Am I Wasting My Vote? A Quick and Dirty Guide.

1) Boring Groundwork Stuff

  • In every state that Trump wins, all votes for Clinton are wasted votes.
  • In every state that Clinton wins, all votes for Trump are wasted votes.
  • In every state that Clinton wins, every Clinton vote in excess of a majority is a wasted vote.
  • In every state that Trump wins, every Trump vote in excess of a majority is a wasted vote.

2) The Current State of the Election

  • Those states where Clinton has a 75%+ chance of winning are blue. Clinton will absolutely win a majority in these states.
  • Those states where Trump has a 75%+ chance of winning are red. Trump will absolutely win a majority in these states.
  • Those states where neither candidate has a 75%+ chance of winning are green. Something resembling an election is still underway in these states.
  • Every single Trump vote in a blue state will be a wasted vote, since he will lose and receive no electoral votes.
  • Every single Clinton vote in a red state will be a wasted vote, since she will lose and receive no electoral votes.
  • A marginal Trump vote (i.e., your vote) in a red state will be a wasted vote, since he will receive those electoral votes with or without your vote.
  • A marginal Clinton vote (i.e., your vote) in a blue state will be a wasted vote, since she will receive those electoral votes with or without your vote.
  • In green states, there’s at least an itty bitty chance that a Clinton/Trump vote won’t be a wasted vote.

3) Ugh, Just Answer the Question!

  • If you’re in a yellow state, your vote is almost certainly a wasted vote even if you vote for Trump or Clinton. The takeaway? Vote for the candidate who most reflects your views. Cynically voting for the “lesser of two evils” is completely irrational in these states.
  • If you’re in a purple state, it’s marginally less irrational to engage in “lesser of two evils” thinking. Since the elections are somewhat close, there’s at least the remote possibility that you could impact the outcome of the election. Not a great reason to throw away your dignity and vote for Clinton or Trump, but it’s at least in the realm of reasonable if you strongly prefer one over the other.

4) But Wait, There’s More!

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the once and future city planner // AICP // @UCLAluskin // kentuckian in california

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