Please vote in the US midterm elections

02 November 2022

In the United States, we have midterm elections coming up. Many people aren't interested in politics, or feel there is nobody worthwhile to vote for. If you're an American inclined to skip voting in these midterms, I'd appreciate it if you read this appeal.

The United States is a stable democratic republic, and one of the luxuries of living in such a system is that many of us can mostly ignore its politics. There is a lot of intense noise in the party-political process, but the system contains guard-rails that keep that noise spilling into the everyday life of family, work, and recreation. But a cancer has taken hold within the American political system that's threatening those guard rails, undermining the peaceful electoral process. This will lead to more instability in the coming years, interfering with the lives of those who'd rather not pay attention to party-political causes. Voting against that cancer will help reduce its virulence.

This cancer is the fiction that there was significant election interference in the 2020 elections that caused former President Trump to lose. The evidence that the 2020 elections did not have any material problems is overwhelming. Trump's allies launched 63 lawsuits contesting the election, none of which made appreciable progress. Senior members of Trump's administration, and leaders of his campaign, testified to congress that there was no evidence of fraud in the election. These were people appointed by Trump, who had served him loyally during his presidency.

Despite this, a now-dominant faction of the Republican party continue to claim fraud in the 2020 elections, a lie that undermines the effective working of future elections. A worryingly large proportion of Americans believe this lie, causing growing fissures in American society. An elected Republic like ours works because disagreements about how we want to live can be contested in a peaceful, contained environment. Elections regularly decide the outcome. If trust in the election process dies, then we'll see other means used, including violence. All of this will intrude on the lives of people who'd rather live without the clamor of party politics.

This is why I'm urging those who aren't inclined to vote, to cast a vote to help contain this threat. I ask you to look at who is up for election in your district. Are any of these people contesting the electoral process and repeating the lies about the 2020 election? If so, vote against them. Please do so even if you are in a uncompetitive district where one party wins comfortably. Cast these votes at all levels: federal, state and local. Particularly take note of any who will have responsibility for future elections. Politicians who say things that undermine the electoral process do so only because they think it can help them win. If politicians see that amplifying these kinds of lies loses them votes, even if it's not enough votes to make a difference, then that will encourage them to stop, or encourage wiser politicians to take their place.

In general, lies that inflame division undermine a free society. Lies about the election process damage the very mechanism that we use to settle our differences. Voting now will reduce the chances of more painful actions in the future.