A question came up in my comment section that deserves to be addressed in full. That question: Why should people vote if they don’t care for either candidate?
This is actually a very interesting point philosophically. It is also one that requires a rather long explanation.
First, regarding whether or not one can disapprove of all potential candidates.
It is possible to be in such disagreement with the Democrats and Republicans that you choose neither, but every state has multiple candidates on the ballot. Furthermore, thanks to the ability to write-in, there are likely 150 million Americans who meet the constitutional requirements for the presidency. If you know whom you prefer, vote for that person, plain and simple.
Regardless of who you vote for only one person can win. Casting a ballot for the Libertarians because you just hate the Republicans to the core is not a waste. Either party’s candidate might lose or win with or without your vote.
Second, regarding your single, statistically meaningless vote.
Even if you don’t want your statistically meaningless presidential vote to “dirty” the voting pool, there are still ballot issues that you might care to vote for. In addition, every year there are a dozen candidates ranging from the US Senate and House, to the state legislature, to the county clerk. All deserve your attention on Election Day.
Have you ever wondered how the United States Congress can have a favorability rating of 10 percent but it can have an incumbency return rate of 90 percent? The first reason is that everyone loves their guy, while assuming it is everyone else who fails them. The second is that the vast majority of the eligible population simply does not vote on their congressional representative.
If you opt not to vote simply because you don’t care about the presidency you will also have no say on any other election issues. You will not have a voice regarding whether or not your state will ban same-sex marriage, or build a casino over a public park. Will you vote for a tax hike to build a stadium for a billionaire sports tycoon, or raise taxes to fund senior citizen services?
You will not have a say on who sits in Congress, who sits in the State House, or who runs the state election system. Just think about what Ohio Secretary of State John Husted is doing to his home voters. He is using the government to suppress their inalienable right to vote. In 2014 his spot is up for re-election. How many people will remember to vote in the 2014 midterm?
By passing on the presidential election you are actually passing on the entire election. These “down ballot issues” actually make your vote thousands of times more valuable. Over 100 million votes will be cast between Obama and Romney, but your state rep might only get 10,000. You have a voice there.
Third, regarding leveling the playing field on electoral issues.
Schools in the United States go through cycles of being funded properly or being underfunded. Why? Seniors. Seniors vote and young people don’t. When seniors show up to the polls they vote YES on Issue A to raise taxes to pay for retirement homes/services and they vote NO on Issue B to pay a school levy to buy new textbooks and computers or pay for after school programs and increase teacher salaries. This is not the case with every senior, nor would there be anything wrong with it if it were the case. This is just an example based on typical voting trends.
Thousands, tens of thousands, of students in your municipality may be forced to go without for years or even decades largely because the elderly make time to vote and younger people do not. Young voters are more likely to be “like just totally against the system, man”.
This isn’t a tirade against the elderly; they deserve their retirement homes. School children just deserve public services too. There is a reason that the Issue As of the world pass a vast majority of the time and the Issue Bs rarely succeed. It is because the voting population that is most likely to agree to pay a little extra to help kids is also the population most likely to abstain from the entire process.
[take a breath and continue reading in Part Two]