Fewer than 1,000 hours remain until the general election on November 6th. Who will get your vote? Have you decided?
I’ve decided who I am going to vote for in the presidential election, barring some remotely possible cataclysmic event that might make me change my mind. In reaching my decision, I reflected on how I’ve voted in past presidential elections. Sometimes I voted “for” a candidate. Other times I’ve voted “against” one.
When I voted “for” a candidate, I really considered the person to be the right one for the job. When I voted “against” a candidate, I didn’t like either one. I voted “against” the candidate who I thought was the worse of two poor choices.
So far, I’ve voted in ten presidential elections. Here’s my tally of votes for and against:
In two elections, I voted “for” a candidate.
In five elections, I voted “against” a candidate.
In three, I did both—voting “for” one candidate and “against” the other.
Think this is a recent trend? To find the first major “against” campaign in presidential politics, we have to reach all the way back to the late 1700s when Jefferson and Adams got very nasty in their claims about each other. (Years later, in retirement, they became friends again.) The “against” political buttons, at right, reach back to FDR’s era. But the first “against” poster in American museums is called “The Coffin Handbill.” John Qunicy Adams’ 1828 campaign against Andrew Jackson went after General Jackson as a ruthless killer. The Coffin Handbill showed a line of six black coffin silhouettes, each one representing a man Jackson reportedly had identified as a deserter under his military command and had executed. Above the coffins the handbill read: “Some Account of Some of the Bloody Deeds of Gen. Jackson.”
When you go into your polling place on Election Day, your vote only officially registers “for” a candidate. But, today, you can cast a vote for, against, or both.
Who will you vote “for”?
Who will you vote “against”?
As you vote, will you be voting “for” some and “against” others?
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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.