Katherine Mangu-Ward Tries to Convince CSPAN Viewers That Their Votes Don't Count


This morning, Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward appeared on CSPAN's Washington Journal to discuss her cover story in the current issue, "Your Vote Doesn't Count." Callers remained largely unconvinced. Watch (and read) and decide for yourself!

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  1. Can’t watch the video, but my vote certainly does count! I kept that disingenuous bitch Katherine McPhee from winning and I’d do it again!

    1. My votes matter. Chicago style is the only way to play.

  2. The fact that millions of people bother voting is the most damning indicment of the American public education system I can think of.

  3. What I suspect is that people really, truly want to believe that voting matters and that their vote matters in particular, and when you try to break this illusion they get really pissed. For the sake of their own sanity, they need to perpetuate the lie that democracy is truly government by the consent of the governed, so they associate themselves with a team and try hard to convince themselves that the other side is nothing but traitors to the very idea of America, and that therefore you as a non-voter are with the Other because you’re not with Us.

    I get this attitude all the time from my Dad. I tell him I refuse to play the game of lesser-of-two-evils. He tells me I’m responsible if Obama finally destroys the country. I tell him neither party is interested in fixing the structural problems that have been grinding away at American competitiveness for decades. He tells me the Republicans aren’t perfect, but are better than the Democrats, who are socialists. I tell him the GOP had control of the presidency and both houses of Congress for 6 years and did nothing but increase the size, cost, and intrusiveness of government during that period, oh and gave us the TSA, the Patriot Act, and Medicare prescription drugs to name a few things. As that vein in his forehead starts to twitch, it all goes downhill from there. We don’t talk about voting much as a result.

    1. He tells me I’m responsible if Obama finally destroys the country.

      I do not get people who say this. I am not responsible, the people who voted for him are responsible. If Romney wins, and destroys the country, then the people who voted for him are responsible.

      I normally do not vote for presidents, as normally they do represent my values. I do vote; against increases in taxes, for propositions that increase freedoms, etc.

    2. I didn’t know Tulpa was your dad.

      1. Tulpa is everyone’s dad.

    3. I’m under no illusion that my vote will make any difference, and I’ve tried to explain that to the people (Read: Tulpa and Ken Shultz) who plan to vote for Romney cause “At least he can win!” I will vote, just to express my support for the best guy on the ballot, and to do my part in fighting the system so to speak, though it may be futile

    4. I tell him the GOP had control of the presidency and both houses of Congress for 6 years

      Only 4 years so you are technically incorrect. Not sure if that’s the worst or best kind of incorrect though.

  4. This is the same woman who, through her words, prevented Ron Paul from the presidency. Don’t hear her words, people. Don’t do it.

  5. I think I get what she’s saying regarding the uselessness of the single vote, but elections are composed of lots of single votes. Abstaining doesn’t have any effect. If you’re civically concerned, you do want to have an effect, right? Otherwise, it’ll always be someone else’s results.
    This reminded me of an old Eisenhower quote, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything” that could easily transfer to this issue: “Votes are nothing, voting (in a democracy) is everything”

    1. PS why have I never seen that c-span host before..my god

    2. I’d modify your statement to say that advocacy is everything: the time I spend arguing with others about the true nature of politics in the US is worth orders of magnitude more, not only in terms of others’ votes but in terms of the future of politics, than all the votes I have ever cast or will cast. Voting is pointless, but affecting the votes and philosophical viewpoints of many other people is worth a lot. It’s why I’m not a nihilist.

      This probably doesn’t include posting on reason.com, because it’s mostly an echo chamber mixed with a few trolls.

      1. If I had a political following, I would urge freedom-fanciers to vote Romney because of the consequences of re-electing someone like Obama in the face of an economic catastrophe like the present.

        But since I only control my single vote, which is unlikely to affect the outcome, I think I will vote for my preferred candidate – which in this case is Virgil Goode.

        1. What exactly are these consequences that a Romney presidency will avoid? I have yet to have anyone really spell that out for me in convincing fashion.

          From my vantage point, the economic catastrophe the US is experiencing is the result of decades of poorly-conceived central planning: the minor perturbations along the way, Obama’s included, are not apocalyptic on their own but only as part of the unified whole.

          1. The message would basically be – here’s a guy who doesn’t even pretend to be into the freedom philosophy, he presides over an economic disaster, he says that the disaster is attributable to too much freedom – and he gets re-elected!

            What message will that send to the Repubs? “Gosh, I guess we better tone down all that anti-governmental extremism, it’s a vote-loser!”

            1. Sure, and what if things have gone so far that the collapse happens under Romney presidency? “See what happens when you elect a free market capitalist billionaire loving Koch sucker?” I’d much rather be able to, rightly, blame the policies of Obama and the scum suckers in both parties whose fifty year Santa pander led us to where we are.

              1. Also, for Romney, fiscal sanity and sound Supreme Court appointments will at least be options on the table – and he will have a base which will reward sanity and punish insanity, in contrast to the Dem base.

                1. “Also, for Romney, fiscal sanity and sound Supreme Court appointments will at least be options on the table – and he will have a base which will reward sanity and punish insanity, in contrast to the Dem base.”

                  Haha good one

      2. GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

        After thinking this through so much today, I’m seriously questioning whether to bother voting for even GJ, and whether to send the LP another dime. Rationally, I’d be better off spending my time doing anything else, and better off sending that money to Cato, Reason, IJ, FIJA, etc.

      3. because it’s mostly an echo chamber mixed with a few trolls.

        And it’s not always clear which is which.

  6. If you Choose not to Decide
    You still have made a Choice!

  7. I’m lazy, so I’ll just repost my comment from her article.

    “Saw a bit of the C-span appearance, and I’d suggest adding a reason or modifying one of the reasons people have to vote. One progressive chucklehead kept calling KMW “an elitist”, another was a black vet who referenced the civil rights days, and another was a Liberian immigrant. Instead of “it’s fun,” how about “voting gives some people the feeling of an emotional connection to their country.” All of those people gave personal, emotional responses as to why they vote.

    For me, voting 3rd party is my obscene gesture to DC. If they only had Rep v Dem on the ballot, I wouldn’t vote.

  8. Your vote doesn’t count, but they count every vote. Whichever party loses will be looking at all the votes Johnson got and wondering what they can do better next time.

  9. Mangu-Ward makes coherent mathematics-based arguments. Callers tell her that the truth hurts their feelings and that she’s being a big meany-face. That pretty well sums up my experience whenever I’m asked why I don’t vote.

    1. “Coherent mathematics-based arguments”? Hardly!

      So here’s her coherent mathematics-based argument: “I’m talking about pure, raw math. In all of American history, a single vote has never determined the outcome of a presidential election.”

      That’s it!? Because it hasn’t happened before, it won’t happen (or is insignificantly statistically likely to happen, and therefore dismissed as having any chance to happen) in the future?

      If I flipped a coin some number of times and it came up heads each time, then she might declare that “In all the history of flipping this coin it has never come up tails”, and might assert that it is impossible (or insignificantly statistically likely) that the next flip would come up tails.

      But this claim would be just as invalid as the one that states: “Since all the previous flips came up heads, statistically the next flip is ever more likely to come up tails.”

      The fact is each flip has the same 50/50 statistical likelihood of coming up heads or tails, independent of all the previous flips.

      The significance of the effect of a single vote on the outcomes in all the previous elections has no impact on the next election.

  10. Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it.

    – Mahatma Gandhi

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