Just because you have the right to vote doesn't mean you should use it. And in an election such as this, unlike any other, when the decision can effect so, so much – if you're not familiar with politics, the best thing you can do is stay home.
I've been seeing plenty of memes online telling people that they should vote because it's their right or men and women died during wars so you can cast a ballot. Listen, a lot of people died for a lot of different rights. The way I see it, you're doing them and your country a disservice by voting without knowing really why.
There's a name for people who vote for the sake of voting: uneducated voters.
That's not to say uneducated voters don't mean well. Someone may see one of those “people died so you can vote” memes and take that as some obligation to go out and cast a ballot. And in that regard, hey, at least they're trying. But it's not exactly helpful. In fact, it's anything but.
I'll go as far to argue that for an uneducated or uninformed voter, it's like someone who is watching a UFC Pay-Per-View for the first time. They're uninterested, know nothing about the fighters, but as soon as a title fight comes on, who do you think the new fan is going to cheer for: the reigning champion who hasn't lost in 10 fights or the popular newcomer who earned a title match?
Without any shadow of a doubt, I predict the individual who never watches UFC would like to see the champion lose. Why? Because it's a change. It's exciting. It's something new. And everyone likes an underdog story.
While this example certainly applies more to last year's federal election in Canada where Justin Trudeau (unfortunately) became Prime Minister, it still works somewhat for Trump and Clinton.
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It may even apply to Trump, as the edgy newbie who has thrown his hat into the ring, dispatched of all challengers and now seeks to complete the hero's quest.
People who tell you to vote because it's your right – people like Collider's John Campea ;) - are going about promoting voting incorrectly. This doesn't promote educated voting. It promotes uneducated voting. And uneducated voters are more likely to vote Democrat. Why? Because they're young people. And young people are likely who follow what their friends are doing even if they don't follow politics themselves.
Imagine how many people on university campuses will vote Hillary just to deny Trump presidency.
Worse, imagine how many people read a meme by Occupy Democrats claiming Trump called “all Mexicans rapists”. Spoilers: it was seen by a lot of people. This is a factually incorrect quote. But you'd be surprised at how many people don't fact check and take these false claims like they're 100% true. It damages democracy.
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People who get their information from “comedians” like John Oliver or The Daily Show don't expose themselves to alternative view points. Hell, even Fox News. Despite what you may thing of its hosts, the actual reporting is rather neutral. Fox was really the only network with truly unbiased coverage of the George Zimmerman trial a few years back. While everyone else was already practically calling the man guilty, Fox didn't even do the opposite – they kept things neutral. If all you watched was CNN, you'd think he murdered a school bus full of paraplegics with a machete and chainsaw.
It is my honest opinion that uneducated voters are the greatest threat to democracy. Remember, your vote does count. So, rather than vote because you can, what I'd recommend to anyone planning on voting is to ask yourself the following questions: Why am I voting for the person I plan on voting for? What do I know about other candidate?
If you have to study and look up information, I have news for you: it's too late for you to pass this test. You shouldn't vote. And that's not a bad thing. Because you're doing what's best for your country.
And there's nothing more patriotic than that.