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It’s getting close to election time, so I’m here to give you a voting guide for this year that’s universal, whether you’re a liberal, conservative, or undecided.

First and foremost, you should vote, even if you feel your vote doesn’t matter and the race is ultimately between two candidates you don’t like, because you’re demonstrating one of the ultimate drawbacks of politics by subscribing to that thought: the Tragedy of the Commons. You may only be thinking of yourself and your impact by not voting, but when thousands of others think the same way you do, it ends up in disastrous results…such as our current Congressional makeup. Politicians don’t care about you, even to only BS you, unless you do vote. There’s a reason politicians heed the concerns of senior citizens (largest voting bloc) and ignore the concerns of young adults (smallest voting bloc). So please do so.

Moving on from that…

I’ve stated this in an earlier post but it bears repeating. No doubt you’re probably one of millions disappointed with Congress, especially after the last few years when it seems the only things they’re good at are blaming the opposing party for everything and causing one act of gridlock and government ineptitude after another while crisis after crisis piles up. I don’t know about your representatives or senators, but the few times the ones I voted for actually do something it’s usually the opposite of what I elected them for. Congressional approval continues to be low, and as gridlock and inability to compromise continues, the stagnation only escalates.

What compounds this most of all is it seems both parties are simply “holding out” on doing anything until Americans give them a majority rather than try to work out any deals they can’t “blame the other side for”. And, in a sense, that’s our fault because between the politicians, the pundits, the media, and mass fear, we’ve pretty much all been conditioned to think if we so much as admit what “the other side” did was a decent move that’s tantamount to declaring an Orwellian nightmare or a Stalinist regime. Nowhere is this clearer than the election season. Some of you are no doubt voting for at least one guy over another. My guess is, however, that if I was to ask you if you’re perfectly confident with your choice, you’re not. You just feel the other guy would be a disaster to the country. And that’s exactly what every politician runs on now. They have to. Their past few years in Congress have been abyssmal and the polls show it. They can’t run on their successes because they don’t have any successes. But that doesn’t matter. All they have to do is make the other guy/gal look even worse by comparison, even if they’re a challenger rather than an incumbent, and they’re set to spend another 2-6 years doing nothing except preparing to trash their next opponent at the next election. There’s well-established political systems and guys who have been there for decades who run on this. Think about it. How many times have you seen a Congressman actually propose a solution…and how many times have you seen them argue the other side “doesn’t have any ideas” or the other side “is making a terrible idea”, all so they can say later how terrible they are compared to them?

How are they able to do this? It’s quite simple. Congressional disapproval over the past two years flirted with 90% or greater…yet at the same time, approval of one’s own representatives and senators remained at 90%.

Do the math. The people taking those polls (i.e. us) don’t know what they’re talking about with either one question or the other…and based on the stagnation and do-nothingness of Congress, it’s likely the latter of the two.

So…my solution, that I will be doing this year and I hope many more do the same, is simple.

No matter who it is, no matter whose party, vote against the incumbent both in this election and the next few elections.

I’ll admit I’m Republican and I’m ready to vote Democrat this year because that’s a challenger to an incumbent. But if you vote Democrat you should also vote Republican this year if it means someone different from the incumbent. The reason is simple. Both you and me likely think our incumbent is great, but the polls indicate there’s a 90% chance we’re wrong and that if everyone voted the “opposite” this year, nine times out of ten it would end up being a good decision regardless of what we believe.

More importantly, however, we need to “weed the garden”. Sure, you may argue that your senator/representative has been doing fine for years and there’s no reason to vote them out. Again, as I noted above, you’re probably wrong. But even ignoring poll numbers, take a good look at the speeches and appearances by all of the “landed” politicians. How often do they actually do something besides “crusade” against the other side? How often, even if they do something small, do they take the opportunity to mock their opponents, as if the more important thing to take away from their small success is how “the other guy/gal didn’t think of it first”?

And yes, while Presidents come and go, Senators and Representatives are effectively “nobility” in the right cases because they can be in for decades or even near-life. (Don’t hold your breath waiting for an Amendment to the Constitution to impose term limits on them either…as they’re the ones who both have to propose it and agree on it.) They’re the ones who enjoy the power and authority and pull the strings for all the younger politicians in Washington. So…for the next 6 or so years, always vote the challenger. In six years, there won’t be a single senator/representative in Congress who’s been there longer than one term. There’ll be no more “hierarchy”, “seniority”, or “power structure”.

Sure you may say it sounds crazy, impossible, or unlikely…but that’s also exactly what ever 20+ year incumbent is relying on you to say so they can just chill next Tuesday for another term. If it keeps getting passed around long enough, maybe it’ll finally “sink in” and get a movement going.

I’m going to be doing my part.

How about you?