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.