There have been a lot of people on Facebook, Twitter, and the news networks that say they will not vote this year as a protest. I think that these people are misguided for many reasons.
First, there’s nothing more unamerican. Going all the way back to the American Revolution, you can find documents that complain about “taxation without representation,” eg., a vote for the people that govern with the taxes collected. American soldiers dating all the way back to the first war that the United States ever fought (even before they were called the “United States”) were fighting for the right to vote. To protest anything by not voting is an act that goes against one of the core reasons that we exist today.
Second, making the election ugly so that people don’t vote is a strategy, not a protest. When a candidate thinks that they won’t get the majority of a group of people that are easily offended, it’s in their best interest to dissuade them from voting. If that group of voters is likely not to vote in disgust, that candidate is going to make sure that they are disgusted.
Lastly, the claim that someone lives in a blue state or a red state, so their vote doesn’t matter is a logical fallacy. The theory is that their state will vote their way with or without their vote with such a large margin of victory that one vote won’t make a difference. In reality, you live in a red state or a blue state because the people in that state vote one way or the other. Elections are tallied one vote at a time. If enough of the voters in your state do the same thing, you may find yourself disappointed on November 9th. This phenomenon is even more likely in a world where people make this claim on television, radio and social media.
You may feel let down by the candidates, the current incumbents or some forces from outside the traditional American system. This disappointment doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t vote. Even if you feel your vote is redundant, drop one more vote to represent your views. By all means, vote!