Sunday, October 28, 2012

Confessions of an Undecided Voter

Sometimes it's easy to decide who to vote for. Elaine Nekritz and Julie Morrison have my support. They are both good people with strong credentials and records, I generally agree with their views, and their opponents are both scary.

But like a lot of people, I am having trouble deciding which presidential candidate to vote for. Certainly I won't be voting for Romney. On too many issues, he appears to have no idea what he is talking about, and when he does articulate a clear policy, it is usually one that will hurt more people than it will help.

Although I tend to vote for Democrats, I am having trouble convincing myself to vote for Obama. Too often, he has turned his back on the principles he espoused and the constituencies that supported him when he was first running for office. I can't find any reason to think he will be any more courageous or effective in a second term than he was in his first.

Fortunately, Obama is making it easy for me to not support him by sending strong signals that he doesn't care whether or not I vote for him. He hasn't campaigned in Illinois where I live. He seems to assume, as do many analysts, that he will win this state without making any effort. Like any other candidate, if he doesn't think he needs me, I don't see any reason to argue with him.

There is a Green party candidate, Jill Stein, who may get my vote. I'd be shocked if she won Illinois or any other state, but maybe this is a good time to help third parties get a larger voice in our elections. Some of my Democratic friends will be upset with me if I don't back the entire ticket, but I know that a lot of them haven't been very happy with Obama either, even if they have been making apologies for him.

I can't really think of any reason not to vote Green, but still, I haven't decided for sure. The two-party system is ingrained in me. I recall Ralph Nader, Ross Perot, John Anderson, and George Wallace. Parts of some of their campaigns were good for the country. Parts were irrelevant. Some of their efforts may have helped elect people who we would have been better off not electing.

It would have been nice if the media had given Stein more coverage. She could have changed the dynamic of the debates, which were pretty boring. I don't really know why the media lets the Republicans and Democrats monopolize our political life, but I don't like it.

My most difficult choices will be in races where neither the Republican nor Democratic candidates are attractive but there are no third party alternatives. I don't like to leave a ballot blank, but neither do I like being forced to choose between people who are equally unlikely to move the country in the directions I think it needs to go, and I resent that some Democratic candidates seem to assume that they will get my vote no matter what they stand for and how offensive their campaigning is.

I have heard partisans disparage people who don't make up their minds until they get into the voting booths, implying that indecision is a result of not being informed or of not having strong opinions. In my case they are wrong. I'm pretty well informed politically, and my opinions are well developed. I just don't like some of the choices I am being given.

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