just so the readership can divide me into a little group)I am a conservative-minded, libertarian-minded individual who has consistently voted Republican because such candidates (at least I believed so in the past) most closely resembled my political and social philosophy. I have also in the past believed that the two-party system was the best system for our political process because to believe otherwise would be throwing away my vote.)
- I am beginning to believe that I have in the past thrown away my vote. I have never voted “for” someone in a presidential election. Instead, I have consistently voted against the other candidate. My ideal candidate has never survived the primary process and I have always settled in November for whomever the Republicans nominated. I have always voted against the Democrat Party or against what I felt was the greater of two evils. I blame the two-party system for the cunning deception that voting “against” what I perceived to be the greater evil was somehow an affirmative vote for something else. What a lie! Consolidating power in only two parties has created an us versus them mentality ( along with chants of “those evil Democrats” or “those damned Republicans”) and made enemies of us all.
- For the 2016 presidential election, I cannot decide who to vote against for the same reason I cannot determine who I should vote for. There are Republicans who tell me that I am overreacting. They try to persuade me and people like me to fall in line and support Donald Trump. Their reasons are valid, but simplistic and a little myopic: because he is the Republican nominee, because he is “better than Hillary,” and because we cannot lose the presidency again, especially because of everything that has happened the past 8 years. On the other hand, there are Democrats (and even some Republicans) who tell me that Donald Trump is dangerous and possibly a little unhinged, and I, therefore, must favor Hillary because Trump is so bad. I want to believe that politics is about more than just winning or which party has control of the presidency and the congress. I want to believe that candidates can and should be able to be truthful about their record. I want candidates who will stand by their record. I want candidates to affirmatively rally voters to their cause without demonizing their opponent in a last ditch effort to muddy the waters and pull off the election. But perhaps I am too naive. And so it saddens me that after eight years of an Obama presidency, we are at each other’s throats more than ever: Republicans are so hungry for a win in November, they are using little more than the fear of a Hillary presidency to unite around Donald Trump; the Democrats for their part are so hungry to remain in power (and possibly gain more legislative power), they are using little more than the fear of a Donald Trump presidency to unite around Hillary Clinton.
- I am not motivated by fear. I refuse to be intimidated by political tactics.
- The election process has turned into a circus. I only like circuses with elephants and trapeze artists and clowns on unicycles. I have yet to see elephants, trapeze artists , or unicycles, but I have noticed a good many clowns lately.
- I have come to believe more and more that my vote is a sacred responsibility — even if it doesn’t matter in the election per se because I don’t live in a swing state (that is of course unless Texas becomes a swing state, which is entirely possible given the unpredictable nature of the election thus far), or even if I know full well walking into the ballot box that the person I will cast a vote for has zero chance of winning. And so I will be going to the ballot box in November to vote — even if it is only for the down-ticket elections. I don’t know how or if I am going to vote in the presidential election (obviously not for Trump or Hillary), but if I do, I am going to vote my conscience and support whoever is closest to my political and social philosophy.
- I am still on the fence about voting for Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin, or even researching and choosing from the list of nearly 1800 candidates who have filed the required paperwork to be on the presidential ballot in a handful of states. I have also considered writing in Ted Cruz’s name, joining my liberal friends in backing Jill Stein, or joining Erick Erickson and writing in Peyton Manning. If I am honest, I have to admit that there is virtually zero chance of any of these options saving us from a Trump or Hillary presidency.
- If I am honest, I also have to admit that nothing Washington, D.C. does from here on out can save us from the course we are on. We are a ship at sea sailing towards an impending storm. Even with all hands on deck and a gutsy and dutiful captain at the helm, there is no way to avoid our future fate. Long gone are the days where a Lincoln or a Coolidge could steady the ship and right our course for us. It comes to us as citizens of this great nation to do the heavy lifting from here on out. The time has come to stop dividing ourselves or allowing ourselves to be divided into little groups. The time has come to build bridges and stand on common ground (or as much as possible) against policies that threaten our freedom. We are the ones who must carry our ideals and principles through the storm. And while we must enter the storm, and be tempest tossed on the waters of the great deep, we need not perish.
At the end of the day on November 8th my vote is going to sit in a dark box or form an infinitesimal part of a digital list and never come to light or even matter in the grand scheme of things to anyone else but me. But however the chips fall, I’ll be at peace with my decision and I’m okay with that.