This is an excerpt from an email to my friend Jeff, who asked my opinion on the election:
I only follow politics marginally, and I don’t identify with either party. I believe in smaller government (Libertarian/Republican stuff), but am more idealistic than most Republicans, probably owing to my age. I’m voting for Gore because:
a. I like his commitment to the environment, and his leanings toward gun control.
b. George Bush doesn’t strike me as particularly bright or experienced. It’s true that he has good advisors, but what happens when they disagree and he has to make the deciding vote? My impression stems mostly from his ill treatment of the press and his inability to interact diplomatically with them under pressure. I see national politics as a great big version of campus politics and I covered campus elections in college. The people who were jerks to me made bad politicians once they got elected. The people who were nice were much more effective because they were able to sway people to their point of view. I would have had a much tougher decision to make if they’d nominated McCain instead.
c. Bush has done a pretty cruddy job in Texas. They’ve made some advances, but Texas is pretty much last in education, health care, and environmental stuff. Last in everything but capital punishment, in which they’re first. Bush is a -huge- proponent of capital punishment. That brings me to my next point.
d. Capital punishment. I used to support it wholeheartedly until DNA testing started turning up innocent people on death row. I think if there’s a chance that even one innocent person will lose his or her life, it’s barbaric. Also, from a pragmatic standpoint, it costs more for us to kill people than it costs for us to imprison them for the rest of their lives.
e. I haven’t even considered Nader because very few, if any, Republicans will vote for him and he has no chance of winning. Therefore, voting for Nader is effectively voting for Bush. However, if a certain percentage of voters vote for him, that creates a third political party. For some people, it will be worth “wasting” their vote in this election for the chance of having more candidate choices in the future. I don’t agree because I don’t think more parties are the answer, I think campaign finance reform would do a lot more to increase our selection.
There you have it. Not entirely scientific, but that’s me.