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Old 26th October 2020, 06:35 AM   #1
shemp
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Why Many Americans Don't Vote

Why Many Americans Don't Vote

Quote:
The last time Richard Brown voted was in 2008. He had caught a couple of presidential debates on TV, and found himself liking what the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, had to say. And as a Black man, he was excited by the idea of voting for the countryís first Black president.

Then in 2012, he decided not to bother casting a second ballot for Obama. It wasnít that he had soured on the president ó he just didnít think it was necessary. ďHeís already in office Ö [so] I kinda figured he didnít need my help,Ē Brown said. He was willing to take the time out of his day to cast his vote, but he didnít think it would have an impact on the outcome. ďI know itís kind of a stupid thought, but I feel like one missed vote isnít going to change anything.Ē

Twelve years later, though, heís planning to vote again. Itís not because Brown, who is now 53 and lives in the Midwest, is newly hopeful that his vote will matter. In fact, heís not at all confident that the candidate heís supporting, Joe Biden, will win. But the stakes of this election feel personal. Over the past four years, some of his friends have changed the way they act and talk, saying hateful things about Obama or sharing racist memes on Facebook.

ďIím not even really keen on Biden,Ē Brown said. ďItís more so that Trump is bringing racist rhetoric out of a lot of people.Ē Those kinds of comments are ďreally hurtful to me, disrespectful to me,Ē he said. So heís decided to vote again this year: ďThis way, if [Biden] does lose the election, I canít say that it was my fault because I didnít vote.Ē

Every election, millions of Americans go through a similar thought process and, it turns out, lots of people feel like Brown: They think voting doesnít matter or isnít worth their time.

In any given election, between 35 and 60 percent of eligible voters donít cast a ballot. Itís not that hard to understand why. Our system doesnít make it particularly easy to vote, and the decision to carve out a few hours to cast a ballot requires a sense of motivation thatís hard for some Americans to muster every two or four years ó enthusiasm about the candidates, belief in the importance of voting itself, a sense that anything can change as the result of a single vote. ďI guess I just donít think that one personís vote can swing an election,Ē said Jon Anderson, who wonít be voting for president this year because of moral objections to both candidates.
It's a long article with a lot of data, but to me what it boils down to is that a lot of people are idiots.
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Old 26th October 2020, 06:43 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
It's a long article with a lot of data, but to me what it boils down to is that a lot of people are idiots.
The first past the post system of voting and the Electoral College also disincentivise people from voting. In about half of states it's probably pointless to vote, one party will sweep the board.

It's the same here. When I lived in Bristol my vote counted because I lived in a three-way marginal constituency. Now I'm in one of the safest of safe seats.

Under a proportional representation model there is more of an incentive to vote.
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Old 26th October 2020, 06:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
Why Many Americans Don't Vote



It's a long article with a lot of data, but to me what it boils down to is that a lot of people are idiots.
Geez, that applies to almost everything.
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Old 26th October 2020, 06:50 AM   #4
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They Did Not Vote in 2016. Why They Plan on Skipping the Election Again.

New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/26/u...gtype=Homepage
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Old 26th October 2020, 07:01 AM   #5
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Abstain is just as valid as yea and nay.
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Old 26th October 2020, 07:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Abstain is just as valid as yea and nay.
Yeah if the popular election needed a quorum like a Senate vote does.
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Old 26th October 2020, 07:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
Why Many Americans Don't Vote



It's a long article with a lot of data, but to me what it boils down to is that a lot of people are idiots.
We get the government that we deserve.
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On 15 FEB 2019 'BobTheCoward' said: "I constantly assert I am a fool."
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Old 26th October 2020, 07:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
We get the government that we deserve.
And we deserve the government that we get.
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Old 26th October 2020, 07:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Abstain is just as valid as yea and nay.
Abstaining is a statement or maneuver. What most Americans are doing is giving it ye olde meh. Binge watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians on Election Day =/= "my silence speaks volumes"
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Old 26th October 2020, 09:06 AM   #10
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Why is the attitude of so many non-voters, "meh?" Because the two parties fail to engage them and they don't see any point in voting. I think the parties like it that way.

I had a conversation with a friend who doesn't vote for all the usual reasons. "What's the point? Texas is going to vote Trump and Republican anyway." I tried to sway him: "There are about 6 million or so people like you in Texas who are registered to vote but don't vote because they think it doesn't matter. There are another 4 million or so who are old enough to vote but didn't even register. But if each of you simply said, 'I'm voting this year,' it could totally change Texas elections. The key is to vote and to get other people who think like you to vote. If I convince you and 4 others, you and they do the same . . . who knows what we can do? Just ******* vote, man! It costs you nothing but a little time and it might make a difference if we all do it."

I'm glad to say that he did indeed vote and started talking to his friends. Texas is having record turnout this year. And it's not too late to convert some "I doesn't matter" non-voters into voters. So get out there and talk to people. If that happened nationwide, I don't think Trump would stand a chance.
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Old 26th October 2020, 10:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Why is the attitude of so many non-voters, "meh?" Because the two parties fail to engage them and they don't see any point in voting. I think the parties like it that way.

I had a conversation with a friend who doesn't vote for all the usual reasons. "What's the point? Texas is going to vote Trump and Republican anyway." I tried to sway him: "There are about 6 million or so people like you in Texas who are registered to vote but don't vote because they think it doesn't matter. There are another 4 million or so who are old enough to vote but didn't even register. But if each of you simply said, 'I'm voting this year,' it could totally change Texas elections. The key is to vote and to get other people who think like you to vote. If I convince you and 4 others, you and they do the same . . . who knows what we can do? Just ******* vote, man! It costs you nothing but a little time and it might make a difference if we all do it."
I've said these exact same words to an old friend of mine regarding this election. And every national race going back to when we first met in the 80s. He'll talk politics for hours, but when it comes to voting, he, a resident of California, always makes the "it doesn't matter" excuse.

What, you want me to put on some pants and drive three miles to the junior high school and fill in a few circles with a No. 2 pencil? God, life is so hard!
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Old 26th October 2020, 10:47 AM   #12
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The difficulty with the "it won't make a difference" reasoning is that it's perfectly correct. Elections are decided by thousands, not by 1, and no alternative voting system like having multiple parties and using ranked-choice ballots will change that.

Of course, lots of people thinking that way does make a difference, but that still doesn't change the fact that every single individual who thinks that way does, in fact, make no difference, and the decision to vote or not is made by individuals, not collectively.
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Old 26th October 2020, 10:47 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
Why Many Americans Don't Vote



It's a long article with a lot of data, but to me what it boils down to is that a lot of people are idiots.
And water is wet.

It also boils down to the fact that a lot of people are lazy and/or just don't give a damn.
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Old 26th October 2020, 11:16 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Abstaining is a statement or maneuver. What most Americans are doing is giving it ye olde meh. Binge watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians on Election Day =/= "my silence speaks volumes"
No. Abstaining is a personal choice of how to exercise one's personal right to vote. There's no requirement that it be a "statement" or a "maneuver". It can simply be a personal choice.

My ballot, for example, had maybe one or two items that were both local enough that my vote might make a difference and important enough to me that my vote might actually be worth my while to cast.

But neither of those issues were so important to me that I couldn't bear the thought of my fellow citizens deciding them one way or the other without my input. In the end, I bothered to vote this year because Ms theprestige was excited to do it. Filling in the bubbles and walking down to the library to drop off the ballots was a very small price to pay for preserving matrimonial bliss in these troubled times.

I think the right to vote is very important. I'm not at all interested in making a fetish of the act of voting itself.
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Old 26th October 2020, 11:18 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Stacyhs View Post
And water is wet.

It also boils down to the fact that a lot of people are lazy and/or just don't give a damn.
It'd be interesting if all of the not-lazy, give-a-damn people had actually gotten off their asses in 2016 and moved to swing states to make sure their vote for president actually mattered the next time.
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Old 26th October 2020, 11:18 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Regnad Kcin View Post
I've said these exact same words to an old friend of mine regarding this election. And every national race going back to when we first met in the 80s. He'll talk politics for hours, but when it comes to voting, he, a resident of California, always makes the "it doesn't matter" excuse.

What, you want me to put on some pants and drive three miles to the junior high school and fill in a few circles with a No. 2 pencil? God, life is so hard!
Eureka! That's what it is! All the people who don't vote are the same people who hated taking standardized tests in school!
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Old 26th October 2020, 11:19 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
The difficulty with the "it won't make a difference" reasoning is that it's perfectly correct. Elections are decided by thousands, not by 1, and no alternative voting system like having multiple parties and using ranked-choice ballots will change that.

Of course, lots of people thinking that way does make a difference, but that still doesn't change the fact that every single individual who thinks that way does, in fact, make no difference, and the decision to vote or not is made by individuals, not collectively.
IOW - All politics are local. Vote where your vote actually makes a difference to an issue that actually affects you in your day to day life.
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Old 26th October 2020, 11:40 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No. Abstaining is a personal choice of how to exercise one's personal right to vote. There's no requirement that it be a "statement" or a "maneuver". It can simply be a personal choice.

My ballot, for example, had maybe one or two items that were both local enough that my vote might make a difference and important enough to me that my vote might actually be worth my while to cast.

But neither of those issues were so important to me that I couldn't bear the thought of my fellow citizens deciding them one way or the other without my input. In the end, I bothered to vote this year because Ms theprestige was excited to do it. Filling in the bubbles and walking down to the library to drop off the ballots was a very small price to pay for preserving matrimonial bliss in these troubled times.

I think the right to vote is very important. I'm not at all interested in making a fetish of the act of voting itself.
Agreed. I have not voted for local matters where I felt I did not know enough about the candidates or issue. Abstaining, to me, suggests a deliberate choice to not place a vote for one reason or another. I think a lot of my fellow Americans don't give it any thought at all, making 'abstaining' perhaps the wrong word. Social philosopher Geddy Lee opines that if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice, but I think you can not even make the former choice. The truly numb among us are woefully underrepresented
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Old 26th October 2020, 11:52 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Why is the attitude of so many non-voters, "meh?" Because the two parties fail to engage them and they don't see any point in voting. I think the parties like it that way.

I had a conversation with a friend who doesn't vote for all the usual reasons. "What's the point? Texas is going to vote Trump and Republican anyway." I tried to sway him: "There are about 6 million or so people like you in Texas who are registered to vote but don't vote because they think it doesn't matter. There are another 4 million or so who are old enough to vote but didn't even register. But if each of you simply said, 'I'm voting this year,' it could totally change Texas elections. The key is to vote and to get other people who think like you to vote. If I convince you and 4 others, you and they do the same . . . who knows what we can do? Just ******* vote, man! It costs you nothing but a little time and it might make a difference if we all do it."

I'm glad to say that he did indeed vote and started talking to his friends. Texas is having record turnout this year. And it's not too late to convert some "I doesn't matter" non-voters into voters. So get out there and talk to people. If that happened nationwide, I don't think Trump would stand a chance.
One of my kids will be voting in their first presidential election this year and I have completely failed at conveying how amazing it is that their vote may actually make a difference in Texas. I can't seem to get across how solidly Republican this state has been for so long and how amazing it would be for it to finally flip. Sure, MJ isn't perfect and Biden is in many ways just another old white guy, but to see a Democrat win on a statewide level after so long? I have tried, but I have failed. Nonetheless, they voted. So, there is that.
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Old 26th October 2020, 11:53 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
The difficulty with the "it won't make a difference" reasoning is that it's perfectly correct. Elections are decided by thousands, not by 1, and no alternative voting system like having multiple parties and using ranked-choice ballots will change that.
Maybe if you're only talking about Presidential elections, but at the state and local level one vote can make a difference. In Kentucky's 2018 election there were 2 elections and one referendum each determined by a literal coin toss. And since it was a non-presidential election year, hardly anyone voted.
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Old 26th October 2020, 12:19 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Agreed. I have not voted for local matters where I felt I did not know enough about the candidates or issue. Abstaining, to me, suggests a deliberate choice to not place a vote for one reason or another. I think a lot of my fellow Americans don't give it any thought at all, making 'abstaining' perhaps the wrong word. Social philosopher Geddy Lee opines that if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice, but I think you can not even make the former choice. The truly numb among us are woefully underrepresented
I'd say the truly numb among us are entirely represented, both by their own choice, and by the rest of us whom they are content to leave at the wheel.

The great "tragedy" of modern civilization is not that it isn't perfect, but that it works well enough that half the population is content to let it ride.
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Old 26th October 2020, 12:24 PM   #22
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Quote:
So heís decided to vote again this year: ďThis way, if [Biden] does lose the election, I canít say that it was my fault because I didnít vote
This is what many non-voters don't realize - it's not whether your vote 'counts', but knowing you did the best you could. Nobody can accuse you of "getting the government you deserve" if you voted against it.

In 2016 Hillary got 65,853,514 votes. She lost, but every vote she got has meaning. And while your vote may seem invisible, if you voted for her then it's a part of that number. See that last digit? Your vote is there. Without you it would have been 65,853,513, a totally different number!

Hillary got 2,868,686 more votes than Trump, yet still lost. Does that mean those 2,868,686 voters shouldn't have bothered? No! Every one of them makes a statement - that the people preferred her to Trump. And the votes for Trump? Deplorable, every one. It may seem insignificant and ineffectual, but your one vote still counts.
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Old 26th October 2020, 12:25 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ZirconBlue View Post
Maybe if you're only talking about Presidential elections, but at the state and local level one vote can make a difference. In Kentucky's 2018 election there were 2 elections and one referendum each determined by a literal coin toss. And since it was a non-presidential election year, hardly anyone voted.
I don't see the problem. Most elections, voters shouldn't be too worried about this guy versus that guy. If the majority of citizens look at the issues, look at the candidates, and conclude "looks like it'll be pretty much okay either way; I'm gone fishin'; they can toss a coin for all I care", that's an almost ideal outcome in my opinion.

It'd be different if Kentucky were being run by a Czar with absolute power over life and death for all Kentuckians, and the guy who gets elected can do whatever he wants for the next four years. Then you might want to skip the coin toss in favor of doing everything you can to make sure the kinder, gentler Czar gets the job. Including maybe even knobbling the other guy rather than risk his getting elected. But that's not even true of the Presidency.
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Old 26th October 2020, 12:32 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Abstain is just as valid as yea and nay.
But not voting is not the same as abstaining.

Handing in a blank ballots is abstaining.

But in the current system we have next to know way of telling whether someone didn't vote because they didn't want to or wanted to but were prevented from doing so.
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Old 26th October 2020, 12:39 PM   #25
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On the other hand,if you don't follow the news and study current events,probably better if you don't vote.....
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Old 26th October 2020, 12:53 PM   #26
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I vote in every single election, but I also recognize that my vote in the presidential election means precisely nothing. Because my state is winner-take-all, my vote has not benefited my preferred candidate in over 25 years.

I will continue to vote in every election, but if I going to not vote, that'd be why.
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Old 26th October 2020, 01:14 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
This is what many non-voters don't realize - it's not whether your vote 'counts', but knowing you did the best you could. Nobody can accuse you of "getting the government you deserve" if you voted against it.
Of course they could. Voting is the least of your civic duties. "It's not my fault, I voted for the other guy" is a passive-aggressive cop-out. It's hardly better than just taking the day off and going hiking.

Congratulations on exercising your right to vote. But what about your right to free speech? What about your right to free assembly, and free travel? What did you actually do to change the hearts and minds of any of your fellow citizens?

I'm not saying you have to do those things. I'm not saying you're wrong if you don't. I am saying that absolving yourself of responsibility because you voted is a cop-out. You've made a fetish out of voting, and in almost the worst possible way.
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Old 26th October 2020, 01:23 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
I vote in every single election, but I also recognize that my vote in the presidential election means precisely nothing. Because my state is winner-take-all, my vote has not benefited my preferred candidate in over 25 years.

I will continue to vote in every election, but if I going to not vote, that'd be why.
In the past 25 years, you've voted for mayors and judges, for city councilmembers and school superintendents. You've voted for school bonds and tax relief, for local conservation and local redevelopment. There's a lot more on your ballot than the presidential election. I'd say almost all of it is more important to your life than who gets to be Chief Executive for the next four years.

You're fixated on your least-impactful vote, on the least-impactful issue to you in your daily life in your local community. Talkin' about the president... The president doesn't even make laws. At the very least you should be talking about your Senator, or your Representative.
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Old 26th October 2020, 01:24 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Of course they could. Voting is the least of your civic duties. "It's not my fault, I voted for the other guy" is a passive-aggressive cop-out. It's hardly better than just taking the day off and going hiking.

Congratulations on exercising your right to vote. But what about your right to free speech? What about your right to free assembly, and free travel? What did you actually do to change the hearts and minds of any of your fellow citizens?

I'm not saying you have to do those things. I'm not saying you're wrong if you don't. I am saying that absolving yourself of responsibility because you voted is a cop-out. You've made a fetish out of voting, and in almost the worst possible way.
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Old 26th October 2020, 01:28 PM   #30
theprestige
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
But not voting is not the same as abstaining.
It's literally the same thing.

Quote:
Handing in a blank ballots is abstaining.
It's a colossal waste of time. My non-vote gets counted the same whether I hand in a blank ballot or not.

Quote:
But in the current system we have next to know way of telling whether someone didn't vote because they didn't want to or wanted to but were prevented from doing so.
People who are prevented from voting can report that they are prevented from voting. I think that's a pretty good way of telling whether they were prevented from voting.
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Old 26th October 2020, 01:31 PM   #31
Upchurch
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
In the past 25 years, you've voted for mayors and judges, for city councilmembers and school superintendents. You've voted for school bonds and tax relief, for local conservation and local redevelopment. There's a lot more on your ballot than the presidential election.
Yes, that's what I said.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You're fixated on your least-impactful vote, on the least-impactful issue to you in your daily life in your local community.
I live in St. Louis. Trump and his stoking racist fires has had a fairly big impact on my local community. I'm sure Charlottesville and many other cities feel much the same way.

But here's the thing: I'm not particularly self-centered. I actually do care about more than what happens effects my daily life.


Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
At the very least you should be talking about your Senator, or your Representative.
Who says I don't?
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Old 26th October 2020, 01:44 PM   #32
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Yes, that's what I said.
It's nothing at all like what you said.

Quote:
I live in St. Louis. Trump and his stoking racist fires has had a fairly big impact on my local community. I'm sure Charlottesville and many other cities feel much the same way.
I'm sure whatever is "stoking racist fires" in your community, it's how you and your fellow community members vote, and speak, and act, that will predominantly decide whether those fires get banked or extinguished. Not how someone in California does or does not vote for president.

Quote:
But here's the thing: I'm not particularly self-centered. I actually do care about more than what happens effects my daily life.
Ah. Gotcha. That's why you keep casting a pointless vote for president. Because of how much you care about stuff.

Quote:
Who says I don't?
I'm saying you're not doing it in this thread, where the discussion is happening and you're participating in it. But I understand if you're saving your real discussion for some other more meaningful venue.
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Old 26th October 2020, 01:48 PM   #33
Upchurch
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Ah. Gotcha. That's why you keep casting a pointless vote for president. Because of how much you care about stuff.
People, not stuff.
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Old 26th October 2020, 01:58 PM   #34
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
People, not stuff.
And your vote for president helps the people you care about how, exactly?

ETA: And of course it's the people whose daily lives are closest to your own, that are most affected by the votes you make. It's not just about voting your own interest. It's about voting for the things you have the most influence over. Your vote for president won't have much an effect for anyone around you, nor much of an effect for anyone distant from you. But your vote for city council, or downtown homeless shelters, or municipal police oversight, could very well have an impact on many people in your own community.

Everybody wants to boast about how they did their part, voting for Biden. Nobody wants to boast about how they did their part, voting for an elementary school upgrade bond. But that second thing is the important thing, the thing they should be boasting about.

Last edited by theprestige; 26th October 2020 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 26th October 2020, 02:13 PM   #35
Upchurch
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
And your vote for president helps the people you care about how, exactly?
Just off the top of my head? How about Trump's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and his child-separation policy?


You managed to add this between when I read your post and when I hit the button to reply:
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
ETA: And of course it's the people whose daily lives are closest to your own, that are most affected by the votes you make.
Says who? Why can I only care about the people whose daily lives are closest to mine? The Presidential elections, which is what I was specifically referring to, effects people all over the world and even more so within the country.

...unless you mean that you can only care about the people whose daily lives are closest to your own?
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Old 26th October 2020, 02:15 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
We get the government that we deserve.
Originally Posted by shemp View Post
And we deserve the government that we get.
This sounds pithy, but semantically it is the exact same statement.
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Old 26th October 2020, 02:27 PM   #37
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Just off the top of my head? How about Trump's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and his child-separation policy?
You've already explained that your vote for president has no effect on those policies:
Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
I vote in every single election, but I also recognize that my vote in the presidential election means precisely nothing. Because my state is winner-take-all, my vote has not benefited my preferred candidate in over 25 years.
Regarding COVID-19, your local voting will have a real impact on the people whose lives you can actually effect. Your voting for president will not.

Quote:
You managed to add this between when I read your post and when I hit the button to reply:

Says who? Why can I only care about the people whose daily lives are closest to mine? The Presidential elections, which is what I was specifically referring to, effects people all over the world and even more so within the country.
And you've already explained that your vote for president has zero effect on all those people.

It's not a question of who you care about. It's a question of whose lives you can actually affect with your voting.
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Old 26th October 2020, 02:39 PM   #38
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As far as the election is concerned, if Mr theprestige didn't vote, it could be due to a number of reasons:

1) Meh. Not interested enough. Could not be bothered.
2) He really wanted to vote, but was mysteriously de-registered without notice, or wasn't sent a ballot in time, or was found to be black-while-voting, or could not get to a returning station or voting station, or was "accidentally" waylaid by "3% poll watchers", etc.
3) Is now dead, presumably for tax reasons.

The problem is that all of these produce exactly the same result. Mr theprestige did not vote so his views and decisions on who governs him have not been recorded. So somebody else will be making those decisions for him.

Some people say that voting is choosing the best of a bad bunch. But NOT voting is choosing the WORST of a bad bunch.
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Last edited by Norman Alexander; 26th October 2020 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 26th October 2020, 02:44 PM   #39
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Actually, I'm thinking the main reason Americans don't vote is that there is no payoff. Besides the immediate gratification thing, we like to see ourselves as personally influential, not a small part of a whole. Better to spend that time flexing in our personal spheres of influence.
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Old 26th October 2020, 03:02 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
And your vote for president helps the people you care about how, exactly?

ETA: And of course it's the people whose daily lives are closest to your own, that are most affected by the votes you make. It's not just about voting your own interest. It's about voting for the things you have the most influence over. Your vote for president won't have much an effect for anyone around you, nor much of an effect for anyone distant from you. But your vote for city council, or downtown homeless shelters, or municipal police oversight, could very well have an impact on many people in your own community.

Everybody wants to boast about how they did their part, voting for Biden. Nobody wants to boast about how they did their part, voting for an elementary school upgrade bond. But that second thing is the important thing, the thing they should be boasting about.
I think abstractly, you are fundamentally correct. Your vote on the local level is much more impactful than your vote on the national level. This reflects (or should reflect) the reality of our lives: what happens locally has much more impact on our daily lives than what happens on the national level. However, the main argument still stands: somewhere around a little less than half of registered voters don't vote and less than that even bother to register in the first place. That means they are basically saying, "meh," to the important local issues and races. If we had more engagement on the local level, we'd have more engagement on the national level.

As a matter of self (or community) interest, people should get out and vote on local elections because your vote has real impact locally. And while you are there, filling out a ballot, you might as well voice your opinion nationally, even if you think it doesn't matter. And since you are voting, why not take a some time to think about the issues and candidates?

The biggest problem in America is that we have somehow made talking about politics a taboo issue. We've made it a subject that we can't engage each other on and I think that reduces both interest in being a part of the process as well as keeping ourselves informed. We (collectively) know more about and actively discuss the people who are on our favorite sports teams and star in our favorite tv shows/movies instead of the people who are vastly more important to our daily lives -the people governing our cities, counties, states and country. You can post about sports on social media and get some discussion, even if it's heated, going but if you post about politics, you get nothing except maybe some thumbs up or partisan invective. For some strange reason, politics is extremely personal -you aren't supposed to talk about who you are voting for and why; you do you and I'll do me. This is an incredibly screwed up situation! Politics is the one thing that affects us all equally but it's the one thing we can't talk about.

I call ********! Start being more vocal, sharing your opinions. Encourage and respond to good faith discussion; ignore the trolls. We can sort of do that here; why can't we do it when our names are visibily attached? And it starts with me. I've been too quiet when posting and talking in real life. That has to change right now. I encourage you guys to try and make that change as well. It's time to lift the cultural taboo on politics.
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