Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Vote for the best candidate for you, not them

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Originally published on on Wed, 01/02/2008 – 12:14pm

Toward the end of the campaign, Senator Clinton urged voters in the Jan. 3 caucuses to “pick a president” rather than simply supporting a candidate who appeals to them personally. Actually, that is the completely opposite strategy voters should use at this point.

This cynicism that lives in the political process is why many kind-hearted decent voters want change, but can’t seem to find their way to expressing it.

We have a very solid list of candidates, any of whom would advance the many causes that we believe. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards occupy the same space on the ballot as Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel.

So I suggest a novel thought process on who to vote for in the Democratic primaries and caucuses: vote for who you want to vote for.

I still remember the first presidential primary season when I voted back in 1988 (I barely missed voting in 1984). By the time the Michigan caucus came around, Dukakis was likely in good enough shape, so my vote may not mattered in the grand scheme. So when faced with my first vote, I looked at the ballot and said to myself, “Well, my vote isn’t going to decide who gets selected. Might as well vote for who I want to.”

So even though I didn’t vote for the “winner,” I still voted for who I thought the winner should be.

My fellow Michigan voters in both major parties felt the same way: The winners from that year were Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson. Needless to say, neither of them won the nomination, but it certainly gained some attention for making bold, “go against the flow” decision-making.

Most of us don’t live in Iowa or New Hampshire or the handful of states that “decide” the nominees. The idea presented to us who are stuck in that situation is to pile onto the nominee and give them our vote.

That is not what voting is all about.

This year, Superstar-mega Tuesday (February 5) might still be in play. And I live in one of the many states voting on that day. So it’s possible for the first time in — ever — my vote might make an impact in the primary season. So how am I going to vote? The same way I always do it, vote for the best person on the ballot.

When November rolls around, we can then follow Senator Clinton’s advice and “pick a president.” At that point, the extensive selection currently running will be narrowed down to one. And that person will be up against a Bush wannabe on the Republican ticket, and several “third party” candidates. Then we do have to pick the best choice there.

If you were going to the buffet, and you had a choice between broccoli and spoiled food, you would pick broccoli. But among all the vegetables, you might have one you would rather have than broccoli. But you’d still pick broccoli over food that would make you sick, even if you hated broccoli.

This time of year, the beauty of the ticket (except for Michigan and Florida) is you get to vote for the most ideal person who is running. In November, it may be the lesser of two evils. In the winter and spring, you have a plethora of choices.

Don’t get caught up in the horse race. There are more than 3 horses in the “race.” Take your time and research all the candidates. You might find that one of the top 3 most deserves your vote, and that’s okay, too. Just don’t pick a candidate because that person is ahead, or “well it’s the best of the top people.”

Imagine if January 4 came, and the headlines read: “Kucinich, Paul take Iowa” or something similar. Imagine that the MSM might stop covering this presidential campaign as a horse race. The only people who have that power are the voters – and that’s you.


Written by democracysoup

January 2, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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