Read aguanomics http://www.aguanomics.com/ for the world’s best analysis of the politics and economics of water Economists say that voting is “irrational” because the likelihood of one vote affecting the outcome is zero, and that’s particularly true in my case.
(My California absentee ballot adds about 0.0000001% to Hillary’s 100% chance of winning California.)
But there are other reasons to vote.
The first most important is that voting, by forcing us to make a decision, also forces us to think about the candidates or topics at hand. Although those thoughts are not going to deliver the wisdom of crowds,1 there’s still some benefit to us and our community from having at least an idea of the people and policies that affect our lives.
Second, voting helps politicians understand how popular (or not) they or their policies are. A landslide approval (or defeat) makes it clear where they — and others — are going right (or wrong). California’s 1982 vote on the Peripheral Canal was interesting for the northern population’s 90+ percent opposition to a canal. Sadly, that issue is “back in play” due to the assiduous lobbying of farmers for unsustainable withdrawals of water to be delivered to them by other people’s money. It would be great if California voters would punish the politicians helping special interests over the majority of the population next week.
Third, voting keeps us involved in the people or policies that we supported or backed, just as we pay more attention to news from the schools we attended, the countries we visited, etc. That attention means that we are more likely to make a better choice when a similar situation comes up again.
Moving to the candidates, I am voting both FOR Clinton and AGAINST Trump.
In favor of Clinton are her experience and [hard-to-see] leadership skills; the against (her email shenanigans, paid speeches to Wall Street, etc.) is not very remarkable to me when held up against common practices in US politics.2
Against Trump is everything I stand for. He’s a populist, lying, crooked sexist pig.3 Even worse, he has no concept of economic policy, as can be seen in this open letter from 370 US-based economists [pdf],4 which rebuts his misleading lies in two pages and ends with this:
Donald Trump is a dangerous, destructive choice for the country. He misinforms the electorate, degrades trust in public institutions with conspiracy theories, and promotes willful delusion over engagement with reality. If elected, he poses a unique danger to the functioning of democratic and economic institutions, and to the prosperity of the country. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you do not vote for Donald Trump.
Although I can’t be certain, I am pretty sure that Trump as president would be a disaster for the US population (including the “less-than-college-educated white men” backing Trump), as well as the world. It may be good for rich people who can capitalize on the resulting chaos (a la Oligarchs in Putin’s Russia), but I’m not in that class. Even if I was, I wouldn’t want to destroy my country (or see my native country destroyed) for such a tiny personal benefit.
Bottom Line: Don’t vote until you think of the direct impacts of your vote. If you’re mad “at the establishment” then don’t put an egotistical lunatic in charge of the establishment.