Say what you want about the results of Tuesday’s presidential election, but never say your vote didn’t matter.
In Wisconsin, a state assumed to vote blue throughout the election, President-elect Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by just 1 percent – just 27,257 votes according to Politico. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson took 3.6 percent from the state, good for more than 100,000 votes, enough to flip the state in Trump’s direction.
In Pennsylvania, another state assumed to be safe Clinton territory until the final days of the race, Trump won by 1.2 percent – just 68,236 votes. There, Johnson won 2.4 percent of the vote and had more than 142,000 ballots cast in his favor. Again, Johnson’s voters could have overwhelmingly altered the course of the election.
In New Hampshire, a state which currently shows Clinton ahead, the former secretary of state pulled in 47.5 percent to Trump’s 47.3 percent, the difference being just 1,437 votes. Green Party candidate Jill Stein won over less than one percent of the state’s voters, still enough for more than 6,000 votes. If Stein’s voters were forced to choose one of the two main party candidates, they could nearly decide the state without considering the other millions of votes.
The point here is not that voters who opted for a third-party candidate helped or hurt one candidate or another. But is instead to showcase how close these results really were, how close they were to going a different direction, and how just a fraction of a percent of the population can decide an election.
Your vote counted. It may have pushed Trump to further victory, or brought Clinton a stone’s throw from the White House. But, they indisputably and undeniably mattered.
In the weeks leading up to the election, Trump repeatedly undermined the results of U.S. election. In mid-October Trump tweeted that “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.” During rallies held throughout the late stages of his campaign, Trump repeated the claim and others like it, calling the system “rigged” and saying that on Nov. 8 there would be massive voter fraud committed across the country in an effort to defeat him.
He was wrong.
Whether the results of 2016’s election were the one’s you were rooting for or not, they should be proof enough that the system in which we operate is not rigged. The sentiment of the American people is felt and is heard and it leads to change when enough people agree. Otherwise, a candidate accused of sexual assaulting more than 10 women, disavowed by the country’s leading economists, and endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, wouldn’t have been elected the next president of the United States.
Trump’s victory is symbolic, just as his supporters had claimed it would be since he announced his running during the summer of 2015. For his supporters, he is a symbol of change and of displeasure with the Washington elite class. But for the entire nation, it is symbolic of the fact that his very own rhetoric, of a system rigged against him and the futility in some cases of a vote in his favor, was wrong.
Your vote mattered on Tuesday.
It mattered because if it was cast for Trump, it gave him razor thin leads in crucial states that propelled him to victory. It mattered because if it was cast for Clinton, it pulled your candidate within inches of the finish line in the most crucial of contests. And it mattered if it was cast for a third-party candidate, because had you cast it in another direction, there could be a different winner standing on the world’s biggest stage.
Your vote matters, and the system is not rigged. Half of the country got what it wanted, and half didn’t. Unfortunately, that’s how elections almost always play out. But take solace in the fact that your vote was counted, and it mattered when all was said and done. In this beautiful country, you should be more certain of that than anything else. If you can find no other good from the results, or the vitriol that was this campaign, keep in mind just how important you really are, and how much America continues to count on you and your vote.
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