Since his own narrow defeat in the Democratic primary election earlier this year, Bernie Sanders has learned a thing or two about the importance of making it to the polls. In his new capacity as a Hillary Clinton surrogate, he's hoping to spare her — and the country — from the same fate that befell his candidacy, because this time, the consequences are much, much more severe. Sanders' message to voters is to put your fellow citizens before yourself and swallow any misgivings you may still have about making the choice to vote this year. "If you sit this election out and Trump wins by a few votes, many people are going to be dealing with that reality for their entire lives," Sanders tweeted Sunday morning in a last-ditch effort to spur people to the polls.
Sanders, as usual, is right. Predictions of Trump's 100 days in office are disastrous, not to mention what he may do with the rest of his presidency. From Medicare to the Affordable Care Act to The Wall™️, Trump's policies will severely degrade the quality of life for many of the most vulnerable members of American society. Trump has proven over and over again that he is only out to protect himself and people like him. Abstaining from voting won't be a protest statement on his or Clinton's candidacy, but will only perpetuate that defense of the people at the top.
What this election has really shown is that it's hard to get people not to think about themselves first. The fundamental principles of American government — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — kind of structure it that way. The Founding Fathers lived in a world of self-sufficiency and possibility for a few, with general disregard for the rest, and that mindset has largely continued. People rationalize their choice not to vote by saying they don't like any of the candidates or their vote won't matter in the grand scheme of things, as though their preference and their choice is the only one that matters.
The flaw with that logic is that the world is so much more interconnected than it once was, and your vote has a larger effect than the creators of this country could have ever imagined. Your vote affects other people, especially those who are already marginalized by the political system. It is your responsibility to vote compassionately on behalf of those who need advocacy and a political voice, and not to abstain on the sole basis of your own dissatisfaction.
Sanders taught the country that moral, ethical politics is logistically feasible, and it's a crucial lesson that the country needs to take to heart in this election. Although you may be dissatisfied with the options, actions is better than inaction, and there is still an obvious choice to be made between the two front running candidates. Sanders' urge to use to your political voice should not go unheard, because if it does, it could mean suffering and discrimination for millions of Americans.