FCC Students Weigh in on the Value of the Vote: Pro

Frank Lopez

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The  2016 election cycle has been the most shocking and confusing presidential race in recent memory. Trump’s extreme right wing platform and infamous language, and Clinton’s email scandal and Democrats supposedly rigging elections, has brought the political chasm to the forefront once again.

Whatever party one aligns themselves with politically, a question that always comes up during election season is whether our vote matters or not.

To put it simply; yes, your vote does matter.  

Voting is one of the few ways that the public can still get into political arena. Even though the presidential elections can be seen as an extravaganza run by advertisers and the public relations industry that hardly deals with social and economic issues, voting is still important.

With so much power and wealth concentrated in a small group of elites, many economic and foreign policies decisions are made by and for corporate interests; many people that get elected into office are supported by big business to do their bidding.  With the nature of the media today, perhaps the public is not as well informed as would be desired for a functioning democracy, but it still has some say in who gets elected into the White House.

Obviously votes matter in swing-states, and as shown in the 2000 election where Green Party candidate Ralph Nader took enough votes from Al Gore to give the win to George W. Bush, voting for third-party candidates can change the outcomes of elections. However, this has rarely happened in U.S. history.

One could argue that our votes don’t matter because even though a candidate might win the popular vote, the Electoral College decides who becomes president. Ultimately, the electoral college does decide who becomes president, but the electoral vote usually corresponds with the popular vote; electoral voters are supposed to use the popular vote as a guide for the candidate they choose. However, electors are not legally bound to vote for a candidate just because he has won the popular vote.

The price to run a national campaign for presidency has gone up into the billions, and the public relations and advertising industries have made the elections a circus show. The public is constantly bombarded with news about all the bad things the government is doing, so that people feel so disgusted with politics so they don’t want to get involved, or feel like they can’t make a difference.

That’s exactly what the people in power want. They want people to feel helpless and disillusioned with the political process so that they simply won’t participate. The main political parties like it because it means less people in the voting pool. Voting should not be seen as an act of self-expression for a candidate they like; it should be seen as a decision that is made with thought and research for the betterment of our nation and people.

Admittedly, the voting process is not perfect, and big money and media have a large role in how elections function today, but it is still one of the only realms where the people can still make their voices heard.

Any voice, no matter how small, matters. Make your voice heard; vote.