Voting is a privilege. It is a hallmark of American society. We do not have a monarchy nor a dictatorship. Americans elect our national leaders. Our system gives a voice and vote. The greatest opportunity for your individual voice to be heard is in the Primary election. You can cast a principled vote for the candidate that best represents your convictions.
The primary race is the closest to home. As Speaker of the House, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” The hard fought, visceral contests must be fought at the local level. Give money. Distribute signage. Make phone calls. Work to register voters who have not. Write Op Ed pieces for your local paper. Get involved personally and monetarily. Remember that your spoken opinion is one in three hundred million. In other words, quit talking and start working. However, once the primary is over, there is a tendency among many to decide that “my guy” didn’t win, so “I’m not going to vote in the Presidential election.”
Abstaining from an opportunity to vote is no strategy at all. By not voting you ARE voting; “in absentia”, for whomever wins. By choosing to have no voice, you speak in favor of the winner by refusing to speak against them.
That which may feel like a principled stand, is exactly the tack that the Members of Congress take when they don’t like having to vote for a bill that is unpopular. Instead of exercising their duty to render a “yea or nay” vote, they abstain and blame the outcome on those who disagree with them. Then they hide behind strong rhetoric designed to keep up appearances with the folks back home.
When the Presidential nominees are finalized, there will be some tough questions to seriously consider. Whether to vote or abstain should not be one of them.
With or without your support, there will be a winner, however your abstinence will count as a vote of support for the one you would support the least.
I despise having to choose “the lesser of two evils” but that is likely what we will have to do.