But let's explore this for a minute. Is it really those that don't vote that make the system awful? To say that not voting is the cause of politics being awful, suggests that voting makes it something other than awful--good and right. I don't think it works in that direction, but let's reason this out.
First, to persuade one to vote for the Democrat Candidate (DC) over the Republican Candidate (RC) (as this woman wanted me to do) implies that you believe that there are only two choices that exhaust all the options for governance. This is unreasonable, but granted, it is not necessarily what makes politics awful.
What makes politics awful extends from this, though.
- Let's assume for the sake of argument, that DCs and RCs are radically different from each other--that they hold different positions on the issues. Supporters of the DCs might hold that all the positions taken by these candidates are right and proper, and all the positions taken by the RCs is wrong and improper. In reality, these views about which candidate is right extends, not just to the candidates and the parties' platforms, but also to those who vote for the respective sides. Voters for the DCs' assume that the voters for the RCs must be evil (after all, the DC is right) and ignorant (after all, the DC's approach is proper). This works the other way, as well. This is awful.
- Let's assume, though, for the sake of argument, that voters for the DCs and RCs can hold a more nuanced position, such that my candidate's positions are mostly right, even if I can see some value in the other candidate's positions. This means that voting for the DCs or the RCs necessarily put the public at risk for working under poor positions/policies. Remember, this operates under the assumption that the other candidate has some right and reasonable positions. This is awful.
- Assuming either (a) that clear lines of good and bad are drawn with respect to the candidates or (b) that a nuanced position is held about the candidates, voters of the DCs and RCs make up (roughly) 50% of the voting public. (Even if we go to 60/40 or 70/30, my point will still hold). Voting for one's candidate over the other forces people to live under one person's view of governance. For example, the woman with whom I spoke, said that we need to get Gov. Corbett (PA's current Governor) out of office. She thinks it's awful to live in a state with Corbett as Governor. Regardless of whether that is true or not, is it any more right, civil, or less awful to make others live under someone with whom they disagree? No. This is awful.