Yes, Your Vote Matters

Yes, we’re overdue for a serious reckoning with the electoral mechanics of our democratic republic.*

Yes, it’s true that some votes count more than others under the current system — in the sense that a senator from Wyoming represents a lot fewer people than one from California, or that a marginal vote in Pennsylvania might be more decisive for the national outcome than one in Massachusetts. [Don’t even get me started about the relative weights of votes cast by residents of the District of Columbia or U.S. territories.]

And yes, it’s likely true that there’s no option on the menu that completely or even nearly matches what you’re looking for in a public officeholder.

But yes, it is also true that your vote matters. Especially this year, when the safest and surest way out of a deadly and undemocratic present — that is, to begin actually dealing with the issues we can now no longer ignore — is a thumping margin of victory.

The president has always been antsy about numbers: the 2016 popular vote, say, or the [non-existent] inauguration-day crowds, or the truly enormous losses claimed in his tax filings. No matter how gerrymandered your district or “safe” your state, run up the score. This is not a game that should go to overtime.

There’s not going to be a better system under this president. Minority rule isn’t about to be relaxed. And there’s certainly not going to be a candidacy or a presidency we can be proud of.

The best, fastest way to open the door to all of that is to show this guy the door today.


*A friendly semantic reminder about exactly what kind of government we’ve got. Yes, it’s a republic. But it’s also, importantly, a democratic one — and the fact that it’s not a direct democracy does not in any way give those in power license to do whatever they like, either over or “in the name of” the people.

Democracy means “rule by the citizens.” Republic means “the public thing.” To construe either of these to mean that “if the president does it, that means it’s not illegal” is rank cynicism.