On Defensive Voting

Voting for president is a positive action. It requires effort – the physical act of touching a screen, checking a box, or punching a card in the affirmative. There is no negative box to check. It is impossible to vote against a candidate; we can only vote for them.

You may choose to vote strategically by holding your nose and voting for the lesser of two bad choices, and this may accomplish some objective in the short term. But in the long run, negative voting promotes only negative outcomes. Over time, a country that affirms bad candidates as a defense against bad candidates will only get bad elected officials.

Since no candidate is perfect, every vote is to some degree a compromise; to vote for an imperfect candidate or compromised platform is to acknowledge reality. But to cast a vote for someone that you believe will be genuinely detrimental to the foundations of this country is to sell your soul.

Voting is not only a time for picking a winner and a loser; it is a vehicle for expressing our collective opinions and sending a message about who we are as a nation. Losing votes are counted, and will be remembered next time. Even the lack of votes sends a message.

On November 8th you will have four choices for President of the United States: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, or none of the above. These are all legitimate choices. If you believe Donald Trump – and what he stands for – will be good for the country, then by all means vote for him. If you truly support and believe in Hillary Clinton and what she represents, then cast your vote for her. If you believe in the concept of limited government and individual freedom, and if you believe Gary Johnson is a decent, honest man, then do not think for a moment that a vote for him is a wasted one. If you cannot in good conscience vote for any of the three, there is no shame in withholding your vote. Indeed, there may be honor in doing so.

The conscious, corporeal act of voting is ultimately, and irreversibly, a granting of approval. We the people may choose to elect a despicable person with destructive policies who will do terrible damage to our country, but each of us will someday have to account to our grandchildren for our personal decision to support that person. I, for one, will not look back someday and regret that I gave them my blessing.


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