Who Are You Voting For?

I don’t care.

But I do care about one very important detail: that you vote for Congressional, state and local candidates.

The president is very important for pushing an agenda, but a president handicapped by a Congress controlled by the other party is like a senior citizen driving up (or down) Lookout Mountain . . . going nowhere fast. You should only really celebrate your candidate winning the presidency if their party also wins (or retains) control of Congress. Because of the fierce partisanship we are currently experiencing in D.C., each party is expected to try to stop each other’s agendas like Chartwells stops you up (you know what I mean).

If you are scared to death of the policies (or rhetoric) of one or the other candidate, vote for their opponent in the “down-ticket” elections, meaning, those other people on your ballot. Not “with her?” Vote Republican for Congressional candidates. Has America never stopped being great? Vote Democrat for Congressional candidates. Think one should be in jail and the other institutionalized? Vote for neither and leave their bubbles blank, but vote down-ticket!

Ok, fine, but what about the Supreme Court!?

All SCOTUS nominees must be approved by the Senate, meaning the president needs their party to control the Senate to radically change the balance of the Court.  In rare situations, the president may make recess appointments to the bench (Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution); however, these appointments are extremely rare and are only valid until the Senate convenes next, at which time the Senate can fail to approve the nominee. The balance of the Senate matters to the Supreme Court.

Ok, fine, but what about a third party presidential candidate!?

Have you ever taken your hard-earned money and shoved it down the garbage disposal? Neither have I. Third party candidates are sometimes relevant, but not in 2016. Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) has shown a unique ability to know an embarrassingly small amount of foreign policy and of basic contemporary issues while Jill Stein (Green Party) is a one-issue candidate who was a councilwoman in Lexington, Massachusetts, and resigned to run an embarrassing gubernatorial campaign in 2002 in which she won about 3 percent of the total vote. No third party has put forward a serious candidate worthy of your vote this year.

State and local elections matter if you care about things like how much you are taxed, how your police department operates, how clean and safe your water and roads are, and how kids in your community are educated.

Vote for who you will for president (or leave it blank!), but take a few minutes every breakfast or evening to Google your state and local candidates to learn a thing or two about who will be on your ballot. Everyone is busy, and I know you are no exception. But you have a few minutes to look up the leaders to whom you will be giving power. Try a website like <www.ballotpedia.org/Sample_Ballot_Lookup> to get a personalized ballot (based on your address) with explanations of your choices. This site simply compares candidates and policies so people can see their options in plain English. I think this is essential, but additional research is helpful and as easy as Googling candidate names.

We are citizens of a country that is the definition of a historical anomaly: our democratic process, domestic peace, economic and military dominance are unparalleled in the history of mankind. 2016 is a critical time for our American experiment. It’s been said, “Most people don’t lead their lives, they accept it.” My prayer is that the people of God will choose to lead their lives between now and Nov. 8.

The skinny: VOTE even if you leave the bubbles next to Hillary and Donald blank.