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Vote For The Candidate You Want

I post often enough about my philosophy on voting that I should create a category for it. Not sure what I’d call the category, though. What combines my thoughts on Mass’s one party rule, the press, none of the above, and leaving a ballot blank? In my mind, all of these concepts are linked. They’re all symptoms or partial solutions for problems I see in our political culture.

From the New York Time’s political writer/blogger Matt Bai, writing about this “distinct political culture that we in the media have wrought:”

Ten years of endless blather about the game of politics on cable TV have trained the most engaged American voters to handicap candidates rather than hear them, to pontificate about who might win rather than deciding whom they actually want to win. Voters seem to approach politics increasingly as pundits, and they look to poll numbers to tell them who’s electable and who isn’t, never stopping to realize that they are the ones who get to decide.

He’s absolutely right. How often do you find yourself talking about who you think is going to win, rather than who you want to win?

As a town, as a state, and as a country we’re straitjacketed by our self-imposed limitations. We don’t have to vote for these people when we find them lacking. We can vote for the ones that we want. When we find the courage to do this we will finally get what we want, rather than settle for what we got.

My hope is that by talking it about it, people will become more introspective while making choices in the ballot booth. When you realize your own biases it makes it easier to confront and remove them from the decision making process. I also hope if I noodle around the issue long enough, I’ll find a more powerful tool to solve the problem.


Comment from Josh
Time: December 28, 2007, 4:02 pm

I’m not sure it’s the pundit culture as much as it’s the winner-take-all presidential elections we have. You’re free to choose whoever you want, but voting for a third-party candidate is a throwaway, because they have no chance without Democratic or Republican organization. Worse, you actually might hurt the chances of a major party candidate whose politics are close to your own. The best example is Ross Perot tipping the balance for Mr. Clinton in 1992.

So the conventional wisdom has become picking the least objectionable person you think can win, rather than voting for your personal best match.

A parlimentary system is much more democratic than our two-party republic. Every four years I think about it. 🙂