Nebraska is a big red state – both in football and in politics. It’s been said that the only thing that outnumbers Republicans in Nebraska is cattle – and most of those cows would vote GOP if they could.
There are definitely pros and cons to living in a state where one party dominates all of the state and national offices. For example, I don’t think the Lincoln TV stations have shown a single Obama or Romney ad (or super PAC attack ads bashing one of the candidates)*. The campaigns know that Nebraska’s miniscule amount of electoral votes are going to Romney, and no amount of soft focus ads with ominous voice-overs will change that.
*This isn’t quite the case in for folks who watch the Omaha channels, as a) neighboring Iowa is a swing state, and b) because Nebraska is one of two states who splits their electoral vote by congressional district, there is a (slight) chance that Obama could steal an electoral vote in Nebraska, as he did in 2008.
And I’m okay with that. I have a degree in Advertising and I’ll be first to tell you that political ads (from both sides) are entirely composed of lies, half-truths, and slanderous evil. So the lack of wall-to-wall ads is a positive.
But there is one big negative: pretty much any vote I cast in a state or national election – regardless of party – is purely symbolic.
Since I live in Lincoln, a vote for Obama isn’t going to help him win an electoral vote. I could still vote for him as a show of support (or dissent from my Republican neighbors). I could also write-in my own name*. Both have the same impact.
*Nebraska residents, for the first time I am elgible to be elected President of the United States. Feel free to (FeitCan) write me in. I’m willing to release my birth certificate, tax returns, helium balloons, whatever it takes.
If I vote for Romney, I’m a single snowflake in a GOP avalanche. In 2008, John McCain won Nebraska by approximately 120,000 votes, which is more than the number of registered voters in Nebraska’s third, fourth, and five largest cities. Combined. I feel safe in saying that Mitt will do just fine in Nebraska without my vote.
But I will still vote today.
Why? I’ll spare you the 8th Grade social studies response about it being my civic duty, or any other clichéd answer. Instead, I’ll give you the primary reason I vote – and the reason you should vote today too:
By exercising your right to vote, you gain one of the most fundamental American rights. It may not be in the Constitution, but all Americans hold this right dear.
The right to complain.
That is why I’ve been tolerating the barrage of politically charged Facebook posts this year – I know the people posting that stuff have voted in the past, and will vote today.
But if you don’t vote, I don’t want to hear it for another four years.