I voted for . . .

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all of the Libertarian candidates on the ballot.  For the races that the only option was a Republican or Democrat, I voted for some of each based on a small amount of research into the candidates and their stances. 

I have to admit, I was torn with a few of the races.  Specifically for the U.S. Senate and House.  I feel as though it’s best when the Senate, House and Presidency are not all held by the same party.  Basically I think it’s best when they don’t get anything done because they can’t agree.  When they do ‘accomplish’ things, it rarely seems to really benefit the people.

So I almost voted for the Democrats in these races.  The thing is that I have bigger issues that I feel very passionately about.  I think there are deep problems with our entire election system and Democrats are just as much responsible for this as the Republicans are.  In the end, my vote in these races went to the Libertarians.

When it comes down to it, we don’t have a democracy (even ignoring the fact that a democracy is a government of the people and a republic is a government of elected representatives.  “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands…”)

Our ‘choice’ is between two candidates from corrupt political parties and the system is designed so that it’s virtually impossible for a candidate from another party to be elected.  This is no ‘choice’ at all. 

So some may say that I ‘threw away’ my votes by choosing the candidates I did.  In reality, I made my little itty-bitty small voice a vote for the following points. 

Abolish the electoral college

It is just time to do away with this.  Actually, it is way past time.  Maybe when it was originally implemented in the days of horses, it made sense.  It no longer makes any sense at all.  One person should equal one vote.  It should not be possible for a candidate that loses the popular vote to be elected.  

Furthermore, a Democrat in a state that is primarily Republican shouldn’t feel like their vote doesn’t count because all of the states electoral college votes will go to the Republicans even if 49% of the state votes Democrat. 

Implement ranked choice (instant run-off voting)

The argument that I should vote for a candidate that I don’t really support because they are less awful than their opponent is absurd.  If a party wants my vote after it becomes clear my first choice won’t win, they need to change the voting system.

Ranked choice voting works like this: voters rank the candidates – 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.  When the first choices are tallied if no candidate has the majority, the candidate in last place is dropped and 2nd choice votes for the voters who picked that candidate are added to the count.  If still nobody has the majority, this process is repeated. 

This would make it so that third party candidates or independents could run without the Democrats and Republicans arguing that a vote for them is ‘wasted’. 

National standards for getting on the ballot in federal elections

It’s not really talked about, but it’s actually fairly hard to even get on the ballot for president in many states.  The requirements are not uniform from state to state.  There should be a single, national set of requirements for getting on the ballot and once met, a candidate should be put on the ballot in every state. 

Requirements for getting on the ballot for other positions should be made reasonable in all states.  It should not be a hurdle for a third-party or independent candidate just to get on the ballot to run for office. 

Maybe just do away with the two parties all together

The idea that we’re all either Democrat or Republican is absurd.  Most of us agree with one party for some issues and the other for other issues and disagree with both parties for many issues!

The way the two parties work just creates so much division in our political landscape.  Most of us are totally disgusted by this and it prevents many people from wanting to be actively engaged and make a difference. 

Publicly fund elections

Let’s get rid of the huge amount of corporate money involved in elections.  Let’s get rid of the advertisements and trash talk.  Let’s get rid of the soundbites. 

Let’s provide real information to voters about candidates beliefs.  Let’s vote for candidates that are respectful of each other.  Let’s have meaningful discussions and delve into complex issues as though they really are complex issues. 

More jobs or Improve education are NOT meaningful platforms.  These are complex issues and really making these things happen is not straightforward.  Let’s make our candidates explain how they hope to achieve these sorts of results. 

(I voted against one of the candidates for county sheriff because he declined to participate in the televised debate with the other candidate.   Candidates who won’t sit down and answer tough questions don’t deserve to be elected.)

Work together

We all support a happy, thriving America (and world too!).  Let’s all start from the assumption that we want the best for each other and our country and then discuss the best ways to reach our common goals. 

A few last thoughts…

I often tend to avoid voicing my political opinions because I don’t want to cause controversy.  I don’t believe I have much chance of changing what others believe and I don’t aim to try.   Yet, I feel like having an opinion and being willing to voice it in a rational, friendly way is important.  

I also believe it’s important to listen and seek to understand those whose opinions differ.  However you choose to vote in this election (or if you choose not to vote in this election), I’m sure you have good reasons for your choice.  I also hope you’ll try to understand and respect my reasons for how I’ve voted.

I know somebody who voted for Trump because she felt like he would be the most likely to make policies that would create more jobs.  I can respect wanting more jobs.  Let’s all work to focus on those common things in each other’s beliefs that we can respect, even as we may disagree on the details. 

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