Friday, February 26, 2016
Why I Vote and Why I'm Voting for Cruz
Why did I not vote for Bush? Or Romney? Or McCain? Why would I, unlike the Maverick, not vote for Trump? Why not vote for the lesser of two evils?
For starters, my vote is worthless. So is yours. This is especially true the more voters there are in an election. If I don't vote in this election, Arkansas will still give out the delegates as it would have were I to have voted. It is true that if no one voted, no delegates would be given. But it is also true that if everyone voted for Cruz, he would get all of the delegates.
So why do I vote? Do I have a duty to vote? Certainly not a strict duty. If I have a duty to vote it is perhaps an imperfect duty--a duty to vote some of the time. I violate no moral law by not voting in a given election (though perhaps if it is a local election I sometimes do).
I vote because I am a conservative and it is a good tradition to vote. It is one of the things I do and my people do, and it is a conservative principle to genuflect to tradition unless reason shows otherwise. It is one of the few activities where citizens get together and stand in line generally calmly and respectfully, knowing full well that there are others in line who disagree with you vehemently on important matters. It is a collective activity of good citizenship where we symbolically express the common value we share in support of democracy; it is a supererogatory good (at least if one is well informed and acting out of good motives).
In addition, there is little by way of economic (financial, time, etc.) cost. But it is certainly not a strict duty. There are far more important ways that one can be a good citizen than by voting (e.g. by being law abiding, giving to charity, raising a family of children who will be good citizens, educating yourself and others, etc.)
But why vote for Cruz in the Republican primary even when head-to-head polls show that Rubio fairs better? (Head-to-head Rubio beats Hillary in the popular vote and Cruz is in a statistical dead heat). And why not vote for the lesser of two evils in the general? Why not vote for Trump if it comes to it?
Since my vote is worthless as far as the outcome is concerned, I vote based on ideology. My vote has some symbolic value. It expresses who I think is the candidate with the best principles. I am also able to say honestly that I was not a (e.g.) Bush supporter ever when I criticize his policies or when Republicans are attacked due to mistakes made by its figurehead. This is polemically advantageous, more advantageous, I think, than being able to criticize Bush as a current or former supporter.
Finally, there is pragmatic value if it were to turn out that my vote determined the outcome in a possible world far, far away. "Dubya" gave us eight years of Obama. His father gave us eight years of Bill Clinton. Reagan at least only gave us four years of Bush Sr. I fear what Trump would give us.