22 votes

What do you think about voting?

I don't understand why people think an individual vote changes anything. I don't mean this as an insult, I just don't understand by what mechanism my vote matters. To be clear, I am not saying you shouldn't vote, simply that one persons vote is a neutral act.

I assume that if I vote in an election my vote will literally be counted; the votes for one candidate will go from 100,000 to 100,001. In tiny elections, it is possible, not likely, for a single vote to change a result. However, arguing for a system from its top 0.1% best case scenario is a bit disingenuous. In 99.9% of elections, it does not come down to one vote.

I have also been told I should just choose the candidate that is closest to my beliefs or even put in a blank ballet. In the US, a 3rd-party candidate will not win any non-local election; in other countries, I understand that it is different, but I can't speak from personal experience. And its not like I would ever choose any of the main party candidates; some are much worse than others, but none represent my beliefs. My understanding of this idea is that what is being valued is the performance of representation, not my actual representation in the system. 'The medium is the message', or who you vote for does not matter, what matters is that you vote.

I've heard people say something to the effect of 'if you don't vote, you have no right to complain about the political system'. This idea ignores the fact that not voting is an explicitly political act. I am engaging with the system by refusing to play what I perceive to be a rigged game.

But its not like the political system changes whether I vote or not; its not like anyone can know if I voted or not, unless I tell them or wear one of those 'I voted' stickers. I've heard people argue that if everyone thought this way, then the OTHER SIDE would win. But other people's decision to vote or not isn't my responsibility.

Is there something I am missing?

EDIT:

I changed my formatting to be more clear and edited the text, as a few responses seem to have missed some of my points.

43 comments

  1. kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    I used to vote in a place where my political views were a significant minority. The decisions weren't coming down to razor thin margins -- they were a blowout, and I was definitely on the losing...
    • Exemplary

    I used to vote in a place where my political views were a significant minority. The decisions weren't coming down to razor thin margins -- they were a blowout, and I was definitely on the losing side. As such, I definitely went through a lot of "why bother?" thinking myself about it, and I used to describe the feeling of it as "spitting into the wind".

    What pushed me to actually vote wasn't the knowledge that my vote had any significance related to the outcome -- it was that I felt my vote had significance to other people who voted like I did. I would look at the vote totals for losing outcomes and still see thousands of people who were in the same boat as me. Undoubtedly many of the people that would have been in that pool opted-out, because we all knew how it would end up, but there were still thousands of people like me who went to the ballot box knowing they were participating in a foregone conclusion and chose to do it anyway. That's powerful.

    This type of "virtue signaling" has a bad name on the internet these days on account of people who want to shut down the idea that we should look to others for connection and shared values, but it's genuinely what put wind in my sails about voting in general, and I encourage you to think of your vote less as determining an outcome and more as a formal and structural declaration of your beliefs that means something on its own terms, regardless of the overall outcome of the vote and regardless of what others do.

    The wrinkle here is, as you identified, that we don't always identify with particular candidates or sides. I think a lot of people approach voting like dating, wanting an ideal match. Unfortunately, that simply isn't possible -- we are all individually complex people with complex beliefs, and those will never compress down neatly to fit perfectly with a very limited range of candidates. As such, voting for me is basically about identifying which of the options comes closer to the aggregation of my beliefs and accepting that, no matter what, even the best candidate is going to be far from an exact match.

    You mentioned not voting as an explicitly political act, and that is definitely something many people do, but I think the issue there is that, structurally, there is no way to distinguish between someone who doesn't vote as a protest and someone who doesn't vote for other reasons, including the exact opposite: satisfaction with how things are going! You might intend for your non-vote to have some bite to it, but it is easily mistaken for an endorsement of the status quo, and functionally, that's what it achieves regardless of your intentions, unfortunately.

    14 votes
  2. [2]
    petrichor
    Link
    Voting is certainly not the most influential way of swaying the political system, by any means, but it's what everything else (activism, media, lobbying) comes down to in a fair democracy. If...

    Voting is certainly not the most influential way of swaying the political system, by any means, but it's what everything else (activism, media, lobbying) comes down to in a fair democracy. If you're apathetic about your vote's impact, campaigning for an issue important to you is liable to make a much bigger difference than voting.

    It might be tempting to think your single vote has no sway, but that's not necessarily true. Elections can and do come down to differences of the double and single digits even in national elections (2000 had a high-profile case of this). Even though the likelihood of this varies depending on where you live or which election you're voting in, that it could come down to the wire is enough to push me personally past the slight inconvenience that is voting.

    17 votes
    1. KapteinB
      Link Parent
      If you're thinking of Florida, it was in the triple digits. You and I are lucky that it's just a slight inconvenience. In some places (especially where the politicians in power want to suppress...

      Elections can and do come down to differences of the double and single digits even in national elections (2000 had a high-profile case of this).

      If you're thinking of Florida, it was in the triple digits.

      the slight inconvenience that is voting.

      You and I are lucky that it's just a slight inconvenience. In some places (especially where the politicians in power want to suppress voter turnout) there may be a whole bunch of hurdles, requiring weeks of planning and hours of queueing.

      5 votes
  3. [11]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    The issue is that you can't treat a policy like "I won't vote because what's the point" like it's not a big deal because if everybody thought like that, nobody would vote. I also think it's fair...

    The issue is that you can't treat a policy like "I won't vote because what's the point" like it's not a big deal because if everybody thought like that, nobody would vote.

    I also think it's fair to say that if you choose not to vote, you don't get to complain because you forfeighted your opportunity to attempt to change the situation. Any thoughts about an individual vote specifically not changing anything are just justifications for not voting. It's like complaining about being wet when you knew rain was coming and chose not to bring an umbrella.

    Every vote matters, even if your side isn't winning this time. The most effective political strategy is to disenfranchise and disaffect the other side so they simply don't vote (see: the current American state of affairs and the recent French election).

    14 votes
    1. Ember
      Link Parent
      I think this is the key, at least for me. We all know that votes are tiny, statistics, etc. But the mindset is more important. If enough of the population plays the mental game of "my vote...

      if everybody thought like that, nobody would vote.

      I think this is the key, at least for me. We all know that votes are tiny, statistics, etc. But the mindset is more important. If enough of the population plays the mental game of "my vote matters", then it does matter. So, playing along with the game (and encouraging others) is the best move.

      12 votes
    2. [9]
      PahoojyMan
      Link Parent
      By the same token, if you choose to vote, you don't get to complain because you participated and must accept the outcome.

      I also think it's fair to say that if you choose not to vote, you don't get to complain because you forfeighted your opportunity to attempt to change the situation.

      By the same token, if you choose to vote, you don't get to complain because you participated and must accept the outcome.

      4 votes
      1. [7]
        knocklessmonster
        Link Parent
        I think that's painting with too broad a brush. People who choose to vote are specifically more entitled to their opinion about the outcome than those who chose not to because of their investment...

        I think that's painting with too broad a brush. People who choose to vote are specifically more entitled to their opinion about the outcome than those who chose not to because of their investment in the outcome.

        That isn't to say they should be burning the place down because things went their way, but I'd say they're at least in a better position to talk about the policies/people they voted for or against.

        6 votes
        1. [6]
          post_below
          Link Parent
          It seems arbitrary to me that a person who voted has more right to an opinion. Aren't all rights conferred by citizenship? Or if not that, paying taxes? In any case there's no relationship between...

          It seems arbitrary to me that a person who voted has more right to an opinion. Aren't all rights conferred by citizenship? Or if not that, paying taxes?

          In any case there's no relationship between voting and having an informed and valuable opinion. Which I think is what we should be after.

          4 votes
          1. [5]
            knocklessmonster
            Link Parent
            Somebody can be as well informed as they want, but if they refuse to vote on the basis that "my vote doesn't matter," they have clearly demonstrated that they don't have enough conviction to try...

            Somebody can be as well informed as they want, but if they refuse to vote on the basis that "my vote doesn't matter," they have clearly demonstrated that they don't have enough conviction to try to create change in even the simplest of ways.

            10 votes
            1. post_below
              Link Parent
              Ok, but just bear in mind that essentially you're making a decision about another person's rights based on a personal choice you disagree with.

              Ok, but just bear in mind that essentially you're making a decision about another person's rights based on a personal choice you disagree with.

              2 votes
            2. [3]
              PahoojyMan
              Link Parent
              But if your issue is with the system itself, how can you enact change if you simply comply?

              But if your issue is with the system itself, how can you enact change if you simply comply?

              1 vote
              1. spctrvl
                Link Parent
                The same way as if you didn't vote? It's not exclusive. Voting is just one of the tools in our box for affecting change, and is best used in conjunction with others.

                The same way as if you didn't vote? It's not exclusive. Voting is just one of the tools in our box for affecting change, and is best used in conjunction with others.

                3 votes
              2. knocklessmonster
                Link Parent
                Vote in a way that moves towards your greater goal, and if you don't think voting is enough, there are still other options to explore: protest, petitioning, etc.

                Vote in a way that moves towards your greater goal, and if you don't think voting is enough, there are still other options to explore: protest, petitioning, etc.

                2 votes
      2. TheJorro
        Link Parent
        That's not the same token? The token is that voting is the prerequisite to comment the outcome at all, not that voting means you must be 100% for the outcome.

        That's not the same token? The token is that voting is the prerequisite to comment the outcome at all, not that voting means you must be 100% for the outcome.

        5 votes
  4. PhantomBand
    Link
    The thing is, if everyone thinks that way those 100,000 votes wouldn't be there in the first place. Those 100,000 votes don't appear out of thin air, they're the accumulative result of 100,00...

    I assume that if I vote in an election my vote will literally be counted; the votes for 1 candidate will go from 100,000 to 100,001

    The thing is, if everyone thinks that way those 100,000 votes wouldn't be there in the first place. Those 100,000 votes don't appear out of thin air, they're the accumulative result of 100,00 individual votes.

    12 votes
  5. [2]
    mrnd
    (edited )
    Link
    First, I'd just like to note there are representative elections where single votes matter. For example in my country, it is not uncommon in municipal elections that single votes end up relevant....

    First, I'd just like to note there are representative elections where single votes matter. For example in my country, it is not uncommon in municipal elections that single votes end up relevant. In more local elections, there are less votes. And I often argue that local elections are much more important than national elections.

    But also, that is not really the point. You are generally right in the sense that from an individualistic perspective, voting is not really beneficial. But voting is about politics, and politics are about collective decisions and collective action.

    If there are things in the world we do not like and want to change, we must organize, find solutions, convince people, make the change. Voting is simply one, (often optional) part of the process.

    Voting also happens to be one of the easiest ways to take collective action. If you happen to care about the things affected by politics and want to help, it is pretty much the bare minimum thing to do.

    Personally, I am in a good place where I have political parties I am happy to support by voting them. If this were not true, the next step would be to actually get involved and make sure that in the future, there are better candidates.

    11 votes
    1. KapteinB
      Link Parent
      I got curious, and found an article from 2018 listing 11 such elections. And a longer list could probably be made of elections where a single vote caused or avoided a recount, though it is very...

      I'd just like to note there are representative elections where single votes matter.

      I got curious, and found an article from 2018 listing 11 such elections.

      And a longer list could probably be made of elections where a single vote caused or avoided a recount, though it is very rare that recounts change the outcome.

      4 votes
  6. nacho
    Link
    Flipping the question around: Why shouldn't voting be mandatory? Voter registration should be automatic and all countries should have standards that make voting practical and not time-consuming....

    Flipping the question around:

    • Why shouldn't voting be mandatory?

    Voter registration should be automatic and all countries should have standards that make voting practical and not time-consuming.

    If you're in the US, you have some of the worst protected voting rights in the western world. That's the only reason that voting is so cumbersome and time consuming some places. It boggles the mind that the Supreme court only removed wealth and tax payment requirements for voting in state elections in 1966.

    US citizens living abroad (or on US military ships/bases) were only guaranteed the vote through the absentee voting act of 1986!

    8 votes
  7. KapteinB
    Link
    Vote with your heart. If you really don't agree with any of them, vote blank. That sends a signal to the political parties and potential candidates that they need to change to get your vote. Also,...

    And its not like I would ever choose any of the candidates; some are much worse than others, but none represent my beliefs.

    Vote with your heart. If you really don't agree with any of them, vote blank. That sends a signal to the political parties and potential candidates that they need to change to get your vote. Also, don't avoid voting for a third-party candidate just because they don't have a chance of winning, for the same reason. High turnout for third parties may cause the dominating parties to change, in order to stay dominant. A recent-ish example of this was the UK Conservative Party embracing Brexit to gain back the voters they'd lost to the UK Independence Party.

    6 votes
  8. post_below
    Link
    I appreciate the question. I'd like to see more conversation about the ways in which our political systems are broken. Until that's the loudest part of the cultural conversation there will be no...

    I appreciate the question. I'd like to see more conversation about the ways in which our political systems are broken. Until that's the loudest part of the cultural conversation there will be no motivation for politicians to address it. No sane politician is going to bring it up otherwise, it sounds too close to unpatriotic.

    Gerrymandering actually exists. That all by itself speaks of a system that provides the illusion, rather than the reality, of representative democracy. In places where it's been done the most egregiously, voting is a symbolic act at best.

    And, of course, even when voting has an impact beyond just theoretical, the near total power that money has over western politics on any but the most local of scales, makes it ultimately irrelevant in terms of practical impact. No matter how idealistic and uncorrupt you believe your candidates are, the system is still going to serve the interests of the people and organizations which can afford to buy, or coerce, influence.

    It seems to me that there's this unspoken idea that the altruistic, good citizen, thing to do is to keep pretending that democracy still works the way it was originally intended to. But does anyone truly believe that?

    We have to fix the systems themselves, or try, before we can hope to fix anything else. In order for that to happen, the core problems with our systems need to be a part of every conversation about politics, until it becomes impossible to ignore.

    Voting is great, it's a key part of the dream, but right now I think voices, and their contribution to the zeitgeist, are more powerful than votes.

    Local politics, btw, is a place where your vote can matter in a more palpable way.

    6 votes
  9. [3]
    trazac
    Link
    Voting systems also play a part in voter apathy. The First Past The Post system that's most commonly used means that two party systems become dominant and third party interests are rarely...

    Voting systems also play a part in voter apathy. The First Past The Post system that's most commonly used means that two party systems become dominant and third party interests are rarely realized. There are better systems out there, all with their own advantages and problems, but the most popular system is awful.

    5 votes
    1. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      It's not always the case that a two party system forms, but FPTP does usually skew the electoral results vs the popular vote totals. Canada, for instance, has a multiparty system but also FPTP...

      It's not always the case that a two party system forms, but FPTP does usually skew the electoral results vs the popular vote totals.

      Canada, for instance, has a multiparty system but also FPTP voting, which causes... interesting scenarios, like the Liberal party likely about to have a majority with only 35.6% of the popular vote, or Bloc Quebecois possibly about to have more seats than New Democrat despite having only having 6.9% of the popular vote vs 19% of the New Democrat party.

      5 votes
    2. vektor
      Link Parent
      Oh yes. They make close elections all the more unlikely (though parties balance intentionally by splitting the electorate roughly 50/50). But they also rid you of your political passions because...

      Oh yes. They make close elections all the more unlikely (though parties balance intentionally by splitting the electorate roughly 50/50). But they also rid you of your political passions because there's no way either party is acceptable without pains to you.

      4 votes
  10. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    The economist Steven Levitt once said that he fully understands that his vote has no importance from a statistical standpoint, but that he votes anyway because he wants to be able to say to his...

    The economist Steven Levitt once said that he fully understands that his vote has no importance from a statistical standpoint, but that he votes anyway because he wants to be able to say to his children and grandchildren that he took part in something meaningful and historically relevant. I respect that reasoning. But there are other factors at play, of course.

    One reason that might compell me to vote is social pressure, a lot of people will think less of me if I do not vote. That's probably more important than many care to admit.

    So, do I vote? Well, vote in Brazil is mandatory so that is probably a silly question, right? Not exactly. You see, my voting location is in another neighborhood. I could change that but bureaucracy gives me the chills. The fine for not voting is actually cheaper than the bus fare to my voting location. And the citizens center where I go to pay the fee is very close to my home. So I haven't voted in quite a while. In the meantime, exactly zero elections in which I should have voted were decided by a single vote (not even close..). So I think I'm fine.

    Don't be like me, kids.

    5 votes
  11. vektor
    Link
    Consider the following: The tally of the vote stands 100000 to 100001. Had you voted, it would've ended up being 100001 to 100001. This is, of course, quite unlikely. But it is also a case in...

    Consider the following: The tally of the vote stands 100000 to 100001. Had you voted, it would've ended up being 100001 to 100001. This is, of course, quite unlikely. But it is also a case in which the vote of every single non-voter would've counted a lot. The thing is that you never know ahead of time whether the vote might end up being similarly contested.

    I won't try to convince you to vote in any election where polls have established a landslide victory. But in any other case, there's a small chance that you hold heavy sway. Considering the uncertainty about the result before the vote, you can "smooth out" the probabilities here and consider that a guaranteed chance of small sway.

    Or in other words: How much would you beat yourself up if your candidate lost to the other guy by a margin of one vote, and you didn't vote? Would that be worth the gained convenience of not voting?

    4 votes
  12. archevel
    Link
    I believe there is a tendency to overstate the importance of voting in a democratic be system. At the time of voting it basically comes down to do you want strawberry or chocolate flavoured ice...

    I believe there is a tendency to overstate the importance of voting in a democratic be system. At the time of voting it basically comes down to do you want strawberry or chocolate flavoured ice cream? More emphasis should be placed on the importance of participating more directly in the various democratic processes. Essentially, formulating the options we then vote on is in my view more important than the actual vote to get a thriving democracy. Decrying politicians as is fairly common online always seem weird to me. It leaves me wanting to ask the decriers if they've actually made an attempt to take part in local politics or party politics at any level (I suspect the answer will commonly be no). People who have been involved in politics in some way, while they may be disillusioned by the slow progress, usually have more respect for the people who stick to it.

    4 votes
  13. Flashynuff
    Link
    Voting is one of the few ways that people get to influence the systems and rules that govern them. Because of that, it is incredibly important that as many people as possible have the ability to...

    Voting is one of the few ways that people get to influence the systems and rules that govern them. Because of that, it is incredibly important that as many people as possible have the ability to vote in a way that is convenient and easy.

    HOWEVER... voting, on its own, is not a very effective way to change anything, especially in the US, especially at the national level. What does voting matter when Republicans and Democrats end supporting virtually the same policies? What does voting matter when you vote someone in who said they were going to do something and then they change their mind and do the opposite?

    Frankly, I don't blame anyone for not voting. I also don't blame anyone for voting. I think the best way for people to actually start changing things is to organize locally and build things outside of the current electoral system that are more participatory and democratic.

    I've heard people say something to the effect of 'if you don't vote, you have no right to complain about the political system'.

    I've heard this a lot too from liberals who are super invested in the electoral system. It's a load of shit tbh. Every person who is governed by a system has the right to complain about it.

    4 votes
  14. DaveJarvis
    Link
    At the heart of your comment seems to be the issue of transparency. There's eroding transparency on whether the representative you voted for, presuming an election win, will act in accordance with...

    At the heart of your comment seems to be the issue of transparency. There's eroding transparency on whether the representative you voted for, presuming an election win, will act in accordance with the platform that was proposed---and it takes effort to hold each winner accountable. Regardless of what political party wins an election, there's no armchair transparency into the motivations that drive the decisions being made by those who hold office. Various political systems have their own advantages and disadvantages, of course. What I'd like to see is something along the following lines:

    https://bytebucket.org/djarvis/world-politics/raw/master/docs/manual/manual.pdf

    In effect, when a bill, law, or action is proposed, it'd be great to have: a plain language overview of the proposal, economic data showing resources required to accomplish the goals, and a testable hypothesis to confirm whether the proposal had the desired outcome. Additionally, any proposals would have to be supported by reputable sources or other hard evidence.

    3 votes
  15. [2]
    Staross
    Link
    Clearly your vote matters but is diluted by the large number of people participating in the vote; imaging you're in a group of three and you take a decision by vote, then surely you can see your...

    Clearly your vote matters but is diluted by the large number of people participating in the vote; imaging you're in a group of three and you take a decision by vote, then surely you can see your vote matters a lot. Now imagine the group is 5, 10, 100, etc. and you can see how your vote counts less and less but never become completely irrelevant (there's always a non-zero probability that your vote changes the outcome).

    2 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      Sure it matters, but not much. I don't think statistics are very persuasive here. The odds of winning the lottery are also non zero, and most people agree it's a waste of time. Saying that some...

      Sure it matters, but not much. I don't think statistics are very persuasive here. The odds of winning the lottery are also non zero, and most people agree it's a waste of time. Saying that some odd is non zero may be logically correct but that's often not very relevant for human beings.

      In other words, I believe consequentialism is unpersuasive here. Virtue ethics is probably more effective.

      3 votes
  16. [12]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    My parents grew up in communist Hungary, and they used to tell me that they had regular elections there, but there was generally only one name on the ballot. I believe the US political system is a...

    My parents grew up in communist Hungary, and they used to tell me that they had regular elections there, but there was generally only one name on the ballot.

    I believe the US political system is a more sophisticated, less blatant variation of the same deal. You have only two candidates to choose from, and the moneyed people get to decide who those candidates are, before you get to vote.

    If you want fair elections, then a) get the money influence out of politics, and 2) eliminate the two-party duopoly. Then I'll vote. Until then, voting is worse than useless, because it legitimizes a corrupt system.

    2 votes
    1. [6]
      spctrvl
      Link Parent
      I feel like this is a dated view, that would be more at home back when the republican party was a basically normal low grade evil, rather than a borderline fascist insurgency, and when the...

      I feel like this is a dated view, that would be more at home back when the republican party was a basically normal low grade evil, rather than a borderline fascist insurgency, and when the Democratic party was hardline neoliberal and didn't have an active socialist caucus. Regardless of how you feel about the Democrats' ability to enact systemic change on the needed scale, personally I'm skeptical, the Republicans need to be kept away from the levers of power in every level of government, at all costs. Their being in power pushes things further in the wrong direction and directly immiserates the tens of millions of people who live on the republicans' weekly wheel of hatred.

      What's more is that you're never going to get money out of politics or eliminate the two party system if you're unable to apply political pressure. No, the democratic party is never going to do either of those things on its own. But voting doesn't preclude activism, it sets the conditions for its organization. Put bluntly: the Democrats can be bullied into supporting progressive actions, especially by their base, so if they're in power, it's at least possible to change things.

      9 votes
      1. [4]
        Flashynuff
        Link Parent
        I think this is true -- the Republican party is a party of essentially fascists who should not be trusted anywhere near power -- but the Democratic Party, at large, does not seem to agree. The...

        the Republicans need to be kept away from the levers of power in every level of government, at all costs

        I think this is true -- the Republican party is a party of essentially fascists who should not be trusted anywhere near power -- but the Democratic Party, at large, does not seem to agree. The party leadership + several swing members insist on bipartisanship and compromise with Republicans who would never return the favor. I worry about the framing of "at all costs" because I think it encourages people to sink all of their organizing energy into electoral campaigns for a milquetoast liberal whose only defining attribute is that they are not Republican (i.e., McConnell vs McGrath in Kentucky). The only time I see that sense of urgency from most Democratic politicians is when they are sending me fundraising emails.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          spctrvl
          Link Parent
          I agree, but think that mainly makes the point for voting in primaries, and not playing 3D chess against your own brain pushing out of touch candidates that nobody likes much out of a misguided...

          I agree, but think that mainly makes the point for voting in primaries, and not playing 3D chess against your own brain pushing out of touch candidates that nobody likes much out of a misguided sense of electability (the Kerry strategy). Vote and canvas for the most progressive candidate in the primaries, if they lose then they can still shift the conversation like Bernie did, and if they win, IMO the best indicator of electability is winning elections.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            Flashynuff
            Link Parent
            Ooh, absolutely. The other thing I don't like about elections is that a lot of the media makes everyone feel like they're a pundit, trying to game theory their way to an election win, rather than...

            not playing 3D chess against your own brain pushing out of touch candidates that nobody likes much out of a misguided sense of electability

            Ooh, absolutely. The other thing I don't like about elections is that a lot of the media makes everyone feel like they're a pundit, trying to game theory their way to an election win, rather than just voting for the person they'd like to win. I think that leads to a lot of the "3d chess against your own brain".Some other form of voting (maybe single transferable vote?) could help mitigate this a bit in primaries.

            5 votes
            1. spctrvl
              Link Parent
              We should definitely push the democratic party to adopt STV or IRV or whatever for primaries. Compared to implementing it for general elections, it should be pretty doable, since it's up to the...

              We should definitely push the democratic party to adopt STV or IRV or whatever for primaries. Compared to implementing it for general elections, it should be pretty doable, since it's up to the state party what form their elections take. And yes, all that game theory punditry drives me up the wall.

              6 votes
      2. Eric_the_Cerise
        Link Parent
        I get this perspective, but I've honestly been watching and arguing and fighting for people to realize the Repubs have been headed in this direction for (at least) 40 years, since the Reagan...

        I feel like this is a dated view, that would be more at home back when the republican party was a basically normal low grade evil, rather than a borderline fascist insurgency, and when...

        I get this perspective, but I've honestly been watching and arguing and fighting for people to realize the Repubs have been headed in this direction for (at least) 40 years, since the Reagan Admin. This is not a new thing.

        I lean Libertarian (actually less so these days, but let's stick with that narrative) ... that means Social Liberal, Economic Conservative ... literally half Democratic, half Republican. I would often vote Republican, except that the Repubs have been bat-shit crazy since at least the rise of Newt Gingrich.

        So, for decades, I've been stuck with having literally only one person on the ballot I'm willing to vote for -- a person I do not like, do not agree with, and do not support -- because the only other name on the ballot is even more unacceptable. And that equals, to me at least, a political system that is also unacceptable.


        Side-note regarding my narrative of "the candidates are pre-picked by the Money people" ... Trump was (obviously?) not one of the groomed-and-approved candidates; he bullied his way to the nomination and then the Presidency, despite a formidable effort by Republican leadership to anoint an "appropriate" candidate (PS: The Dems did the same thing for Biden in 2020 when they torpedoed Sanders) ... as far as I know, this is the first time the US voters elected an "unapproved" candidate in a century, since Teddy Roosevelt.

        I'm still figuring out what--if anything--is to be learned from that lesson ... Roosevelt was one of the best US Presidents; Trump was one of the worst (possibly, literally, the worst one ever). Meanwhile, I supported Sanders both in 2020 and in 2016, and yet Biden is turning out to be a good President, managing the mess that the US is in now much better than I thought he would, and better -- I suspect -- than Sanders would have handled it.

        So, yeah ... I'm still figuring it out. There are lessons to be learned here.

        4 votes
    2. [5]
      PhantomBand
      Link Parent
      If you dislike the system, why not vote blank?

      Then I'll vote. Until then, voting is worse than useless, because it legitimizes a corrupt system.

      If you dislike the system, why not vote blank?

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        Eric_the_Cerise
        Link Parent
        Well, what's the point of that? Actually, I moved to Europe. Voted for the first time in my life (at 50+), for the EU Parliament.

        Well, what's the point of that?

        Actually, I moved to Europe. Voted for the first time in my life (at 50+), for the EU Parliament.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          PhantomBand
          Link Parent
          It gives off a signal that you're dissatisfied.

          It gives off a signal that you're dissatisfied.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            Eric_the_Cerise
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I think an informed--and vocal--decision to not vote gives off a stronger signal. So does moving to Europe.

            I think an informed--and vocal--decision to not vote gives off a stronger signal. So does moving to Europe.

            1 vote
            1. PhantomBand
              Link Parent
              I'm not so sure, I mean if a lot of blank votes show up, that's a more visible and direct signal, and more countable, than a lot of people not voting at all. Not voting at all also leaves a lot up...

              I think an informed--and vocal--decision to not vote gives off a stronger signal.

              I'm not so sure, I mean if a lot of blank votes show up, that's a more visible and direct signal, and more countable, than a lot of people not voting at all. Not voting at all also leaves a lot up in the air as to why they haven't voted, could be that they forgot or had something else come up, while this gives a more clear signal of "they're not satisfied with how things are".

              So does moving to Europe.

              Well, I am European so I'm already speaking from that POV.

              5 votes
  17. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    I think people should do it: Purely for the sake of being part of the electorate that fills up important legislative chambers like the lower and upper houses of where you live and important...

    I think people should do it:

    1. Purely for the sake of being part of the electorate that fills up important legislative chambers like the lower and upper houses of where you live and important executive offices like the president

    2. Because politics seems to have existed as long as civilization has, whichever IMO makes it as good as a natural part of society, and thus important to participate in, even if I kind of respect those who don't and prioritize their personal relationships instead.

    (Of course, this isn't really a binary but I just figured I'd put that in.)

    The main problems I see is that, by virtue of politics being something that engages with everyone, even if not everyone engages with politics, your individual influence is minsucule for the majority of people in the majority of situations, even of you try to engage in more meaningful ways like joining an activist group or canvassing for a party. (Assuming that's not US specific), which fuels the argument of "my opinions doesn't matter because it's only one opinion in whatever many millions of votes are cast if this isn't a really local election". I personally just feel that:

    1. Doing those things still gives you more influence than not doing them

    2. Given politics is something we should engage with collectively, thinking in terms of "what does it matter if my vote means nothing" probably seems like approaching politics the wrong way.

    1 vote