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Single Issue Voting

Single issue voting is voting for a specific candidate because of one thing they believe in. The platforms are commonly pro-life, pro-gun, fair taxing, anti-immigration, but they could be anything. Single issue voters say “this one thing is so important to me I am willing to ignore the rest of this candidates beliefs and actions because they are more likely to follow through on this one thing I want than the other candidate”.

I have come to the conclusion that I find this mildly appalling and often to some degree willfully ignorant.

Single issue voting might make sense if single issues, opinions, or beliefs, only effected the parties involved with that specific outcome. For example; voting for a candidate because they are pro-life would make sense if the only outcome was less abortions. But this is never the case. There is no such thing as magically having “less abortions”, there is always a catalyst. Pro-life candidates generally choose anti-abortion laws as this catalyst. It would be one thing if anti-abortion laws stopped the need for abortions, but they don’t. Illegal abortions continue to happen, now we are effecting the medical field and the women undergoing this dangerous operation. Women are carrying children to full term and are facing immeasurable burdens such as health risks, emotional trauma, financial strain, the list goes on. Anti-abortion laws effect children born in homes where parents can’t or aren’t willing to support them in all the ways babies need to be supported. The babies that are given up for adoption enter the foster system, a system which is broken. Anti-abortion laws don’t just lessen abortion rates, they effect numerous people, many I’m sure I am not even aware of.

No matter whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, I am assuming you would agree that anti-abortion laws affect much more than just abortion rates. With this being said, being pro-life is not one single platform. It is a belief that manifests in many different platforms.

Or we can take immigration for example. Believing we should have strict and rigorous immigration laws does not just magically mean good people are allowed to enter America, and bad people are kept out. Immigration laws effect anyone who wants to enter America, it effects those already in America, it effects the people hired to maintain the laws. Voting for a candidate purely because they have the same view as you on immigration is not as simple as that. That one opinion made into law decides the fate of hundreds of thousands of people, in as many different situations, with very different desires.

Maybe you agree that single issue voting is bigger than just one opinion, but you feel like that one category of opinions is more important to you than all the others.

How can you feel that way?

Is the life of an unborn child more important to you than the life of a young girl being sexually abused? Is your right to own whatever gun you want more important to you than your right to be taxed fairly? Is keeping bad people out of America more important to you than keeping good people out of prison? Can you really say that you believe some peoples livelihoods are more valuable than others?

Personally I can’t. I want to end sex trafficking arguably as much as I want to end animal abuse. I don’t want anyone to go hungry as much as I want everyone to work for a livable wage. I want police officers to stop abusing their power and murdering black men as much as I want innocent people of color out of prison. I want education reform as much as I want women’s rights. Some of these issues are easier to tackle than others. Some of them I might have to sacrifice working on now to work on others. But there is not a single thing I believe in that I would ignore all my other beliefs to achieve it.

I would not vote for a president purely because they were pro-choice if they were also racist, sexist, bad with money, rude, and uneducated. I would not vote for a president purely because they believed in women’s rights if they didn’t also believe in equal rights for anyone of any race or ethnicity.

In the end it is not this simple. It is easier to find a needle in million haystacks than to find a candidate that believes exactly what you do, but voting because of a single platform you believe in is never a good enough reason to ignore all the other things this country so desperately needs and deserves.

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