As the election draws closer, the murmuring, the whispers, as to who will win have become more prevalent. Unlike the media, or activists, most of us keep our opinions on that matter to ourselves. We don’t believe in the polls at all (remember 2016?) so, we’re going to do our part (vote) and wait for the outcome. But conversations between friends and colleagues do occur. Personally, I am interested in who someone is going to vote for (or has already voted for), not for any other reason that it tells me something about that person I probably was unaware of initially.
My last three presidential votes were, in 200, whoever was the Libertarian candidate (I couldn’t stand either Obama or McCain), 2012 was Romney (I have no idea why, he has no principles whatsoever, and in 2016, I left that part of the ballot blank. Now some friends have told me how I wasted my vote in 2008 and more especially, in 2016. That may be so, but I was looking for someone, in both elections, that held at least a few similar positions that I had on some issues. I kind of think it’s important, no matter who the candidate is, or which party, he/she is in.
For instance, I voted for a Democrat in 2008 for my representative in Washington. She wasn’t much of a conservative, but she did hold some positions I agreed with, unlike the Republican nominee. She knew her constituency, and for the most part, voted that way in Congress. So, in 2010, we reelected her. To me, that’s what representative government does: represent the people who voted for them.
So I wonder, when I discover that someone I know is voting for either Trump or biden, why? Of course, Trump does have some record as president to run on and when I discuss it with a Trump voter, it seems like a litany they’ve memorized: lowered taxes, cut regulations, best employment in a half century, lowest minority unemployment ever, …you’ve heard it and by the way, no one actually disputes any of this, that I know. So then I come to the person who is/has voted for Biden. Why are you voting/did you vote, for him, I ask? Because he’s not Trump, is the response I receive.
I’m not kidding! Everyone I know who is/has voted for Biden, save one or two, have given me that exact answer. Okay. I at that point want to know more so I ask if there is any specific policy that Biden has proposed that pulled them toward voting for him over Trump. In all but a couple of cases, the answer was no, to them, Trump was just unlikeable. The two I remember that had policy agreements were on the Green New Deal and how Biden, with a cooperative Congress, would implement elements of it. Less than half of all voters polled have placed this as very or somewhat important.
I find it interesting though that most people I come into contact with that say they are/have voted for Biden are just anti-Trump. does that mean they would vote for anyone other than Trump? Actually, that answer from some has been a very vocal yes. It seems it doesn’t matter what platform policies the candidate may have, some of these people are going to vote for whoever is on the ticket opposite Trump. Now my survey isn’t exhaustive (a dozen friends, maybe fifteen), and my demographic skews to college educated, between 35 and 65 years old, mostly white, but with about a third being minority. What’s interesting is that the younger the voter (35-45) the more likely they will vote( or already have) for Trump. Yes, that surprised me a bit. I thought that Trump appealed to older voters (50+) but no, a lot of younger voters, middle class, educated (again my tiny survey) are Trump enthusiasts.
I will say it bothers me when someone tells me they’re voting for a person simply because they atre not eh other person. They don;t happen to agree with any policy proposed, and they don’t particularly like that person either, they just dislike him less than they do the other. That sounds familiar doesn’t it? In 2016, the two candidates for president had the highest “unfavorable” rating of any presidential candidates, ever. If I recall, Clinton’s unfavorable was just slightly better (a point) than Trump. I’m not saying Biden’s favorable/unfavorable are better or worse than Trump (can’t believe the media since their all-in behind Biden), but to cast a vote for someone just because they have a different name? I’d rather vote for someone I believed would at least attempt to make my life better, no matter the name or party.
If you’re voting for either candidate simply because they are not the other, then you really are wasting your vote. Leaving the choice blank is the best you may be able to do.