Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Throwing Away My Vote?

Hubby and I discussed this at some length during the last presidential election. We were living in a state that always swings the electoral college one way. There really isn't even a point in holding an election there, because everybody knows Utah will go republican. It's beyond frustrating actually. The electoral college is also frustrating to me...but I am not even going to go into all that right now.
What I do want to address is the idea that someone can 'throw away their vote' by voting for the little guy.
Well, here are my thoughts:
I despise the two-party system. Too many Americans think they have to vote for one of the parties because nobody else has a chance. So long as they keep thinking that way, they are right. Additionally, the two-party system has allowed voters to become lazy--many do not even look at the candidates nor their platforms, they just vote by the party that they think they agree with more. Or, at least, the party they disagree with least. Not all candidates are exactly in alignment with their declared party. Many voters don't even know what the parties' official platforms are either--they just fixate on a major issue or two, such as abortion, gun rights, or health care.
Now that we're clear on the problems with the two-party system, the next question is, of course, what can we do about it? Well, we need to get a third party to break in--that seems the logical first step to having a multi-party system, or even a non-party system. If we want a third party to break in, then we're going to have to vote for that third party! Not only that, but we need to try to get many people to vote that way. Now, in a 'swing state' I can see the argument to make sure that your vote goes towards the electoral college decision. However, in a 'one party state' like Utah or Washington, then voting for a third party (like Nader, for example), is not going to affect the electoral college results. On the other hand, voting for the little guy IS making a statement, and if enough people will do it, I believe that it can be the beginning of real change in the rediculous political patterns of this country.
So, is it 'throwing away your vote' to vote for the little guy? Well, it depends what you want to accomplish. If you genuinely believe that your vote for the big guy will make a difference, then vote for him...but if you know that it won't, then why not make a statement about what you really believe?


Mae said...

Yes, you are throwing your vote away by voting for what you believe in. Because we all know that Rosa Parks wasted her time staying seated. And we're all gonna die anyway, so why even vote?!

Mae said...

On an interesting note (or scary, your choice) in a Poli Sci class I took at UW, all Poli Sci students were polled to see if they considered themselves liberal to conservative (10 being liberal, conservative being 0). Most students justed themselves to be 2-3. Then they polled students on individual issues. Most students actually rated near a 7. Granted, younger people are less likely to vote, but it's sad to think they're labeling themselves something they think is "cool" without knowing what they believe.

Mae said...

So, I got that switched. Most students thought they were more liberal than they really were. And this was at UW, the socialist republic of Seattle!

(My am I a prolific poster today! Sorry...)

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