U.S. Election 2020: Does your vote really matter?
November 2, 2020
By Mashal Yaseen, Guest Contributor
From presidential bloodline conspiracies to witnessing the DNC fraud in 2016, I was convinced that our establishment was a complete joke. I became withdrawn from national politics and even reluctant to cast my vote in the upcoming 2020 elections. Weighed by the constant ‘Your Vote Matters’ slogan alongside social pressure — I wanted to get to the bottom of my political complacency and explore reasons for why I should vote. In case you didn’t realize, I was somewhat successful in doing so. Somewhat.
I feel that many can relate to the exact dilemma; which motivated me to even write this piece — thanks for getting this far. Let me walk you through the journey of a disgruntled, desperate American connecting the dots in hopes of reviving a sense of patriotism. Actually, call it accountability if you will.
I’m not asking for anyone to take a polarized stance on the importance of voting but rather leaving it to the reader (you) to have their own takeaway.
So, let’s talk psychology.
I started researching the driving forces behind voter behavior and came across an article by Christoper Munsey called “Why do we vote?” where he talks about the internal and external motivators that drive voting behavior. This piqued my introspection. Munsey quoted Florida Atlantic University’s Kevin Lanning, PhD, who discusses self-expression plays a key role as well,
We can think of voting as an expression of the self-concept. If I’m an American, and Americans vote, then the act of voting is an expression of who I am. —Kevin Lanning, PhD
This allowed for me to forego the entire spectrum of altruism or self-interest as the psychology of voting is so much more — seriously, read the article. Do I think my vote actually makes a difference? Not really.
Debunking “My vote doesn’t matter. The Electoral College decides.”
In essence, yes, the U.S. Electoral College makes the quadrennial decision of who occupies the White House for the next four years; but do you really understand what that process looks like? Revisiting the most recent case in history where President Trump and Hillary Clinton were neck to neck in 2016, the Electoral College indeed played a pivotal role.
Although Clinton won the popular vote by almost three million votes, due to the concentration of votes for Trump in key districts within swing states is what sealed the deal (National Geographic).
The National Geographic has a nice insight that ties into how the Electoral College views votes in clusters, “Your vote may not directly elect the president, but if you vote joins enough others in your voting district or country, your vote undoubtedly matters when it comes to electoral results. Most states have a ‘winner take all’ system where the popular vote winner gets the state’s electoral votes.”
This Key and Peele skit has always resonated with me. Nothing like comic relief in 2020.
So, does your vote really matter?
Conspiracies aside, you can gauge the impact of your vote based on your voting district and state. One can note that votes or issues represented are merely based off of clusters. Kaleb Nyquist calls this phenomenon ‘issue crowding’ which is the “the idea that individual voters usually get represented well for most but not every issue (Kaleb Nyquist). I haven’t even touched on how our voting system is flawed and the prevailing issue of voter suppression.
I will leave you with this: vote because it’s your right to self-expression.
Being an American means to take a stance on what you believe in by being an active contributor to improving our nation. Should you vote? No harm, no foul in my opinion. There, I said it.
If you’re passionate about statistics and would like a deeper insight into how it plays a role in the real world, I highly recommend that you read Nyquist’s “America’s Clustered Consensus.”
photo credit: Mashal Yaseen
About — Mashal Yaseen is a Tech Marketer in the Silicon Valley who has a background in copywriting, film, and brand strategy. With an extensive background in marketing and a passion for health and wellness, you can find her latest health tips on @WhatTheGluten. Keep up with her latest pieces on Medium.
Note — This content was sourced with permission from the writer. Read the original post here: https://mashalyaseen.medium.com/does-your-vote-really-matter-50925ab1e8ff
Cover photo credit — Badal Patel, @bybadal