The “not voting is copping out” fallacy

Some people just aren’t going to vote for president on November 8.  They may vote for other offices and referendums on the ballot, but not for president.  Some say this is copping out.  I don’t think it is.   I’ll try to make my case after the jump. [Read more…]

The “a vote for a third party is a vote for Clinton” fallacy

Those who say they are voting for a third party or independent candidate often hear that doing so is equivalent to a vote for Hillary Clinton.

In this reasoning, not voting for Donald Trump is voting for Clinton.  This is because, I assume, a vote that Trump doesn’t get is helping his opponent win her majority.

But you could just as easily say that voting for a third party or independent candidate is also a vote that Hillary Clinton doesn’t get.

[Read more…]

The “throw away your vote” fallacy

If you vote for a third party or an independent candidate, some say, you are throwing away your vote.

So your vote has meaning only if you vote for someone who could win?  That makes no sense to me. [Read more…]

Voting for a candidate without “supporting” him

Political scientist James Campbell doesn’t like Donald Trump much, but he is still going to vote for him.  He argues that there is a difference between “supporting” a candidate and “voting” for him.  He says that he does not “support” Trump–rather, he will feel free to criticize him and denounce him–and yet he will still vote for him, since the alternative is Hillary Clinton.

What do you think of Campbell’s distinction?  Is he parsing those words too fine?  Isn’t voting for someone a tangible act of support, indeed, the support that really matters?  Or is he providing a helpful way forward for anti-Trump conservatives? [Read more…]

Outcome-based vs. morality-based voting

A lot of us dislike both of the major party candidates.  Quite a few of us also dislike the minor party and independent candidates.  So we are agonizing over what to do come election day.  Perhaps it would help to think through what factors should enter into the act of voting.

The usual approach is to consider which candidate, in your opinion, would be the best in office.  Or, whleast bad.  The focus is on the outcome or possible outcome of the election.

John Mark Reynolds proposes another approach.  He gives a scenario of an election between three very-flawed 19th century candidates.  (He says nothing about the current presidential election, though we know what he means.)

He argues that one person’s vote will do little to have an impact on the election’s outcome.  But it will have an impact on the person casting the vote.  Voting for an evil candidate–even the lesser of two evils–involves the voter in that evil.  Presumably, though Reynolds does not say this, the best solution would be not to vote at all.  Reynolds is arguing for what we could call morality-based voting.

What do you think of his argument (excerpted and linked to after the jump)?

Is there a moral duty to vote?  Is Reynold’s approach a moralistic quest for purity that evades our responsibility as we live in a fallen world?

What are other ways to think about voting?  What other factors should be considered? [Read more…]

Millennials make political gestures, but don’t vote

Only a small percentage of the Millennial generation vote, according to a new study.  That’s not to say they aren’t interested in politics.  But they tend to express that interest by doing things like putting rainbows on their FaceBook pages and making other online gestures rather than actually voting.  Political views become identity markers, like the clothes they wear or the music they listen to, rather than anything having to do with actually governing.  Of course, Millennials are not the only ones who feel this way without voting.  This may explain today’s political landscape, which is big on image and ideology, but weak on pragmatic policy. [Read more…]