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The Non-Voter in 2020

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

 

Many Conservatives are familiar with the famous quote attributed to one of our more mercurial Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, especially the “A Republic, if you can keep it” bit. It’s often used to spur others to take our very special version of elected government seriously — and unfortunately, sometimes, allow ourselves to get overly preachy about what someone else should do during a presidential election year to protect our liberties. Like vote. “You gotta vote.” “It’s your duty as a citizen to go vote.” Or worst of all, “If you sit home or vote for a third-party candidate, it’s a vote for the other guy/gal.”

I’m going to bet every one of us has been confronted with one of these statements throughout our lives, ever since we’ve been old enough to vote. And it’s an unpleasant feeling. As I previously told RedState readers, it’s a position I could have easily found myself in twice, when I did vote for an independent presidential candidate. One of those times was before even Twitter or Facebook existed, so my decision was never batted around by faceless, total strangers on social media. The second time, I only revealed it to a group of understanding friends. [see: Don’t Shame Independent Voters]

But in 2020, I voted for Donald Trump. Yes, I voted early. Early, but in person. I’m sort of an aberration here in the state of Arizona; the latest statistic I heard was that somewhere around 80 percent of Grand Canyon state voters vote by mail. It’s just a reflection of the state’s make-up. Lots of snowbirds with homes in other states, lots of business travelers. We just don’t stay in one place, maybe. Anyway, that’s what happens.

I grew up in a family that voted in person, usually on Election Day. But sometime in my twenties, I came around to the convenience of early voting. Maybe, eventually, I’ll come around to mail-in voting. But, right now, it doesn’t appeal to me.

So, I voted today. At the Convention Center. With lots of social distancing, and hand sanitizer stations. But, readers, I chose not to wear a mask.

Actually, I had a mask with me. I decided last minute not to put it on over my face (it was hanging around my neck, you know?)

For me, it seems like a natural decision. A free person doesn’t wear a face bag while choosing his or her president.

There are two people I’d like to tell you about, though. I was riding the Phoenix Light Rail home, when I had a chance to talk with a couple men working on the train. One was a Generation Z, white dude; the other was a 50-something, Hispanic gentleman.

I talked to the GenZ first. He’s a security guard, who walks around and checks for valid tickets. He told me that, when he renewed his driver’s license in 2015, the first year he was eligible to vote, he checked off the box to be added to the permanent mail-in voting list. It comes right to his mailbox. He filled it out and mailed it in last week.

The other man, though, had the more interesting story. He’s a city employee, a janitor who was sweeping up inside my compartment, right before the train left the depot. I felt compelled to jot down some of the things he told me, as soon as he was out of sight.

He told me he wasn’t voting in 2020. And the reason concerned me. He said, “I’m scared. I can’t go out wearing my Trump mask. There’s too much anger, on both sides. It’s like dogs, chewing on an old bone.” And when I mentioned to him that he had the option to vote by mail, he admitted that he could have… but he just didn’t want to be a part of the negativity of it all.

Interestingly, he didn’t even know Joe Biden’s name. He called him “the other gentleman” who’s running against Trump.

Keep this in mind, as Election Day and whatever comes after, approaches. There are valid reasons for the non-voter not to show up. Fear is a very real motivator. And it’s a sad commentary on where we are right now as a nation. It’s unsustainable for people to just tune out entirely, because the volume from the media telling Americans that it’s going to be a Cage Match from here on out is turned to 11.

Stop in tomorrow for my piece at RedState about the moment in 2016 when El Rushbo, Rush Limbaugh, first realized, “Hey, Donald Trump is serious, and he’s going to win this thing.” You won’t want to miss it, I promise!

Thanks again for reading. And check out more of my work on my RS Author page (or just click “read more” below).