By Staff Writer Jake Hunsinger
It is three months until the start of the primary voting season. While Republican President Donald Trump is not facing any serious primary challengers, things are getting messy in the crowded Democratic field. Early voting states like Iowa has turned into a four way statistical tie between former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, while New Hampshire is fast approaching a similar situation. South Carolina is still staunch Biden territory, though it remains to be seen if this will be the case when that particular primary comes around. Yet there are whispers of some voters refusing to support the general candidate when all is said and done, depending on whom it is. So the question is; do you vote blue, no matter who? That depends on your reasons for voting in the first place.
Each candidate running has, or at the very least should have, their own vision for America. If you don’t have a vision, then you have no business running. The top tier candidates don’t differentiate much on the policies and goals, but rather the implementations and the brand of leadership they offer. Senator Bernie Sanders calls for a progressive, Democratic Socialist revolution to build a new establishment. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is running to reunite the people country and repair the political divides of the country. Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to fix the problems of the system. Vice President Joe Biden wants America to go back to normal, before the 2016 election. As a voter, you need to ask yourself if you align with and support one of these visions, find virtue in them, or can even tolerate them. If you cannot do any of that, then you need to dig deeper and ask why you want a certain candidate in the first place.
Most voters don’t throw their support behind a candidate for their policies alone, but because they like the person who is proposing them. If you fully align with your candidates proposals and have absolute faith in whom they are as a leader, then you are a rarity and a true believer, and that’s awesome. Most voters aren’t like that. Most voters like a candidate because of a combination of those policies plus their personality, their presentation, how they view the issues, and if there is faith in their leadership abilities. That last factor is the most crucial when we choose our candidates, even if we don’t always admit it. When a voter says they want Bernie Sander’s utopia, they want it because it’s Bernie’s. If a voter wants Mayor Pete’s unified America, they want it because it’s Mayor Pete’s unified America.
When confronting the blue no matter who issue for you, you need to first acknowledge that your candidate might not win. If you cannot accept that they might lose, or are fiercely bothered by that notion, then you’re less likely to vote for the Democratic candidate. Then you need to ask yourself what your own vision of America is and what do you want from these candidates? If you want to beat Donald Trump, then vote for whoever isn’t him that isn’t a third party. If you want certain progressive things to happen in government, then you should still vote Democrat because they became more feasible. But if you only want the world Bernie Sanders promises, or anything but Bernie Sanders, then you might think twice about voting for a Democrat, if at all. You should think twice, and vote with your convictions be they progressive, moderate, conservative, or whatever you call them. You don’t have to vote. You should still vote though.
It can be selfish not to vote, though not always. If you don’t know or don’t care enough to, then that is your right. It is more selfish, and abhorrently so, to refuse to vote when you are conscious of the issues at hand and have legitimate opinions and a vision for America. The right to vote is a civic duty and a privilege at the same time that we often neglect. If you can vote in your primary or participate in your caucus, do so. Support your candidate who you believe best represents what you want for America and take it from there and vote in the general. If you can’t vote for a Democrat that isn’t Bernie Sanders or whoever you wanted, then vote for Donald Trump. If you can’t stomach voting for Donald Trump, which most Democrats can’t, then vote for the Democrat. The math is simple, just don’t vote. That should not be an option for the politically aware.