I Found 18 Reasons
We have some friends who are staunch third-party advocates. “Democrat or Republican, there’s not a bit of difference between them,” they say. We disagree, and strenuously, but ignore that for now. If you’re disappointed in the choices available in the presidential race–and we probably all feel that at one time or another–there’s more in play than The Big Prize.
The ballot in our district includes more than 18 elections, from president on down to three seats on our town council (our booming metropolis is home to 12,000 on a good day).
Why should we be concerned about these “small” races?
- Because Andrew Jackson started as a district judge in Tennessee
- Grover Cleveland was the sheriff of Erie County, New York
- Calvin Coolidge was mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts
- Harry S Truman was first elected as a county court judge in Missouri
Or the state legislature?
- George Washington first served in the Virginia House of Burgesses.
- So did Thomas Jefferson.
- Abraham Lincoln was an Illinois state representative.
- Theodore Roosevelt was first elected as a New York state Assemblyman.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt served in the New York state Senate.
- Barack Obama began in the Illinois state Senate.
Other state offices?
- Millard Fillmore was New York state comptroller
- Warren G. Harding was lieutenant governor of Ohio
- Bill Clinton was Arkansas attorney general
Several governors (20), Congressmen (19) , and U.S. Senators (16) eventually served in the White House, too.
In fact, only three presidents held no prior political office – retired Generals Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. (There is an interesting list here.)
If you don’t like your choices for president, think seriously about the choices you make down the ballot. Those offices are important today, and those races will shape the choices your children have for president, governor, or Congress down the road. You might look at your county council or district attorney’s race and decide, “No presidential prospects there!” –and statistically speaking, you’re probably right—but remember those are the kind of men and women who end up on candidate search committees, platform committees, and nomination votes.
Small races are important–don’t ignore them. Please, go vote.
(And while you’re there, please go ahead and vote for the presidential candidate you believe most likely to lead our country in the right direction!)