Make Your Vote Matter

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Let’s get one thing clear right up front – no matter who you vote for, your vote for President doesn’t count.

It’s a fact.

If you go into the polling booth on November 8 thinking that your ballot could potentially put Hillary over the top and save the country from four years of a disastrous Trump presidency (or vice versa) then you are tragically mistaken. As far as the actual election is concerned, your vote doesn’t mean squat.

Want proof?

In 1824 Andrew Jackson received 38,221 more votes than John Quincy Adams, but lost the election.

In 1876 Samuel Tilden (remember him? … of course you don’t) beat Rutherford B. Hayes by 252,666 votes, but lost the election.

In 1888 Grover Cleveland got 94,530 more votes than Benjamin Harrison, but lost the election.

And everyone remembers the chad-fiasco of 2000, when Al Gore got half a million votes more than George W. Bush, but lost the election.

You may be asking, “How can a candidate get the most votes but still lose?” Easy, you aren’t actually voting for the President. You’re voting for “electors”. The electors then hold the real election to pick the President in December. But that doesn’t mean they will vote the way the popular vote panned out.

In 29 states the electors MUST vote for the candidate that won the most votes in their state. But that leaves 21 states with electors who can do as they damn well please. Instances of electors not following the popular vote are rare but they do happen. In 1836 all 23 of Virginia’s electors refused to vote for Vice Presidential candidate Richard Johnson, winner of Virginia’s popular vote, forcing the US Senate to select the Vice President when none of the candidates got a majority (they picked Johnson).

Imagine you live in Georgia and you vote for Donald Trump. Despite his ineptitude, Trump has a sizable lead in the Georgia polls and will probably win the state. So that means the electors are going to vote for your guy, right? Maybe.

Georgia law doesn’t require the state’s electors to follow the popular vote. All of the electors would be Republican loyalists but the Republican party hasn’t proven to be very loyal to the orange-haired pussy-grabber. There could be some electors who find Trump so repellent that they will either refuse to vote or will vote for somebody else. So, even though your guy won the state, he wouldn’t get all the state’s electoral votes because FYTW!

And, believe it or not, your vote can become even more meaningless (as if that is mathematically possible). Twice, in 1800 and 1824, the Electoral College failed to give any of the candidates a majority, thus they didn’t elect anyone. Both times the election ended up in the US House of Representatives. In 1800 the winner of the popular vote, Thomas Jefferson, was declared the winner but the story was different in 1824. Popular with the masses, Andrew Jackson won the November election and got the most votes in the Electoral College. But Congress hated him and instead selected Washington insider John Quincy Adams. Talk about a rigged election.

Hopefully by this point you understand that your vote is so disconnected from the actual process of selecting the President that it will play absolutely no part in determining who the leader of the semi-free world will be.

But your vote still matters … for two reasons.

First, your vote is symbolic. Who you vote for says something about you to other people.

Voting for Hillary tells people that you like our anemic economy, the endless warfare, and have no problem with people lying to you.

Voting for Trump tells people that you are a misogynistic bigot who thinks that wrecking the economy will somehow make you safe.

Voting for Gary Johnson tells others that you believe people have individual rights that the government must not violate and that you are tired of the ever-growing police state.

Voting for Jill Stein tells people that you want us to be a good steward of the planet while ending government racism.

The major party candidates are both widely hated, even within their own parties, and will reflect badly on you if you declare support for them. Johnson and Stein project positive messages that few dislike. Why would you want to vote for hate and corruption when you have such vastly superior choices? Voting for jerks only makes people question your judgment and intelligence.

The second and more important reason why your vote matters is because most people don’t comprehend numbers.

As I already showed you, your Presidential vote is statistically worthless. When Republicrats tell you that you’re wasting your vote by going third party, what they’re really telling you is that they suck at math. You can’t waste something that has zero statistical value. But you can use your worthless vote to scare the hell out of them.

The major parties are terrified that Johnson and Stein are “stealing” their votes. My Democrat friends have told me that my vote for Johnson is effectively a vote for Trump. And of course my Republican friends say it is a vote for Hillary. (How can I be voting for both of these morons at once?) Any rational person realizes that a vote for Johnson is only a vote for Johnson, but even if I explain to my friends that there is no way in hell that I would vote for their evil greedy corrupt candidate they still insist that my vote will allow Lying Hillary or Racist Trump to win. I know I’m not the only one assaulted by this unfathomable argument.

When it comes to politics most people are irrational, illogical, and driven by fear. We need to use this fear against them. Tell all the Republicrats you know that you’re voting for Johnson or Stein. When one inevitably tells you that you’re wasting your vote explain to him why you won’t vote for his candidate.

“I’ll vote for the Republican candidate when he stops trying to tell me who I can marry or what I can smoke.”

Or

“I’ll vote for the Democratic candidate when she stops trying to take away my means of protection and gets her hand out of my wallet.”

Or whatever reason you have. But always phrase it as “I’ll vote for your candidate when …” This will make them think that they will get your vote (even if they won’t) if they will embrace more freedom-loving and less police-staty policies. Dangle a carrot in front of them. It will take time but sooner or later they will bite.

Will your vote get Johnson or Stein elected? What, are you kidding? They don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. Hillary is going to be the next President (Hey Trump supporters! YOU’RE WASTING YOUR VOTE!), which means the Democrats won’t learn a damn thing this election.

But we might be able to convince some Republicans that they need to follow the Rand Paul – Ron Paul – Justin Amish-Thomas Massie path to more limited government and less intrusion into our personal lives.

But the only way that will happen is if you take your worthless vote and use it to make a statement by voting for a third party. Make your vote matter!

Wayne Middlesteadt is the author of Five Ways to Beat the Market and The Golden Age of Distance Running.

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Wayne Middlesteadt is a 1986 graduate of Georgia Tech and has an MBA from Georgia State University. Currently working as a financial writer and track and field historian, his latest book is Five Ways To Beat The Market.