Election complicity and write-in candidates

Here’s a tidbit from Eric Metaxas (via a much-too-long email exchange with Jon Ward):

We will be complicit in the election of whoever is elected unless we vote for the only person who can defeat them.

Metaxas’s argument is reasonable in the short-term: if a nation only exists for the four years post-election. But if there also exists a long-term, then writing in candidates en masse could make a meaningful difference in political dialogue and the selection of future candidates.

Write-in candidates is a strategy not to win an election, but to effect change in a system that is so fundamentally broken that it produced – after more than 18 months of drama – the two least popular, least liked, least wanted people for the nation’s highest office. Numerous studies showed that Clinton and Trump were the least-liked candidates in modern presidential history. Most voters indicated that they were casting their vote not for a candidate, but against the other candidate.

Imagine if those millions of “against voters” were instead write-in voters. The write-ins wouldn’t win the election, of course. But these votes would help to win back the system that has produced such lowest-common-denominator candidates. The election would be “lost.” But given nothing but lousy candidates from the parties, the election was lost already. A significant percentage of the vote being cast for countless names not on the ticket would shock the system and would help to ensure that the same losing proposition doesn’t happen again the next cycle.

The power given to the electorate to write in any candidate for the office of the presidency is not something that is afforded in every democracy, and it is regrettably a power that too few voters employ, I believe, because of reasons like Metaxas’s.

Voters are playing the short game when they could be playing the long game. Accordingly, we’ll continue to have national elections as outrageous as the last one.