Tuesday, November 8, 2016

“There is no such thing as not voting”

I posted this bit in November 2010. It’s worth repeating:

In reality, there is no such thing as not voting; you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.

David Foster Wallace, “Up, Simba: Seven Days on the Trail of an Anticandidate,” in Consider the Lobster and Other Essays (New York: Little, Brown, 2007).
I voted early for Hillary Clinton. I wasn’t happy about it: I consider her ethically challenged and troublingly hawkish. And I’m deeply angered by the Democratic National Committee’s treatment of Bernie Sanders’s campaign. But voting for Clinton was the only choice I could make — because there are, for practical purposes, just two candidates.

The choice, for me, came down to climate-change policy and Supreme Court nominations. I’m not willing to let those matters fall into Donald Trump’s smaller-than-average hands for the next four years, and I don’t believe that four years of Trump would mean an Elizabeth Warren victory in 2020. A country that would elect Trump once would, I fear, elect him again.

And I don’t think it’s reasonable to vote for Jill Stein because Clinton will win Illinois anyway. If I’d rather see Clinton than Trump elected, I think I should be willing to vote for her. Categorical imperative and all that.

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