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OPINION: American Voters Must Let Go of 'Wasted Vote' Mentality

Created: 15 December, 2015
Updated: 18 October, 2022
3 min read

Unfortunately for the average American, the status quo for American politics today is a goose-stepping routine of legislators spending the majority of their time fundraising, blaming the other side of the aisle when the pressure is on, and ultimately stagnating while in office with the primary goal of strengthening their party. The system works for those in power because they are successful in their fundraising and the debate remains centered on ‘Republican versus Democrat.'

This method of power-focused operation secures the position of the two major parties and pushes all other issues to the fringe, leaving the needs of the American public as an afterthought when compared to the needs of the parties. Issues become talking points and real progress takes a back seat to immediate gains and political leverage.

To unseat the powers that be, the thinking of the American voter must change. The ‘wasted vote’ mentality permeates American society and the two-party stranglehold relies on this way of thinking.

Political polarization is highly visible and keyed in on by national politics. Superficial and divisive measures are used to keep voters distracted from the primary problem of partisan politics and the damages uncompromising political gridlock causes.

The truth, thankfully, is that most voters are

not nearly as partisan as the politicians they vote into office. Most people are moderates on most issues, with some key beliefs that sway them to label themselves as either Republican or Democrat, a label that wields great power.

Personal political identities are created and mental barriers strengthened by people simply identifying as (R) or (D). Average people often side with one party and vote that way, forgetting that there are other options. ‘The wasted vote’ mentality is thus deeply embedded in the American psyche.

These two parties, the Republicans and Democrats, are far more alike than they are different. Both operate in similar ways to retain and grow their power. Both have secret agendas. Both accept unlimited large contributions from various sources of differing purity. Both fight for power in underhanded ways.

High-level Democrats and Republicans are essentially the same breed today -- power-hungry game-players who put the needs of the party above the needs of the people. Lower-level Democrats and Republicans are at the mercy of their party, required to step into line or risk falling out of favor of the party and the party’s money.

Both parties have legitimate viewpoints and good ideals. Many members of both parties work very hard and honestly for the good of the people. Believe it or not, there are good and honest people in politics!

The problem is a system that propagates the importance of big money donors and pushes third party and independent candidates to the fringe. That is where we, the American voters come in.

To find America’s soul again, to move away from the money and the power game, common men and women must vote against incumbents and challenge the gridlock. We must vote for who is best for the people, not just for who is best for the machine or who we think is most likely to win.

The more ‘wasted votes’ are cast, the more we win elections with good candidates and the faster the system will change.

We must unite. We must harness our collective frustrations with the government to vote for independent, progressive, uncorrupted candidates. We must vote first for campaigns running on finite funds, and for candidates who will bring a real fight against the corruption that plagues every segment of our government.

We must vote against those in power who are worried less about the American voter and more about the American donor. We, the people, are the power of this country. We are the substance America is made out of. We hold a democracy in our hands. Let’s use it.