Sept 18 2016
There is one gloomy side effect to seeing Trump this low in the polls, less than twenty days before Election Day. Hillary Clinton, by low estimates, has an 80% chance of victory in the contest, and over a 95% chance in the higher ones. If I were a Trump supporter or even a Republican who felt stuck with a lousy choice for President but was nonetheless party faithful, I would be very determined to get my vote out there, whether by early voting or going to my local polling place on November 8th.
However, if I were supporting Hillary Clinton I can imagine it being far easier to kick back and get complacent; complacent to the point of forgetting to vote.
In a democracy the right to vote is a central and cherished one, a right that has rarely been held throughout history, and a right still denied many citizens of various nations in the world today. We are wont to take it for granted when our nation goes well, to dismiss its value when we are frustrated with government, or otherwise question the value of a single vote, all of which is after all not only understandable, but even healthy when a democracy is functioning rigorously. Such attitudes beg the question if an individual comes to feel that despondent, why doesn’t she try her hand at some real direct participation? There’s plenty of work needing to be done to make our nation and the whole world a better place.
However, no matter what shape a better government and a better society take in one’s mind, that goal is always served by voting. Even if there is not single candidate that one likes out there, he had better vote for the one that is closest to his way of thought and remind himself that he is stuck with the candidates he has partly because he was not advocating for the issues he believes in previously, and that the time between now and the next election will give him the opportunity to do just that. Democracy works great under large voter turnouts and energetic advocating in the affairs of community and state. Every vote counts, and not only that, your vote counts in a big way. Usually we do not even notice this but we should pause and take a deep breath when we consider that the presidential election of 2000 was determined on the votes, out of the whole nation, of a mere 537 votes, representing just .0000017 percent of the nation’s population. Your vote counts; it has shaped his country and has, I would argue passionately, made it a great one despite our mistakes as a people and a nation. I would ask anyone to imagine what sort of situation we would be without our right to vote. Finally, if our government is flawed, it is because we are flawed, and it is up to us to fix it.
It is heartbreaking when otherwise generous and intelligent people stay home on Election Day, effectively throwing away their ballot and their voice of power in our nation into dust. The irrevocable waste of forfeiting a human voice through the ballot box does not need further illustration. Tragically, the privilege remains but a dream for many our global citizens. If only our absentees could give their vote to those in lands of voter disenfranchisement so that they might not be squandered.
Apathy is one reason that people do not go out and vote but I fear that in this election it will be giddiness that keeps many people home. Should Clinton’s complete dominance in the polls continue, and I believe it will, It might happen that a good number of people will excuse themselves from the ‘hassle’ of voting- seriously, more than one might think. In fact, enough people could stay home to influence the election in Donald Trump’s favor. I estimate, without any real evidence to back me up, that true Trump supporters- people who identify almost solely with Trump and are indifferent to the Republican party, ideologues nouvea, the Trumpsters- to be between 15 and 20% of the voting block. These are people who ‘drank the kool-aide’ as they say and will not be swayed. Altogether, including the Trumpsters, come those Republicans who will also vote for Trump, and they make up about 40 to 43% of the vote as of this writing. That number is staggeringly good for Trump if voters complacent on a Clinton victory stay home in large numbers. There are also the Libertarian and Green voters (we must support their right to run and receive votes- that is what good democracy is all about) and that stubborn group of frankly obnoxious people who will not vote or vote for Trump because they despise Clinton with a venom I have never heard or seen for another politician in my whole life, not even Nixon (yes, I remember that). I’ve done my homework on the Clintons and they should do theirs. Sitting out the election like a bunch of drama queens only reinforces an image of Americans so selfish that even though starving they won’t take bread because they hate the baker.
That is a topic for another discussion. What I would like to emphasize is that if you do nothing else this year, at the very least get yourself out and vote this November 8th, 2016. It’s the election of a lifetime, no kidding!
Postscript May 2019 It is treasonous how we were lied to. I lost all hope and faith in anything the media says after this fiasco. Now I listen to the candidates with no filters between. Bernie Sanders is America’s best candidate by far for 2020. I won’t even begin to predict another election in this crooked system of government, but I will say this. We have a new platform on the streets of this country and it is hitting Washington and it will continue until we see some real reform. I still believe in the vote- locally. If we can’t topple the executive branch our way, we can legislate our a better future. These are, by all accounts, dark times. But we will never give up.