The Wasted Vote

Recently, my mother and aunt were discussing the bailout bill and the elections. They are both Obama supporters although my mother traditionally supports Republicans. My aunt asked my mother for whom I was going to vote come November. When my mom told her that I would be voting for Ralph Nader, my aunt said: “Oh. So he’s going to waste his vote.”

I’m really sick of hearing this silly talk of wasted votes! Let’s settle this thing.

In order to have any meaningful discussion about what it means for a vote to be “wasted”, we have to understand what we intend to accomplish by voting. We are constantly told by the media that voting is our chance to express ourselves – our chance to stand up and be counted and heard. While I submit that voting is a pretty sad excuse for political expression, let’s run with this common notion about what voting means.

If I am to have any chance of expressing myself politically and supporting those political ideals and practices which I hold dear, then rationally speaking I need to vote for the candidate whose ideals and actions line up most completely with my own. I have thoroughly examined the positions and political history of John McCain and Barack Obama and find both candidates quite disappointing. On the other hand, I find Ralph Nader matches up quite well with me on issue after issue. Thus, given our established criteria for the meaning of voting, I would be wasting my vote if I did not vote for Ralph Nader.

The way supporters of Barack Obama talk sometimes you would think the most important thing about voting is to make sure you vote for the side that is going to win! Now that’s what I call a wasted and meaningless vote.

Voting for the lesser of two evils gets you nothing but an endless circle of evil.

Vote for the candidate who best reflects your ideals or don’t vote at all.

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