If you want to vote, you need to be registered. If you’re not and you live in Oregon, you have a little time left. And I stress, little. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait for the deadline. Register online right now.
It’s election day eve—most will vote tomorrow. Many of you have already voted. That’s great! I voted a few weeks ago.
If you have already know who you’re voting for, you can stop reading right now. I don’t have anything for you other than encouraging you to go vote.
If you’re still undecided after months and months of campaign coverage, I’m not sure I can help you. It’s not you, it’s me. I just don’t understand.
When I originally wrote this post, I tried making three main points:
The presidency is not an entry-level position;
Trump has done and said a laundry list of bad things; and
Trump’s temperament is not right for someone leading the largest military on Earth.
But I deleted it.
My first point doesn’t seem convincing. Obama had little government experience when he ran eight years ago, yet he was elected. This time around, Trump, with no government experience was nominated by the Republicans. At least Obama went to Harvard Law School, became a law professor teaching Constitutional Law, was a three-term state senator in Illinois, and then a U.S. senator. And Hillary’s done a lot, too. Probably even more than Obama. But people don’t seem to think being president requires any prior government experience or legal training. So, hey!
The press and many other influential people have documented Trump’s egregious behavior and how he gives comfort to the worst in our society. I can’t imagine how any listicle I might write would tip the scale on my second point. So, ignore that, too. After all, you’ve been doing a good job of that so far. Maybe you believe the press is biased, even Fox News. Maybe you think it doesn’t matter—because emails. Whatever.
My third point was maybe best made by Hillary herself:
"A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons." —Hillary
Hillary should know. She baited Trump with Khizr Khan and Alicia Machado. And he bit—hook, line, and sinker. Yet, people who should know better don’t seem to mind, including most of the Republican elites. And they’re experts at military stuff, so maybe the commander in chief’s temperament doesn’t matter. Besides, Trump claimed to have the best temperament. Maybe that confused them.
So, I give up.1 I can’t imagine what I might say that would finally help you make up your mind.
But still, you should vote. Vote for Hillary. Or The Donald. You can even throw your vote away to a third party candidate or a write in. Maybe that would be best. You could say you didn’t vote for either “evil” and feel good about yourself, yet not having made any real choice or difference in the election.
I believe our democracy is best served when people vote. So, at least do that. If you can… :-/
There is one point that I haven’t heard much that means a lot to me. Trump operates in a win-lose world, not a win-win world. He doesn’t feel like he’s winning unless someone else is losing. That might work fine in the business world, when you can keep finding other, new customers, but it doesn’t work in the geopolitical world. America doesn’t win because Mexico or China loses. In fact, America might do better because Mexico or China do well. Maybe this resonates with you, too. I don’t know. It was worth a shot. ↩
Yesterday I checked the mail to find our ballots. Woo hoo!
I love Oregon’s 100% vote-by-mail system. I didn’t expect to. Before Oregon changed its system some years back, going to the polls was a near religious experience for me, fulfilling my civic duty and all. Then, the first time I tried voting by mail I got hooked. With my ballot, a voters’ pamphlet, and my laptop on my kitchen table, I researched each vote until I was comfortable with it.
No worries about not having done enough research before going to the polls. No worries that I won’t have time on election day to get to the polls. No worries about what polling place to go to. No worries about long lines at the polls. No worries that taking my time was preventing someone else from being able to vote.
Order and Openness. My friend Shelby recently posted this fun jumping off point for understanding people’s motivations. It might help explain certain voters. If you’re like me, you’ll want to follow all the links and keep drilling.
Election day is nearly here. In fact, I would bet most of us in Oregon have already voted.
People give a few reasons why we should vote:
Vote now or shut up later
Voting is your best chance to change the government
Voting is your civic duty
I’m not convinced I agree with any of them.
You don’t give up your right to participate in democracy when you don’t vote. You only give up one avenue.
Voting might not be your best opportunity to effect change. Depending on where you live, your vote is unlikely to have any impact. A better way to make a change might be to work to change how campaigns are financed. Another good idea is to email your representatives. Because so few do so, you have a disproportionate voice.
I’m not sure I buy into the duty idea. Maybe if the those elected acted like they had any duty, this would be more convincing.
Use election season as an opportunity to educate yourself on the issues.1 Spend some time with your voters’ pamphlet. From there, it’s only a little more effort to vote.
“A new study by social psychologist Christopher Bryan and his colleagues at Stanford University shows just how easily people can be manipulated using their own vanity; by doing nothing more than changing the word “vote,” to “voter,” on a survey, Bryan et al, have demonstrated that it’s possible to increase voter turnout in real-world elections.” (Source.)
Oregon’s primary isn’t until May 20, long after when I thought the primaries would be decided. Looks like I was wrong.
If you want to vote for who should be the next president (or who shouldn’t be), you still have time to register. For first-time registrations in Oregon and changing party affiliations, the deadline is 21 days before the election.