Unlike a presidential election, in a congressional election every vote counts the same. Staying home is a vote too. Do you really think there's no difference in the candidates? Then you can't complain about the outcome. In 2016, 78,000 stay-at-homes elected Trump. So what are the differences you might care about?
Vote for a Trumpist like Dan Bishop if you believe -
Vote for a Democrat like Dan McCready if you believe -
Vote for a third-party or independent or stay home if you believe -
In elections that are not in doubt, go ahead and vote your conscience - it won't affect the election outcome but might be important to the viability of your third party, depending on the laws of your state. This happens to be the case in NC-03, which is also having a special election on 10 September 2019, which everybody expects will be won by the Trumpist candidate. Political polling is not as accurate as rocket science, but it's advanced enough and the polls consistent enough that you can take them to the bank: NC-03 will be won by the Trumpist, and NC-09 will be won by the Trumpist or the Democrat. What polling can't tell is which of the two will win in NC-09.
So in elections that are a tossup between a Trumpist and a Democrat, voting for neither, or not at all, is an abdication of moral responsibility. Like it or not, "decline to vote for the lesser evil" might end up helping the greater evil win - just as if that voter had voted for the greater evil. Is that really what you want?
Greens and stayathomes made the difference between Gore and Bush, and Clinton and Trump. Do the Greens feel their cause was better served under a Republican than a Democrat?
One has to feel a bit sorry for traditional Republicans who are not Trumpists. The Trumpist train has left the station, taking for itself the name and structure of the Republican party. Take it from Brad Parscale - "The Trumps will be a dynasty that lasts for decades".
But not every Trumpist was pleased.
Traditional Republicans thought of the party as a party of ideas - not a cult of personality. Particularly - the defining idea of liberty, especially economic liberty - as opposed to the Democrat's defining idea of justice, especially economic justice.
There isn't any defining idea of Trumpism - loyalty is to a person rather than an ideal. Trumpists zig when Trump zigs and zag when he zags.
Traditional Republican politicians know now that if they exercise any independence from Trumpist thinking, they will be challenged from the right in the next primary. So some of them are giving up. It's tough being a minority within a minority party. And what if there is a recession before the election? Many Trumpist voters might be the most loyal in history, but Trumpist politicians, being opportunists like him, will jump off a train that seems headed for a wreck.
And the traditional Republican voters who are not Trumpists are left standing on the station. They don't want to vote for a Trumpist, and they don't want to vote for a Democrat. But voting for neither helps the ultimate winner - who can't be predicted in advance - that's why it's a tossup. Voting for neither is morally equivalent to voting for the ultimate winner. Your vote might have been the one that made a difference in who was elected. Is that really what you want?
If what you really want is to enable third-party and independent candidates to participate more meaningfully in American politics, that's a very worthwhile long term structural project - you need to learn about ranked-choice voting and sore-loser laws -
But don't use that as an excuse to be irresponsible on September 10. Why I don't register as Libertarian or Green any more.
Another very worthwhile long term structural project is to figure out how to build a lasting coalition around liberty and justice. Look into
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