Negative campaigning and politics works.
It can make you think that one candidate is equivalently as bad as the other or the entire system is broken and your vote is meaningless. So you get frustrated, sit at home, and let the chips fall where they may.
That is what they want. And that is why hundreds of millions of dollars are spent and almost as many surrogate fabrications are encouraged and perpetuated by the media.
With hundreds of vitally important challenges and issues at play, no candidate has ever been or will ever be flawless, faultless, scandal-free, and perfect in the eyes of any eligible voter.
So what you have to ask yourself is:
- What are the candidates actual nuts and bolts solutions to the challenges we face?
- Who is more realistically going to be able to enact their plans and get positive results? (or at least enact the least damaging plans)
When you put the fear-mongering and hateful rhetoric aside and strictly look at the policies, ideas, and experiences, the choices in this election are abundantly clear. I’m not foolish or partisan enough to list them here, but in my adult life I cannot remember a more stark contrast.
This is an election where everyone needs to put race, gender, religion, and even party affiliation preferences aside and focus strictly on the issues and consequences of their vote. Even if you feel like you’re voting against a candidate more than voting for one, you’re still making a statement and impacting history.
With what is at stake, it is grossly negligent to sit this one out or protest vote (the same effect as sitting it out). In 2012, only around 55% of Americans of voting age turned out to vote. And only about 46% of millennials voted in 2012, the lowest of any generation by far. As shown in the graph to the right, the silent generation > boomer > gen X > millennial in terms of percentage of respective age group that voted. Older generations often end up deciding the fate of the younger generations for decades to come. And if you think it doesn’t matter, just look at what happened with the Brexit vote, where millennials thought Brexit had no chance of passing, sat it out or protest voted, and woke up the next morning begging for a re-vote because angry older generations decided their fate for the decades to come.
It is easy to get discouraged, particularly when truth and fact have seemingly been completely abandoned and when the 24-hour news cycle needs something, anything to focus on and profit from (the closer a race is, the more they profit).
Just remember, a vote not cast tomorrow, is a vote for the side that most effectively negatively campaigned for you to sit this one out because they knew they couldn’t win on ideas, policies, and merits alone. But it is you who are responsible for your response and the consequences over the next 4-8 years. And there is too much at stake to let them win.
Find out where to vote on Google. Then do it!