Before the presidential primary occurs in Oregon, the race will be mostly decided. McCain’s Republican nomination is all but a sure thing and the race between Obama and Clinton may not be decided in the polls. And yet, all my life I’ve been told that my vote counts. Does it?
In the mid-seventies, fresh out of the social revolution of the 60s, I wore a bold red, white, and blue shirt with “VOTE” emblazoned across the front. Ever since I’ve been legal, I’ve taken the opportunity to vote. I now have over thirty years of voting experience. And yet, I can’t think of one election where my vote made a difference.
The process has become so stylized, statistical, and a virtual marketers game, that I now see where the candidates are playing to the demographic voting blocks. On Super-Tuesday, Obama played well with male African-Americans and Hillary scored high with white women. Though I most likely will vote Democratic this year, I’m not African-American and I’m not a woman. Most likely, I won’t get to decide whether Hillary or Obama will carry the nomination for the Democratic party.
In 2004 I registered a protest vote against George Bush; with no hope that John Kerry would come close to being elected. I 2000 I didn’t vote for a Democrat or a Republican – again boycotting the process and choosing “none-of the-above” as a write-in. I knew that voting for an Independent was just another vote for the leader: George Bush.
My vote has to occur long before I mark my ballot. My vote comes with my feet, my dollars, and my support. I have to chose which demographic block I want to be a part of. Do I want to be a part of a block that will choose a losing candidate, or wone that will support the winner in their victory march?
Although I happen to believe that either Obama or Clinton would serve the office of president well, there is no doubt that they would lead and make decisions differently. Either of them are better than the alternative, the least harmful choice one might say, but without a clear vision into the future, I have no idea which would be the best choice.