Politics

Not With Her. Or Him.

As I prophesied back in August, I won’t be voting on Tuesday. This is a first for me, and while I see it as a legitimate form of passive resistance (or, at least, a defensible decision—all things considered), it is one of the least popular stances I have taken thus far in my career.

If I informed friends and family that I planned to hook my kids on Marlboro Reds, I would get way less pushback. People have strong feelings about voting, and they will gladly recite various arguments in an attempt to guilt you into pulling the lever for someone.

Now, I completely understand why partisans would want to twist arms to get people to vote for their candidate; they have an agenda. But why are average civilians burning so many calories on this? Choosing not to vote is somehow seen as unpatriotic or even borderline sacrilegious.

I’ve never believed that everyone should cast a ballot. People who aren’t informed, for example, shouldn’t vote. And I think this grace should be extended to people who can’t in good conscience support either candidate.

Besides, it’s not like my only opportunity to express my opinion comes every four years. I’m not checking out of the political process. This is what I do every day.

Maybe it’s the circles that I run in, but tell someone you’re not voting, and you may as well gird your loins for an earful of preachy lectures and tired clichés. The most compelling reason to vote this time, I think, is that I could hurt candidates running for other offices. But I live in Northern Virginia, and no viable down-ballot conservatives will be harmed by my stasis.

The “If you’re not voting for Trump/Hillary you’re really voting for Hillary/Trump” formulation is perhaps the most predictable and annoying retort. To the people telling me that by not voting I am actually voting for Clinton, I have one question: “Do you want me to actually go vote for Clinton, then?”

Not that I would. Over at The Atlantic, David Frum makes the conservative case for Hillary Clinton. The only way this might be true is if by “conservative” he meant “cautious,” as in “a cautious estimate.” But even then, that interpretation would be debatable. Of course, Frum means that politically conservative Republicans should back Hillary. Granted, Clinton might be more hawkish than Trump, and she is also likely more pro-free trade.

That’s fine as far as it goes, but any conservative who watched the debates—with Clinton’s failure to back away from partial-birth abortion—and her pledge to put partisan Leftists on the Supreme Court—should consider a vote for Clinton a nonstarter. And that’s before we even get to her many scandals, including the fact that she set up a personal server and deleted 33,000 e-mails.

Never for one minute during this campaign have I supported Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, but I always held out the possibility that I might change my mind. That possibility has not come to fruition. Donald Trump is philosophically incorrect, temperamentally unfit, and behaviorally repellent. I cannot and will not vote for him.

Another frequent argument/guilt trip I hear is a plea to vote for the lesser of two evils. After all, this is essentially a binary choice (they are correct about this point, which explains why I’m not voting third party). Like Ben Shapiro, I view a vote as a type of endorsement, which is to say that sometimes the lesser of two evils doesn’t deserve your endorsement. If I didn’t view my vote as a solemn and sacred thing, I would be more promiscuous in terms of giving it out on Tuesday.