Good news, everyone. You very likely don’t have to sweat choosing between Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton!
For most everyone in the country, your vote for Hillary, for Trump, or for Gary Johnson or even Jill Stein won’t make a bit of difference.
Our system is NOT a direct democracy. What you think is a vote for a particular candidate is nothing of the sort. It’s actually a vote for a person who will take part in the Electoral College, who promises to (but may or may not) vote for the person who gets the most votes in your State.
What this means is that for all but those who live in an increasingly small number of States, your vote very literally doesn’t matter. Now, normally, I’d be upset about this. The Electoral College is an outdated, no longer needed anachronism. But this year it serves as a welcome relief for those of us who feel as though none of the choices on the ballot are very palatable.
I’ve been watching Christians debate Hillary vs Trump for months- detailing the endless ethical issues involved in voting either for someone they see as hopelessly corrupt or morally disgusting. And believe me, I feel the tension as well. I can’t in good conscience vote for either of the major candidates, and neither of the 3rd party candidates is appealing to me on a political level. But luckily, I live in a state where it doesn’t matter. And you probably do as well.
Here’s an interesting map:
At the risk of oversimplification, this election will come down to how the people in Florida, Pennsylvania and one or two other states like Colorado and North Carolina vote. Live in California? Don’t sweat your vote- Hillary’s got it in the bag. Live in Texas? Trump’s got this. For most of us, we live in a state where either the outcome is so dependably predictable, or one candidate or the other has enough of a lead that your moral conundrum is merely hypothetical.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote. Vote! I’m saying that you don’t have to make the (anti) Sophie’s choice of either Hillary or Trump, because it won’t matter who you vote for. Feel free to vote for none of the above. Or write in the candidate you WISH had made it through the primaries. Bernie bro? No problem. Ted Cruz gal? Likewise. Vote for Carly Fiorina, for Martin O’Malley, or even Rand or Ron Paul. Write in your favorite historical figure. I’m seriously considering writing in MLK. My vote for him (who, interestingly enough wouldn’t have made it through today’s primary system either, IMHO) will count exactly as much as if I’d voted for either major candidate or 3rd party because OREGON.
All this to say, for most of us, it’s not a matter of holding our noses and voting. Don’t vote for someone who offends your conscience just because you feel like you have to register a vote against their opponent. For the large majority of us, that type of vote is an empty gesture that merely puts you on the side of a flawed candidate whom you happen to believe is only slightly less distasteful. No one should have to do that. (For those Christians who have a positive case for supporting either candidate, great. You don’t need to make your case to me. Go ahead and vote wherever you live. This is for those who find themselves in a dilemma.)
If you live in Florida, in Pennsylvania, in Colorado or the other handful of truly swing States that might impact this election, I have no wisdom to offer you, Vote for the candidate whose platform, policies and direction most line up in the direction you would like to see our country move.
But if you live in a State where the outcome is pre-determined, feel free to let this be the last article, opinion piece, or rant you read this season. You are free to vote your conscience, even if that means not voting in the Presidential category. Breathe a sigh of relief, relax, and remember, regardless of the outcome, some day we will all hear these words, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”