One of the more common excuses for not heading to the polls on Election Day is “my vote doesn’t count”. Many see voting as a waste of time that has no impact on anything that happens in terms of policy. And the large amounts of money flowing into campaigns these days does little to dissuade citizens of this notion.
However, your vote does matter. It’s the reason entire political campaign consulting companies like Strategic Campaign Group invest so much into connecting with voters and particularly in primary elections where fewer people vote. This is the moment you as a voter have more of an affect. Both political parties have experienced the power of the voter during this primary.
The Democratic Party has seen the rise of an unexpected, small dollar donation funded candidate in Bernie Sanders. The size of his rallies, and the amount of money raised at the grassroots level have stunned many in the political class this year; however, his popularity with Millennials has failed to translate into votes. Hillary Clinton, though largely down on trust and likability in most polls, has turned out her voters in the states which have voted thus far, and it looks as though she will very shortly wrap up the nomination because of her success in getting her voters to the polls.
The real story of voter importance can be felt in the Republican primary for the Presidential nomination. The entry and success of Donald Trump is no less than stunning, and it is due to his voters going to the polls and making their voices heard. Many of Trump’s voters are voting for the first time in many years, or ever, and are visceral examples of the power of the vote in a primary. Even though the majority of Americans, and even Republicans, dislike Trump, his voters are using the power of the vote to ensure that he receives the nomination. As his political campaign continues, they will consult with experts to be more palatable to the general population, but the excitement from his faithful will continue to have a real effect in the election.
Voting is an important part of the American political landscape. Blood has been shed, and lives have been lost to ensure we can choose our leaders. When you choose to ignore this right and fail to exercise it, you abdicate the choice of your leaders to others who may, or may not, agree with you. This election, more than any other in recent history, demonstrates the power of the voter to determine who rises to power in America.