The US is voting next week, for what we call the “midterms.” We don’t change the entire government every four years—we stagger terms for each representative, senator, and governor. Much of the time, the voters want change. That means the President’s party tends to lose seats in the midterms.
I also want change. But I’m not worried as much about the people in the current seats. I’m much more worried about the candidates.
Many of these candidates are trying to focus voters on the short term. Most of the Republican (our conservative party) candidates focus on inflation, immigration, and crime. Yes, we have inflation—as does every other country in the world. (I’m not rational about immigration, so I’m not going to discuss it. I think we should let in many, many more people. You probably disagree with me. )
And yes, we have problems with crime here. (We also have a ton of citizen-held weapons that affect violent crime.) I tried to find some statistics. After realizing that the states with the highest crime rates do not report their data to the FBI, I went to Statista, and started with Violent Crime by State. (We have our fair share of problems in the US.)
And, normally, elections help us decide how we, as a society, will solve these problems. We elect candidates whose solutions we think will work. But inflation, immigration, and crime are not the only agenda for these conservatives.
Many of these candidates are also election deniers. They want to be able to decide themselves—and then impose their will on others—about who wins an election.
If these candidates gain power in the short term, then our votes don’t matter in the future.
That means that while some people are voting for the short-term, we also need to consider what the long-term means.
Short-Term vs Long-Term Thinking
I have significant privilege. I’m not worried about managing for inflation.
But too many people have to choose between heating their homes and food on the table.
I certainly don’t blame people for short-term thinking. Although, I did read this article this morning in the Wall Street Journal: To Solve Inflation, First Solve Deficits, This Theory Advises. I am not smart enough to fully understand everything in this article.
Then I read Kevin Drum’s blog: Corporations are marking up their products way beyond the inflation rate. To be honest, this is what I’ve seen every time I’ve seen inflation.
Most of us are not economists. So if I’m voting, what do I do to help calm inflation?
I bet a bunch of voters are wondering the same thing. They’re also wondering about who they should vote for to manage immigration, crime, and abortion.
Even how the government spends money is short-term thinking. IMNHO, The government is not a good steward of money. One thing my conservative dad and I agreed on every single time we discussed politics was this: the government excels at wasting money. So I agree with many conservatives about smaller government in terms of gathering and disbursing money.
Those are all short-term problems.
They’re hugely important, but they’re not as important as continuing to live in a democracy. That’s what I mean about long-term thinking.
Long-Term Thinking Guides My Voting
Because we have so many election deniers on the ballot this year, our very democracy is at stake. You might think I’m overstating the issue.
Go look at what the people on your ballot say about the 2020 election. Do they believe that the 2020 election was “stolen” or “rigged”?
Without any data, these people believe the election was stolen.
That’s wishful thinking.
I wish for lots of things. But reality guides my actions.
Do you want other people’s wishful thinking to guide your choices?
Given societal norms, I want to make my own choices for how I live and work. I bet you do, too.
And I really don’t want someone else, guided by wishful thinking, to decide the basis of future elections.
That’s long-term thinking. That’s what’s on the ballot this year.
I’m not saying I agree with everything the Democrats say. I’ve written to my senators several times just this year and told them to back off their progressive ideals. I wanted more concrete action and fewer ideals. (That pragmatic streak that I have.)
But there are too few Republicans whom I can trust to maintain a democracy. That’s a meta problem for all of us.
Choose What Guides Your Voting
So what are the effects of voting for election-denier candidates?
Your vote won’t count anymore.
It won’t matter what you think or care about. If election deniers get into office, they wield the power. They no longer have to answer to you, the people.
If people get to decide what the outcomes of the elections are, they never have to listen to you, a voter, again.
I wish we had ranked-choice voting, so we had more flexibility and a system that would nudge us closer toward a centrist approach for almost everything. We don’t.
So in lieu of ranked-choice voting, I urge you to vote for the long-term. Please vote for people who will maintain our democracy, even if you have to hold your nose and vote for them. (That’s a form of adaptation and a transforming idea!)
Once they get into office, do what I do: write to them all the time and explain that just because you voted for them does not mean they can go nutso with power. But this election is not about inflation, crime, immigration, or even abortion.
This election is about power and who gets to wield it.
I want to wield that power with you through our elected officials. That means I want elected officials who feel responsibility to me—not to someone else in power. I hope you want the same.
Please do go vote on or before November 8. And please vote for Democrats, so your vote counts for the long term.
Once we do, we can avoid wishful thinking and see reality instead. That means we can jointly solve these heavy and hard short-term problems. And we won’t have to worry about having a democracy. Please vote for the long term.
That’s the question this week: Do you plan to vote for the short or the long term?