Over the last several months, the phrase circulating throughout the American electorate even more than any name-calling Trump concocts in his Mean Girls-style burn book is “this election is bigger than you and me.” As admittedly more truthful this is than anything that has spewed out of Trump’s piehole over the last fourteen months, it has its flaws. It wrongly brings about the idea that this election will be decided by more than just an individual’s vote. Yes, in a more broad sense, what the Election of 2016 is posing is a kind of ideological confrontation not seen since the Civil Rights Movement and is indeed much larger than you or me (yet not quite as large as Chris Christie). But at the end of the day, it’s your vote that will decide the 45th President of the United States.
It’s no secret that there’s a great deal of political apathy in America today, especially among college-aged people. The question that I want to answer is whether or not this apathy is justified among our fresh young minds.
Many of us seem to believe that our votes don’t count; that once they are cast they will be sent directly into some sort of oblivion or an incinerator in the basement of the White House, but that’s not the case. The Election of 2000, which Bush Jr. both lost and won, showed the voters that votes were indeed tallied and tallied again, but that the national popular vote is about as meaningful as it is easy to count. However insignificant the national popular vote is, that isn’t the way Americans should measure the worth of their vote. There is another, more logical way to look at it.
The votes that actually matter come from what is called the Electoral College, made up of 538 electoral votes. The American people vote within their state for whoever they think will wreck the country the least, and that vote will help decide which candidate wins the popular vote of their state and thus win that state’s electoral votes. If you look at it on a state-by-state basis, your vote is incredibly important. Looking at the worth of your vote in terms of the national popular vote is like figuring out how much you weigh by measuring your height.
Another argument we millennials like to throw around as a reason to stay home on November 8th is that we don’t want to choose between “the lesser of two evils.” But I would contend that that is the best choice to have. Our first POTUS, George Washington, was keen on this philosophy as well, stating:
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent. It is a force. Like fire. It is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
That is how I view this election; it’s not a sophisticated soirée of intellectual discussion and civil discourse. It’s an all-out royal rumble, with the gloves coming off from both Trump and Hillary in the greatest, most fiery brawl of the last two centuries. This election isn’t for pansies, so if you have an issue with casting your vote for either the pile of dog poop or the puddle of cat pee (I’ll let you decide which is which), then I humbly suggest that you read up on why you’re even able to vote.
For years millennials have heard the same thing about voting, yet have never acted. Well, maybe you should listen this time, because maybe this election is bigger than you and me; maybe it is something we’ve never seen before. No American population has ever been subject to such an ultimatum in the history of our nation. The choice is between experience coupled with distrust and ignorance coupled with irreconcilable fear. You could choose to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, or a literal pile of garbage; it wouldn’t matter because the two who actually have a chance to win this election are the most dangerous, the most fearful. It is the most consequential choice that we, as Americans, will make in our country’s foreseeable future, so your vote could not matter any more than it will on that infamous Tuesday in November.