There is no such thing as a perfect presidential candidate. If you flip through a history book, every single president in U.S. history has come with some baggage. Hillary has her emails and Trump has his tax records and comments about women and Muslims and Mexicans. Nixon had Watergate, Lincoln was in favor of creating a separate colony for slaves, and Reagan had the Iran-Contra Affair. The list goes on. This is not to say we should ignore these affairs and scandals. Rather, we should come to accept the fact that no presidential administration in U.S. history has been without some cause for opprobrium, nor is it likely that we will come across a candidate who will break this trend. Despite this fact, it is critical that we as Americans cast our votes for the 2016 Presidential election.
Even if you do not like or support a candidate in this election, you must lean slightly in one direction or another. As humans, we are biased. It goes against our nature to be impartial, as much as we like to think we are perfectly capable of it. If you stay home on election day in dismay over the options on the ballot, that’s a vote for the other candidate–the one you don’t like as much or at all. Because the truth of the matter is that one of the candidates will be president, and you better be sure it’s not the lesser option.
We are privileged to live in a democracy where every citizen above the age of eighteen has the right to vote. Even if we aren’t pleased with the selection of Presidential candidates for this election, it doesn’t warrant staying home on voting day. Let’s not forget–there are candidates for the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, State Senate, State Assembly, and position of County Court Judge. On the ballot in California, there are over a dozen propositions that will affect local and state policies. These candidates and propositions affect us all, and often more immediately than national elections. Yet, less than forty percent of eligible voters turn out for local elections (see more voter statistics here). In voting, we are given the opportunity to participate and provide an opinion in our government. Our democracy functions best if we all take part in electing our representatives. Compromise is a part of democracy. We will never have a perfect candidate; instead, we must vote for the one we can see ourselves working with to make positive change. If we stay home, we toss the fate of this country into the wind, and have no power over where it settles. This is why it is important to vote on November 8th.