Is not voting ever a responsible choice? I really don’t want to vote in the Illinois governor’s race. Voting for the antiunion Bruce Rauner was never a consideration, but I was prepared to reluctantly vote for J. B. Pritzker until hearing about the toilet scam. Seems like it would be voting for a crook.
The other two candidates, Republican state Rep. Sam McCann, who’s running as a Conservative Party candidate, and Libertarian candidate Grayson “Kash” Jackson, aren’t options for a liberal Democrat.
The only times I’ve ever not voted were when I forgot to take bar association recommendations for judicial candidates into the booth. I felt no guilt about those nonvotes — we can’t be expected to know about all judicial candidates, and not voting was preferable to helping elect those who were unqualified.
Lack of information about the governor’s race can’t be claimed. The more I learn, the lesser my liking for the only candidate for whom I could conceivably vote. Besides removing toilets to claim his mansion was uninhabitable so that he could lower his property taxes, Pritzker dodges questions. He called the property tax revelation a political hit job, and he said he wasn’t involved in the renovation of the mansion when it was disclosed that workers were nonunion. He’s refused to disclose details of his progressive income tax proposal and declined an invitation to appear before the Tribune editorial board.
It’s not that I will stay out of the voting booth on November 6 but that the governor section of the ballot would be skipped. Or I’d write in someone. Illinois allows voters to write in a candidate on the blank line under the announced candidates. The vote won’t be counted for the candidate unless he or she has filed an Intent to be a Write-in Candidate form, but a substantial number of write-ins would perhaps send a message.
According to the polls, Pritzker is comfortably ahead — so my no-vote shouldn’t affect the outcome. Would I have considered not voting if the race were close? In all honesty, the answer is probably no. That makes me think of a Republican relative who detested Donald Trump from the start of the presidential primaries but couldn’t bring himself to vote for Hillary Clinton. He voted for third-party candidate Gary Johnson. Of course, everyone thought that Clinton had the election in hand. I didn’t ask him afterward whether he regretted his vote. Conceding that the polls can get it wrong, how would I feel if Rauner wins and I hadn’t voted for Pritzker?
There must be some people, probably partisans, who like Pritzker, but everyone with whom I’m spoken thinks he’s slimy but the only conceivable choice. People who dislike Pritzker are going to have to vote for him to keep Rauner from a second term. Am I going to claim that it’s okay for other people to look the other way but I’m too principled? Puulease. My not voting for Pritzker would be expecting other people to do the dirty work so that I could keep my conscience clean.
So, I guess I’ve come around to reasoning that not voting for Pritzker when the only acceptable outcome is for him to win would be wrong. The opposite of what I earlier thought was the ethical course now appears to be the ethical course.
I’m kidding myself if I think it’s the first time I voted for a slimy politician.
ANTI-TRUMP QUOTATION: 33RD IN AN ONGOING SERIES
“He was elected thanks to the Electoral College, a system originally designed to block demagogues but which no longer does.”
—Anne Applebaum, Washington Post columnist
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