I have voted in national elections since 2000, and mid-term elections since 2006.
I am not registered with a party in MA, which means I can vote for anyone. This election has been a pretty big crisis of conscience for me.
Without telling you where I landed, I wanted to share my thought process.
Given my core values, if I voted my conscience I'd vote Jill Stein. Her platform is consistent with everything I value, and she's the only candidate who has the kind of aggressive economic-AND-environmental plan that (I believe) the Earth very literally needs us to adopt at this time.
But I'm also a realist (kind of) and Stein won't win.
I'm not particularly attracted to either of the top Dem candidates. I think both have strong sides and both have problematic aspects. If the spectrum of candidates were truly representative and if elections were remotely fair in terms of finances and coverage, there's not really a world where I would vote for either of them.
But I'm a pragmatist (kind of) and throwing my vote towards the B or the H feels strategic.
But I am also not affiliated with any party. Which in MA means I can vote in the Republican primary. Is it more strategic to vote AGAINST Trump, to put my lot towards taking the wind out of his sales?
But I'm an idealist (kind of) and that feels awful.
Honestly, if my Place de la Poll wasn't a five minute walk away and always stocked with awesome cupcakes, I would not bother.
I can understand why a lot of people don't.
The one time I felt my vote meant something was a cheat. [Yes, I "helped" elect our first Black President but that personal action never really felt capital H Historic to me. If I tell my grandkids anything about that night it won't be about my moment in the voting booth.]
In 2000, I was a Texas voter living in New Mexico, which that year was a swing state. There was a huge push for Nader in New Mexico and - just as huge - backlash saying a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush.
So we flipped it. All us Texans - who's Blue vote would otherwise drown in a Red state - partnered with New Mexicans to swap votes: the Texans voted Nader, knowing it would mean nothing except to possibly help get a 3rd party the all important 5%; and the NM's would vote Gore, knowing that could turn the State Blue.
It didn't work.
But God did it feel like it meant something.
Maybe it did.
Maybe I was just 19.