The Contrarian View: How Much Will the Next President Really Affect Your Life?


Growing up, and even recently, I’ve noticed that my father has rarely voted, even for Presidential elections. I recall going to (public) middle school and high school and being lectured on how we all MUST vote in elections (local, State, Federal, etc.) and become involved in our governance. It is our duty.

So I asked my father why he didn’t care about politics at all, or go to the polls to vote for the President of the country. Once every four years; it seems easy enough. His response was very practical, and reasonable from a man who had lived through several Presidents.

“Why should I vote? What difference does it make? Whether I like the Democrat or the Republican, whoever gets in there doesn’t really matter to me. My life won’t change because of him. I still have to get up and go to work tomorrow morning,”.

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This viewpoint, combined with general laziness or ignorance, accounts for the fact that since 1972 we have never had more than 60% of the electorate actually vote in a Presidential election. That means that at least since then, the President was NEVER elected/ chosen by a majority of voting age citizens. The apathy rate is truly sad, and it is trending in the wrong direction. The highest levels of voter participation were in the mid-late 1800’s. The highest voting % ever was 80%, in fact. But, several years ago, we didn’t even crack the 50% barrier.

In many ways, my dad was right. Let’s face the facts. This November, whether it’s Sanders or Clinton or a Republican, the following will still be true in your own life and in your own household:

America FallingYou will still need to pay your mortgage each month.

You will still need to go to your job; you still need to buy food, electricity, heat, clothes, etc.

You still will have to mow the lawn every week or two.

Your husband/wife will still get on your nerves/ want a lake cottage/ disagree on how to reprimand the kids.

Your brother (mother, friend, etc.) will still be struggling with a mental health or drug problem.

Your best friend will still be on the verge of divorce.

Your cholesterol and blood pressure will still be too high.

Your dad will be teetering on needing to be moved into a nursing home.

Etc, etc.

Essentially, your life, and my life, will still go on as usual.

We all say the same overdramatic things with politics. I remember when Obama was running in 2008 and I said openly, “If Obama gets elected, we are in huge trouble. We just cannot afford that. How can we elect someone so incompetent and untested?”

But, the United States continued and marched onward. Given, he did a poor job- but we all managed.

Then four years later he was seeking reelection, and I said, “This country will be a disaster if we have ANOTHER four years of Obama. We just can’t do it; it could be the end of the USA as we know it.” And I was not the only one to declare such an opinion.

But now, 7 years into his Presidency, although Obama has tried his best- the USA still (somewhat) resembles what it was back in the good ‘ole days of George W. Bush.

The point of course is that, for 95% of us, my father was more right than not. Now, this does not mean I am advocating that people stay home and not vote. I still view voting as a civic duty and it is what is best for the country, as a whole. I want the country to do well and to prosper and to be a place where I want my children to grow up. At a macro level, it IS important who our President is, and who our next President will be. But from a micro level, does it make much of a difference- tomorrow or next week or even next year who wins the election? Maybe all the pundits get a little too worked up over things after all.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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