Friday, May 20, 2016

Throwing Your Vote Away is Predictable and Boring

I don't think Doctor Jeffrey A. Singer understands anything about America and our political process, and here's why:

I still wish to participate in the electoral process. Choosing not to vote is always an option. But I prefer to express my opinion in a less passive manner. Not voting certainly provides the satisfaction of knowing that I did not sanction or legitimize the offerings of the two major parties. But that satisfaction is only personal and private. I want to more actively make my views known. Using the following chain of logic, I have found a positive way to express myself through, what I believe, is the most effective allocation of my vote in November:

1) According to Professor Ilya Somin in Democracy and Political Ignorance, my vote has, on average, a roughly 1 in 60 million chance of being the decisive vote in the Presidential election. (It might be a great as 1 in 10 million in my relatively small state of Arizona. It would have a roughly 1 in a billion chance of being decisive if I lived in California.)

Your vote is an individual expression of a preference for the direction of the country. It is self-centered to think that your individual vote is "the chosen one" and has more value or meaning over all of the other votes. In this example, you can see that Dr. Singer believes that it is important for him to know that he matters more than everyone else and is thereby dissuaded from voting because there is a very remote chance that someone will hold up his individual vote and say "this is the one that decided everything!" Your vote is a community effort. If you do not value community, you're likely going to have the wrong ideas about democracy to begin with.

2) If I vote for the lesser of evils and hold my nose, my vote is blended in with millions of others—there is no way to register my dissatisfaction with the choices the two major parties have given me. There is no way to separate those who voted for a lesser of two evils from those who voted because they actually LIKED the candidate.

Dr. Singer fears being blended in with other votes. This is elitism, not informed participation. He wants his individual vote to matter more than all others and you can see his privilege being amplified here--he wants to be the decider. There is a world and he is at the center of it, doling out opinion and expecting to be accorded acclaim and notoriety. He does not value the expressed will of the majority and believes himself to be a part of a learned elite that should dictate outcomes. A Libertarian who flirts with fascism is no different than any other Libertarian--ridiculous, but still smarter than you, dummy.

3) If I vote for the Libertarian party candidate, I am directly affecting the vote total of that candidate. Because that candidate will get fewer total votes than the major party candidates, when all votes are totaled up, I will have had a greater effect on raising the total percentage of votes for the Libertarian candidate. If the Libertarian candidate garners say, 5 percent of the vote as opposed to 1 percent, then my vote made a greater impact in making a statement than it would have if it was folded in with the 40 or 50 million voters who voted for a major party candidate.

By voting for the Libertarian candidate, who will not win, Dr. Singer will be throwing his vote away on a meaningless protest. Anyone can run for President but to get elected President, you have to be a member of one of the two major parties. If you're not, then you're engaging in an exercise that demonstrates that you should not be elected President because of your inability to figure out how our system works. Anyone can play football. If you don't play football on a team, you're just playing with yourself. And if your goal is to win the Super Bowl, you have to play for a team that can actually win. You cannot win the Super Bowl by running around in the grass in the middle of nowhere with a football wedged up your ass. Protest votes for Libertarians, Greens, Ralph Nader, H. Ross Perot, et al, are valid expressions of protest except in the case of American democracy because, hello, we have a two party system. This is low-information voting in action. 

4) If the Libertarian candidate gets say, 5 percent of the vote, then that clearly means that 5 percent of the voters chose a candidate that they KNEW had absolutely no chance of winning, rather than choosing the lesser of two evils. What’s more, they chose the candidate with the most pro-freedom, pro-Constitution, pro-Bill of Rights program. That sends a clear message.

Voting for a candidate who can't win sends a pretty clear message--you are a self-centered, low-information voter who does not understand how the American political system works. This is not a cause for celebration.


5) By casting my vote for the Libertarian presidential candidate, my vote is actually more meaningful and makes more of a statement.

If you make an uninformed vote, you do not matter in the least because the votes that do matter are the ones that actually elected the President. Protest votes are just lost opportunities to demonstrate familiarity and comprehension of how America works. They are an expression of individual beliefs that have no outcome on the larger effort to make a choice. There's a reason why Americans reject Libertarianism as an ideology. It does not work and no one wants to live in a country where their house burns down because a local company went broke trying to create a private fire department.

My conclusion: Voting for the lesser of two evils is statistically and strategically wasting my vote. I will vote Libertarian for president this year. This rationale does not necessarily apply to how I will vote in the down ballot races, where my vote has a greater numerical impact, I have a greater ability to directly communicate my views, and I might have less marked dissatisfaction with many of the candidates.

Dr. Jeffery Singer - probably good at doctoring, not so good at making an informed decision about how to participate in his community as an informed voter.

And, quick question--if a doctor is a Libertarian, he made himself what he is today without having to go to school, rely on the government, or get help from others, right? 

Jeffrey A. Singer is a general surgeon in private practice in metropolitan Phoenix, AZ. He is principal and founder of Valley Surgical Clinics, Ltd., the largest and oldest group private surgical practice in Arizona. He was integrally involved in the creation and passage of the Arizona Health Care Freedom Act, and serves as treasurer of the US Health Freedom Coalition, which promotes state constitutional protections of freedom of choice in health care decisions. He is a regular contributor to Arizona Medicine, the journal of the Arizona Medical Association. He writes and speaks extensively on regional and national public policy, with a specific focus on the areas of health care policy and the harmful effects of drug prohibition. He received his B.A. from Brooklyn College (CUNY) and his M.D. from New York Medical College. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

That's a mountain of contradictions I just can't process right now.

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