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Why I regret not voting in the election

CNN reported this to be the lowest voter turnout in 20 years, and many people are furious with those of us who chose not to vote. I am one of those people and I am a bit furious with me, too.

Over the course of this election, it has been the general consensus of many Americans – myself included – that voting for one of the major party candidates was essentially a choice between the lesser of two evils. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced criminal investigations during their presidential campaigns. One candidate called African American children super predators, the other condoned grabbing women “by the pussy,” and third-party candidates stood virtually no chance of election in this political climate.

Despite it all, Hillary was the lesser evil, for me, due to her political credibility. Even so, it felt unethical to vote for her.

The aftermath of the election has led me to believe that perhaps the only injustice greater than voting for Hillary was not voting against Trump. A pivotal difference between the two is this: regardless of whether or not Hillary is a genuine advocate for the rights of marginalized communities, these people are her primary supporters. Trump, on the other hand, became the president-elect by appealing to the very people – primarily uneducated whites according to exit polls – calling to “make America great again” at the expense of the marginalized. “This was a whitelash against a changing country,” said CNN’s Van Jones on the night of the election, “When you say you want to take your country back, you’ve got a lot of people who feel we’re not represented well either.”

Realistically, my vote would not have made a difference to the electoral college. However, what if everyone who had similar dilemmas about the election had showed up to the polls anyways – especially in swing states? What if everyone who didn’t vote, voted third party, or – god help us – wrote in Hennessy or Harambe on the ballot had instead chosen their lesser evil? Who would then have become the president-elect? Had I voted, I might offer my opinion.

2 thoughts on “Why I regret not voting in the election

  1. Morgan,

    Would you and others at least correct the same falsehood that’s on a Trump-like level? Hilary Clinton did not call African-American “children” super predators. She said it of gang members. And anybody in the 1990’s that set foot in the Los Angeles area know that there was no bigger indicator of diversity than gangs. As someone who was ready to fight when someone would claim young blacks must be in a gang simply because they were black the ready embrace of this falsehood in rushing to be a victim is particularly irksome. Suddenly “gang member” = African American? No wonder Trump won.

    When one adds in that she was the First Lady. Not the President. Not a Senator. Joe Biden wrote the Bill (he was a Senator) and Bernie Sanders voted for it. Two facts lost in the rush to claim victim-hood. The 90’s were a different time. There was no Obama coalition. White voters ruled. On November 8 folks were reminded that they still do. And people who never knew anything but a Democratic Congress with a Republican President or Democratic President with Democratic or Republican Congress are about to get a reality check real soon.

  2. Thanks for your honesty, Morgan. I hope that others will arrive at the same conclusion soon. Voting matters and we need not wait for 2020. We need to begin organizing for the mid-term elections in 2018. The entire House of Representatives is up for grabs.

    I encourage The Lasso to publish more stories about the importance of voting. Doing so would be a great way to begin the process of doing the hard work it will take to repair the damage that will be done under Trump’s presidency.

    -Dr. Danielle Phillips-Cunningham (Professor in MCWGS Department)

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