Saturday, February 13, 2016

Voting for Nobody

Quite a few people are talking about sitting out this presidential election because they don't see any candidate they can support.

In a previous post, I talked about superdelegates and the electoral college, how they can negate the popular vote. Although that is true, it doesn't happen that often. And when the popular vote is such a landslide, as was that for Bernie Sanders over Clinton in New Hampshire, it goes against the party's best interest to shift the delegates against the public preference. If they do that, they run the risk of alienating their base because of the ready availability to the public of information about their supposedly clandestine actions.

Not voting at all may feel like a personal protest against the system but it does nothing to change that system. In fact, it has the opposite effect. By not voting, you are tacitly agreeing to the election of whoever wins. Not voting has the same effect as voting for the winner, so if that is your intent, then well done.

On average, about 60% of registered voters turn out for presidential elections. However, typically less than 20% turn out for primaries and caucuses. This means that the opinion of less than 2 in 10 people decides who will run in the general election. When the turnout is greater than 20%, the actions of the superdelegates is almost completely nullified.

So take the time to vote for your preferred candidate in the primaries and caucuses. Use your vote to protest, not your absence.

Unless you want a tiny vocal minority to speak for you.