When You Vote, It’s Not About You or Your Preferred Candidate

A friend writes that it’s difficult for him to get excited about voting for Hillary Clinton, since he is so much more excited by Sanders, and he’s correspondingly disappointed to be on the losing end.

I get that. It stinks to lose. The only thing worse than losing is to to lose in slow motion, while you are expected to put on a happy face about it.

It’s important to remember something, too.

When you step into the voting booth, you’re not voting for a candidate, at least not primarily for her. You are voting to protect twenty million newly-insured people under health reform. You’re voting for the single mom in Texas who has an unintended pregnancy, the child in Little Village whose parents need humane immigration policies, the disabled man who needs decent Medical and social services, the little girl in Bangladesh whose village may someday be submerged if we don’t address to climate change.

It’s not about Clinton. It’s not about Sanders or Trump. We’re not voting “for” these people, or at least primarily for them. This election is not about expressing our personal identities and tribal affinities as voters, either. It’s about millions of people who have real things to lose if we elect the wrong person.

It’s not about us. That’s why Clinton, Sanders, the entire Democratic Party, and many others will come together in November.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.