Does my vote really matter?

All my life I have been told that it does. The candidates have told me that. The news anchors told me that. My civics teacher told me that. And like many such givens, I beleived it must be true.

But this thoughtful post by David Cain has made me reconsider. I’m just pulling a graf to keep this short so if you give a shit one way or the other you really should read his entire post:

“Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of not voting because they feel like they would then be forfeiting the only power they have over who governs. But your vote contains no power. It is a virtually inert token of your participation, which does carry some sentimental value to some people. But it has no election-swinging ability. There are plenty of actions that can make a difference but casting your vote isn’t one of them.”

For some bizarre reason, Mr. Cain’s post caused me to flash on the carnival midway. One of the “games” involved trying to toss a wooden hoop around a small fishbowl that contained a goldfish. The bowl was just two feet away and you could almost lean over and drop the hoop on the bowl. But not quite. The carney guy understood something that I didn’t. Even if I got the goldfish, he wins.

Mr. Cain also argues that if the election is really important to you, you’ll do more than vote. You’ll knock on doors and work your ass off in other ways. I can find no flaw in that logic.

Before you dismiss the idea that your vote doesn’t really make a difference, read the post.

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