Every presidential election, I hear arguments for and against voting in the U.S. They all seem very strange to me. Usually, a person says voting is pointless, because they live in a safe state or that no candidate represents their views so feel it is a waste. Sometimes, they say that it is not worthwhile, because the time it takes to vote is outweighed by the chance their vote makes a difference. This, of course, ignores all down-ballot races. Putting non-presidential races aside, these arguments really misrepresent what voting is and instead try to justify it through various capitalist notions of efficiency or efficacy.
You have four major obligations as a citizen of the United States: (i) paying taxes; (ii) voting; (iii) jury duty; and (iv) service in the armed forces. Voting is one of the obligations that is not forced upon you. Nonetheless, you should vote. I know that the notion of one’s duty is quaint, but you should vote because it is your right and obligation as a citizen of the U.S. It’s as simple as that. Capitalist arguments of whether your vote will effective or a gratifying consumer act are irrelevant, because voting is a democratic civic duty, not a economic, capitalist market action.