Defensive Voting is Offensive

Defensive Voting is Offensive March 28, 2016

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Confession: I was prepared to do it. I was prepared to commit defensive voting in the Maryland Presidential primary in May. In a way, perhaps I am, since I am a registered independent, and in Maryland’s closed primary system, where only registered Republicans can vote for Republicans and only registered Democrats can vote for Democrats, I should be sitting at home.

Defensive voting is getting a lot of play this primary season. I’m a political junkie and I’d never heard of it before last fall. Defensive voting is the strategy of voting against someone instead of for someone in the primary. Voting against someone may be done by actually voting for someone else (thus voting against the person you don’t want) or by voting for the person you don’t want so they (theoretically) face someone on the other side you believe will beat them.


This reminds me of my ex-husband’s family’s longstanding tradition of negative rooting in sports. When the enemy is not playing your team and you want your team’s enemy to lose, you cheer for them to win, thus jinxing them. I’m sure this is often employed in Vegas and other betting locales.

As an independent, I decided I wanted to vote in the primary, and my first inclination many months ago was to register as a Republican so I could vote against Donald Trump. Then, as the GOP field narrowed and I saw what choices I was left with, this tactic did not seem so appealing. Also, since Maryland’s primary is so late in the season, it seemed as if Trump would have the nomination wrapped up by Maryland, thus spoiling my opportunity to deny him anything.

Another factor against my defensive voting strategy was the unlikely continuation of the popularity of Bernie Sanders. It is not so much that I am a Hillary Clinton fan as I am decidedly not a Bernie Sanders fan. For this reason, I decided to register as a Democrat so I can vote for Clinton in May.

That is, unless something spectacular happens between now and April 5, which is the last day I can change my registration.

Like, I decide to negative root. Go, team Trump!

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