Let’s Talk About Single-Issue Voting

The 2016 Presidential Election seems to be a breeding ground for single-issue voters. The two candidates vying for the Presidency are disliked by many within their own parties, never mind the American public, at large. Many people have chosen to pick candidates based on the one issue that they most care about, regardless of the candidate’s general platform. There are many Republicans who hate Donald Trump that are voting for him based solely on his pro-life stance. Conversely, there are many Democrats who dislike Hillary Clinton, but are willing to vote for her purely because of her immigration policy. What do single-issue voters really say about the political system and the election?

There are a plethora of stances on this. Many religious groups believe that single-issue voting for pro-life issues is morally correct, while feminist groups might believe the same for pro-choice issues. Yet, shouldn’t a voter base their decision on more than a single issue? Is it really acceptable to thrust the fate of the most powerful nation on earth, of democracy itself, onto a few opinions, rather than a candidate’s total record? Are we alright with allowing this to elect a candidate who will be one of the most unpopular presidents in history the moment they are sworn in? I don’t really have a definitive answer, but I think we should seriously consider the potentially negative effects of single-issue voting. When either Trump or Clinton are elected, they will use their newfound influence to promote their entire platform. They will have the force of the majority of Americans’ votes behind them to enforce that platform. It’s likely that many Americans won’t agree with many of the things he or she will do–maybe even most of those who elected him or her won’t agree with something they do–but the numbers will lie. It will appear to the world that a majority of Americans back up that candidate’s proposals at every step. Even if polls come out showing they don’t, the President can still fall back on the undeniable fact that he or she garnered a majority of the people, with those people knowing his or her platform quite well.

What is the solution here? It seems like it would be beneficial to talk more about the issues and less about the scandals and gossip relating to either candidate. When issues are the center of a campaign, and policies are actually proposed, general opinion about things will become apparent. While this is a job for the candidates and the media, the public has a role here, too. We must demand less scandalization of politics and require real solutions to the issues we find most important. It’s time to take democracy back into our own hands and have the politicians work for us, not vice versa. Only then will America be truly great again.

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