To my mind, the most distinctive feature of the recent presidential election was the way in which it scrambled previously-stable political coalitions. Even Mormon voters, who are perhaps more similar to one another in mindset and political views than any other religious group, found themselves opposed in ways they never thought possible: Mommy-blogger was divided against mommy-blogger, and church-baller against church-baller.
Mormon Trump voters and McMullin voters differed less in political or moral views than in the meaning they impute to the act of voting. McMullin voters (like my in-laws) seemed to think of their vote as an affirmation of their values. By withholding a vote from Trump, they were making a statement about what they consider to be acceptable behavior in a president.
Although I voted for Trump, I have no quarrel with the “endorsement” view of voting. Not one person in the whole country can say, or likely ever will be able to say, that his vote changed the result of the election. Thus, the “meaning” which we attribute to our individual vote is essentially metaphysical, and not really subject to rational argument. (more…)