Vote your conscience
In perhaps the most bizarre presidential election to date, the way Americans are voting has been altered entirely
September 29, 2016
Filed under Opinion
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
This year’s election is drawing the attention of both the nation and the entire world, and many see it as both the most critical, as well as the most embarrassing, election in U.S. history. According to a Pew Research Center survey, the largest factor driving people to the polls is not the favorability of their candidate, but rather their dislike for the opposing one.
For this election, the favorability rating of the two major candidates is at the lowest ever in recorded political history. Based on research done by the website thirtyeightthirty using probability sample polls, Clinton’s “strongly unfavorable” rating is about 37 percent while Trump’s is a whopping 53 percent, which is 20 percent higher than any other candidate in history other than Clinton.
While a small demographic are voting for their respective candidate based, an alarming amount are not voting for their best option, but rather against their worst option. The hashtags “#nevertrump” and stickers “Hillary for Prison” are nearly as prominent as the campaign stickers and posters for each candidate. This type of voting is strategic or necessary in this election in order to block out the other candidate’s chance of winning. Growing up, we were taught to vote for who represented us, who spoke for the issues we cared about and who we believed would do good things for our country. But with the options available, many have thrown out what has been taught about voting in favor of voting for “the lesser of two evils.” Therein lies the problem.
The Republican candidate Donald Trump, who has never held political office, runs his campaign under an extremely polarizing yet unique technique: of the opposition, little use of factual evidence (nearly 50 percent lies according to Politifact), strong presence on social media to reach his followers and borderline racist policies. This has reached an angry group of mostly white working-class Americans that feel they have been left behind and misrepresented. This might seem like a difficult way to win over voters, but many followers agree that it is not his policies or lack of a political background that has them interested, it is the lack of censorship or fear of ridicule that drives his voters to the polls. The fact he is not controlled by a large super PAC allows him to have full control over what he says, seemingly without the touch of a speechwriter. This style is very similar to having a joker in the deck: We are left uncertain of what we will actually get out of Trump. This is a real fear and concern that must be considered.
On the other side, Hillary Clinton, who does have a strong political past, is under similar ridicule given her past and recent scandals. While her campaign tactics run the standard quota of many past presidents, the concern many have involve a variety of choices she has made. Since 1993, she has been consistently inconsistent on nearly every issue including: gay marriage, immigration policies, the bankruptcy bill and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to list a few. While many might see this as an ability to change her position to support the greater voice, her voting record would lead some to believe that she is not concerned about what she believes in, but rather what can get her elected. While she has changed her views many times, the greater concern lies with her unwillingness to admit she believed differently in the past and the lies she tells about her past voting record, even though that record is transparent.
So in the most polarizing, most important and by far most bizarre election to date, take a moment to take a deep breath and really think about who you are voting for. What do they represent? Where does their campaign money come from? What is their voting record? What is their overall character? What are all the options available? But above all else, vote your conscience. These considerations are critical in making a smart decision. These choices can change the political landscape and mark a historical moment that will define our future.