Vote For Right Now Or For Future
I am still not sure who will get my vote for President today.
My quandary is not indecision between Republican Donald Trump, the incumbent, and Democrat Joe Biden, the challenger.
I am trying to decide how far into the future I want the effect of my vote to linger.
“Into the future” sounds laughable for me. I will be 78 years old next month. My “future” could be the next year or two, or perhaps just the next month or two.
I do have children, grandchildren, even great-grandchildren. My good wishes for them are grounded in a belief that, for their lives to be better, our country has to be better than it has been during this year of political divisions, even hatred.
So as a registered Libertarian, do I turn away from Trump-Biden and vote for Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Presidential nominee? I heard her speak in DuBois a few months back and was favorably impressed. But nearly 60 years of covering politics as a journalist/writer has given me a cynical “Yeah, sure” attitude toward how politicians sound when they are trying to get you to vote for them.
Jorgensen will not win. I know that. Four years ago, I knew that Libertarian Gary Johnson would not win, either. But I voted for him because I could not bring myself to vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton, then the Democratic nominee.
Jorgensen is on the Pennsylvania ballot today in part because enough people, Libertarian or not, voted for Johnson and other Libertarians in previous elections. Pennsylvania’s election laws are skewed in favor of the two major parties, naturally enough. Politicians want to continue to win. Incumbent politicians do not willingly write election laws that favor “minor party” candidates. But courts have forced politicians, however grudgingly, to give minor parties some paths to being placed on the election ballots, rather than having to rely totally on write-in votes. Usually, parties must get somewhere between 3 and 10 percent of the total vote in a previous election to get ballot access in the future.
So if I vote Libertarian, I might strengthen my chosen political party’s chances in 2024, 2028, etc. Or I might “waste” my vote.
Four years ago, I was accused of wasting my vote because not voting for either Trump or Hillary Clinton would be an exercise in futility.
Was it? After all, Libertarian Jorgensen is on the ballot this year.
So should I vote for change, for getting fresh faces with fresh ideas into positions of power?
I feel comfortable about voting for that kind of change by supporting the Libertarian candidate on some “down ballot” races, and writing in a name or two in races where I don’t identify strongly with the listed candidates.
But at the top of the ballot? As of Monday, when this was written, I still did not have a clear answer.
Polls and past history indicate that most Pennsylvanians have already made up their minds about the Presidential race. In this area, Trump should win handily, judging by yard signs, attendance at rallies, etc. In the urban areas, Biden is supposedly favored – but nobody knows how it will all shake out, and Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes are considered vital for either candidate to get to the required 270 electoral votes.
So most people reading this column should presumably be bemused at the idea of me not yet knowing how I will vote one day ahead of Nov. 3.
That is the conventional wisdom. In Presidential politics, conventional wisdom is often wrong.
I bet that even some people with “Trump” or “Biden” signs in their yards or on their vehicles are also less that certain as to how they will vote.
I remember back in 1976, being positive that as a nearly lifelong Republican I would vote for Gerald Ford. But when I pulled the curtain around me while I stood in front of the “voting machine” we used back then, staring at the little levers beside each person’s name, I recoiled at Ford’s pardon of former President Richard Nixon. I impulsively flicked down the lever next to Jimmy Carter’s name.
Walking home, I told my wife that I had voted for Carter. She was startled, and, as a liberal Democrat, pleased. She thought I had made my decision to please her. Cowardly grasping husband that I was, I let her continue to think that. In marriages, sometimes we make use of whatever works in our favor.
But in voting, we are basically betting on what we hope will happen.
Should I vote to help settle the Trump-Biden clash?
Or should I vote to turn away from the politics of the past and pin my hopes on different people, a different political party?
I’ll decide today.
So will you.
I pray that we will make good decisions.
¯ ¯ ¯
Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: email@example.com.