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Author Topic: How do I vote when I don't care about any of the politicians?  (Read 404 times)

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Offline MymarTopic starter

How do I vote when I don't care about any of the politicians?
« on: August 26, 2015, 03:09:06 PM »
I like the idea of politics, voting, and the political system. I just don't like any of the politicians, or the bickering that so often accompanies politics. The bickering usually takes the form of, you're different. I hate you. That irks me to no end. The other thing that gets me, is when a politician talks to me like I don't understand basic politics. I would like to find something, or some cause that would be worth the pain of dealing with sifting through all of this. Also I do not like either of the two parties front runners, and voting for anyone else just seems like a waste of a vote.  Can anyone help me see the sense in actually voting?

Offline Ebb

Re: How do I vote when I don't care about any of the politicians?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2015, 03:30:52 PM »
I think it makes a big difference whether you're talking about national, state or local elections (or the equivalent if you're not in the US). On the local level, often the candidates will have definitive positions on specific local issues that are pretty clear-cut. Whether to increase zoning for businesses downtown, whether to allow or restrict fracking, whether to abolish the local curfew. With these sorts of things it's often fairly easy to figure out which candidate aligns most closely with the way you think, and how putting that candidate into office will affect your daily life.

As you climb up the ladder, though, I agree that politics can end up obscuring much of the link between putting the person in office and how it will touch you personally. And I'd also agree that there's more and more horseshit as you go up the mountain, to the point where it can get kind of hard to distinguish what positions a candidate actually cares about, versus which positions they're espousing just because a poll or a focus group tells them that that's the way to win.


For the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, I've been following the candidates pretty closely on both sides, just because I enjoy politics as sort of a spectator sport. For someone in the US who's trying to make a decision without investing that amount of time and effort, I'd offer one potential shortcut:

Look at the last dozen or so major Supreme Court decisions. See which ones you agree with and which ones you disagree with. For the ones you agree with, look at which justices voted on "your" side. If you tend to agree with the decisions made by Roberts, Thomas, Alito and Scalia, then you probably ought to vote Republican in the next presidential election. If you tend to agree with the decisions made by Sotomayor, Ginsberg, Breyer and Kagan then you probably ought to vote Democrat in the next election.

Reason being, there are very likely to be several court openings in the next four to eight years, and the party that holds the White House gets to name the replacement judges (with Senate approval). Supreme Court decisions can have a very direct and profound effect on the lives of everyone in the country, in some cases far more than legislation passed by Congress. Think of things like marriage equality, constitutionality of Obamacare, Citizens United campaign funding, abortion rights, etc. It is an almost certainty that many equally impactful decisions will be made over the next eight years, and the person who is chosen to be president next will, indirectly, have a huge influence over which way these decisions come out.

Here are helpful links for looking at the major Supreme Court cases in 2014 and 2015:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/19/us/major-supreme-court-decisions-in-2014.html
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/us/major-supreme-court-cases-in-2015.html

Note how often the justices named above tend to vote in blocs. This isn't evidence of collusion; it's a genuine difference of opinion and often strongly-held core beliefs.

For someone (not necessarily you) who wants to invest only a half hour or so between now and the presidential election, looking over those two pages and coming up with a decision based solely on this one issue is not a half-bad way to go. You can then safely ignore things until it's time to vote.


Offline Oniya

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Re: How do I vote when I don't care about any of the politicians?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2015, 09:00:37 PM »
At this point, 'front runner' is still a nebulous, mutable thing.  There are something like 16 Republican candidates at the moment, and even the smaller Democrat field is closely contested.  If there is a 'non-front-runner' in one of the two major parties that you do like, check to see if your state has open or closed primaries ('closed' means you have to 'declare' D or R in order to vote in the primary, while 'open' means that you can still be 'undeclared' and vote in the primary.)  Vote for your candidate of choice in the primary, and there's a better chance of them becoming the front-runner.  Declaring your party affiliation does not lock you in to voting either way in the election-proper.

After the primaries, when the official Democrat and Republican nominees are declared, then you can revisit the question of whether either of the two major parties has earned your loyalty.