No Vote is Wasted [Part Two]

Are there legitimate arguments to make that voting is a waste of time? I’m willing to hear you out, but I must respectfully disagree. When I was young(er) I thought my vote did not matter. I was also a Republican. A lot has changed since then.

Remember, remember the 7th of November.

Your vote is not statistically insignificant, and it does matter to the outcome of the election.

In November 2000, after a long and difficult campaign, the future of the United States of America was decided by a difference of 537 votes in a single county in Florida. Those 537 votes were enough to convince Republican Governor Jeb Bush to uphold his Secretary of State’s (also, his girlfriend) decision to suspend the ballot recount. The election was called in favor of his brother, and the entire world was set on a new path.

President Bill Clinton left the Bush administration a comprehensive dossier and strategy for dealing with al-Qaeda. When it left office it was confident that its successor would keep up the good work. Instead, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice dismantled Clinton’s counter-terrorism intelligence units and shifted America’s focus toward Iraq, which was NEVER a threat to national security.

After nine months of ignoring repeated warnings from the FBI, CIA, and NSA the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001. It will likely forever remain the single-greatest failure of any military/intelligence chain of command in the history of modern civilization.

Lots of mistakes all around, but the buck stops at the Oval Office – Unless you’re Fox News, in which case 9/11 was Clinton’s fault and Bush never allowed a terrorist attack

It is inconceivable that hypothetical-President Gore would have allowed such staggering oversight. He would not have set about tearing down the Clinton administration that he had invested in and helped build.

How many people chose not to vote in November 2000 because “their vote doesn’t even matter”? Probably a hell of a lot more than 537, right? Even if you don’t like either major candidate, is it really possible to think that both are equally unqualified?

Then-Governor George W. Bush was talking about Iraq on the campaign trail in 1998 and 1999. He said that Iraq was the greatest supporter of terror in the world – even though none of the world’s intelligence communities agreed with that assessment. He ignored threats from al-Qaeda that were REAL and didn’t jump back into the counter-terror initiative until it was too late. He then used the attacks as an excuse to invade Iraq to settle a grudge and appease the military-industrial complex (the only sector of the economy that always profits from warfare).

Does this sound familiar? If you have been near a television, radio, or computer at any point in the last few years it should sound a lot like the current Republican presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney.

George Bush said he did not care about bin Laden’s whereabouts just months after 9/11. Mitt Romney said that President Obama was naïve for his willingness to move heaven and earth to find and kill the greatest terrorist threat in human history.

George Bush came into office talking about a war with Iraq that had no justification based on weapons of mass destruction that did not exist and were not being built. Romney talks about Iran like they are the ones with more than 8,000 nuclear weapons ready to launch a moment’s notice. In fact, Iran has no strike capability of any fashion against the United States.

Bush made false and unsubstantiated claims that Iraq had ties to al-Qaeda pre-9/11 and alluded to direct involvement by the Hussein regime. Romney talks about Iran being a global sponsor of terror and speaks of a vast global network ready to pounce on American weakness abroad.

He talks about Iran being the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East. He asks Condoleezza Rice for advice on geostrategic policy.

Mr. Romney sees a Defense Department pleading to have its bloated budget hemmed to size and promises a $2 trillion expansion of defense spending over the next decade.

Sound familiar? Does it sound like George W. Bush? It should!

Essentially, Mitt Romney’s entire policy staff is drawn from the Bush administration. The only difference between the two men regarding their stance on security in the Middle East is a typo: Ira-Q or Ira-N.

Neither has any experience in the region. Neither studied the people, the languages, the cultures. Neither collected any practical experience in foreign policy either academically or first-hand during their entire lives.

Do you think there are 537 Floridians out there who chose not to vote in November 2000 only to find themselves irate with the Bush administration’s amazingly destructive and fiscally ruinous foreign policy?

Do you want to watch thousands of soldiers die in the Middle East for nothing all over again?

President Barack Obama is far from perfect. I dream of a day when I can vote for the Green Party without worry that I might be one of those 537 people who cost 1 million Iraqi and Afghan civilians their lives.

Unfortunately, Mitt Romney is holding a (hypothetical) gun to my head. I am not too proud to vote for someone with whom I disagree. President Obama and I agree on one thing: he’s an incomparably better option than Mitt Romney.

[Enjoy Part One]


5 thoughts on “No Vote is Wasted [Part Two]

  1. “Are their legitimate arguments to make that voting is a waste of time?”
    It’s not a waste of time, but I believe that choosing neither candidate – or casting an empty ballot – is just as much a contribution as voting for one, because it’s representing your indifference towards all of them. It signals that you are not satisfied with the leadership in the country – which, I think, is a far greater cry than selecting a candidate.

    “Your vote is not statistically insignificant and it does matter to the outcome of the election”
    Can you expand on this statement? The second part doesn’t necessarily derive from the first part. Just because your vote matters doesn’t make it statistically significant. From what I gather, the first part of that statement might be incorrect but the second part seems correct. Firstly, you have to provide a level of statistical significance you are assuming. By this I mean the % chance that your vote and the outcome of the election are correlated. If you assume a 5% level of significance, it means that if your vote and the outcome of the election were the same, then there’s at most a 5% chance it was coincidence. Your claim that our vote is statistically significant implies that, assuming a 5% level of significance, if your chosen candidate wins, there’s a 95% chance that your vote affected the outcome. Concluding this requires a mass study of many elections, which I didn’t see any references to. So, while I’m not refuting the claim that our vote is statistically significant, I don’t think it’s a valid claim unless you have the statistics to back it up.

    “Even if you don’t like either major candidate, is it really possible to think that both are equally unqualified?”
    This goes back to my first point that voting is not always about picking the lesser of two evils, it can also be about rejecting the evils altogether and making the point that we need better leadership. Let’s say you put them in a point system, and let’s say your qualification for a president is 75/100 points. If neither candidate scores 75, to be consistent with the dogma that a president SHOULD be qualified enough, picking neither is the more correct one, in terms of consistency. In a realistic scenario, this translates to picking the one with the higher number of points, BUT that’s no longer consistent with the ideology that a president should have enough points to be elected into office. If your qualification criteria is, pick the candidate with the highest amount of points, or picking the person who is MOST suited to run the country, then yes, it is consistent. But that’s just perpetuating the belief that we are okay with the shitty candidates, and instead of striving for better candidates, we will just pick the better out of the two. Of course, there are a lot more immediate issues than making a point about the quality of our leaders, such as how the next 4 years will unravel. So yes, in a realistic sense, one SHOULD vote for the lesser evil one, but many people also strive to cause a change rather than accept what’s being handed to them – and these people are necessary because they are the ones that give momentum to the ideal of a good leader. Otherwise if we all just chose the better of two evils, future candidate wouldn’t have much more to prove other than that he or she is better than the next guy (or gal) – and to me, that’s not how a country should be led. So in summary, I think there should be a good balance of blank votes and the “lesser of two evils” votes – to keep the balance between the search for the ideal candidate and the immediate need to put someone in charge of the country.

    Although, I have to agree that in this election, in terms of things that matter to me personally, Obama is clearly the obvious choice – and I’m sure many people disagree since their priorities are different. Romney is just a sloppy person and comes off extremely desperate. God only know how badly he will handle foreign relations. At least Obama is articulate enough that at least he comes off as intelligent. But that is a separate discussion altogether.

    • My use of the term statistically significant was perhaps not mathematically sound in its application. But I went on to point out that just 537 votes separated the United States from President Bush and President Gore. I then went on to describe how that tiny, statistically insignificant fraction of a fraction, may have changed the world.

      • Understood. That is a crazy close call. I hope you know that I’m just playing devil’s advocate and disagreeing with you just for the sake of argument and not because I legitimately disagree with your views.

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