Don’t let Iowa discourage you from voting

Tyler Sabloff | Senior Forum Editor

I’m not gonna sugarcoat it: the Iowa caucus was an unbridled disaster. Everything that could have gone wrong did, and then some. I won’t waste any time walking through what happened or analyzing what the results mean for the overall nomination process (which would be hard anyway, given we still don’t have a finalized result nearly a week later). If you don’t know or are curious to look up the series of events that lead to this situation, read this article for a detailed synopsis.

What I want to stress about this major blunder is to not let it be a discouragement from engaging in the primary process. If you are planning on voting for the Democratic candidate in November, you should vote in the primaries or caucuses for your ideal candidate. Just because this specific caucus was a mess doesn’t mean that the one you vote in will be. And even if it does end up being one, participating in the broken process is better than not participating at all.

Is the current nominating system ideal? No, far from it. But it is the one we have for this election and sitting it out would be a disservice to you and the democratic process. I’m planning on voting in the New Jersey primary on June 2nd, the final primary day for all of the 50 states. By that point the nominee will be all but decided, rendering my vote nearly meaningless. Will that stop me from going to the polls? No, because participation in the process itself is important beyond just affecting the results. Increased participation upholds the integrity of the voting systems, and the more votes a particular candidate’s ideology gets, the more likely their ideas will find their way into the greater party platform.

I honestly don’t really care who you end up voting for in the primaries or even in the general election. What I do care about is that you do actually vote in both. The democratic process only functions properly when people actually participate. In 2016, only 28.5% of voting-age citizens actually cast ballots in a primary, slightly less than the all time high of 30.4% in 2008. When less than a third of voters are actually participating in the primary process, then the process can never be truly representative of the American electorate. So disregard the disillusionment you might feel from the Iowa face plant. Your vote is still important.

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