Choice Matters

Published 3:18 pm Saturday, September 22, 2018

Did you know that nearly one of four State and Federal races in Texas this year have only a single candidate?  If not for the Libertarian Party that would be nearly one out of three.  In the primaries, it is even worse, which is why Texas ranked 42nd in primary turnout.  Most contested seats are “safe” because of gerrymandering.  75% of Texans won’t vote in this midterm.  Nearly two-thirds of Texans who do will simply vote straight party.  As a result, maybe one of 12 Texans will actively choose candidates for who they are as leaders.

This is not how our country was meant to work.  It happens because our elected officials work for themselves, and focus on their party’s primary to stay elected.  They bet we’ll all go along in the general election.  We need every voter to have a real choice in every race, every vote to count, and every race competitive.   We need our elected officials listening to the voters in the middle.  And we need them worried about general election voters, not their most hardcore primary base. It’s like the old western where the good guy says, stop worrying about the bad guy, and start worrying about me.

So how are we going to change this?  I teach my 3 and 5-year-old daughters that life and politics is a participatory sport.  They are why I’m running for US Senate.  No more kicking the can down the road.  It’s time to stand up.

Know your ballot.  Find a voter guide, start with the League of Women Voters online.  The information is out there.  Spend a couple of hours doing some reading on the candidates, it’s only once every two years.  You know you were going to watch bad TV for that hour anyway.  The party label may be a start, but you owe it to your kids and mine to make every candidate earn your vote.

No single issue voting.  Look, I get it.  We all have issues that are so important we simply vote against the candidate that threatens them.  But the world isn’t that simple, and elected officials will probably spend 5% of their time on that issue.  Worse politicians actually hire consultants who do polls and design their marketing and attack ads, based on your single issue.  Then they buy data on you and market straight to your home or cell phone.  I want you to take that power back.  Stack rank it.  Make a pros and cons list and rank every candidate on all the issues side by side.  Vote based on the whole stack.  They can’t game the stack rank.

Vote for, not against.  There are usually more than two choices.  We need to vote for our first choice whoever it is, of whichever party, not for your 2nd against your 3rd.  The voting booth is private for a reason, vote for your choices, based on your analysis.  Don’t vote based on who you think will win, or what you think polls or other voters will do.  That’s giving your vote to another voter who is no less important than you.

Only when voters take back the power will elected officials listen to us again, instead of talking to their own party’s extremes.  Remember the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? You deserve a choice, but it’s up to you to make it happen.

I was asked in the Dallas Morning News, What political leader do you most admire and why?  This was my answer:  At a civic association event that I spoke at recently, I met a senior citizen named Lewis.  Before the speech, I introduced myself to Lewis and told him that I was the Libertarian nominee for US Senate.  He shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, obviously considering his words carefully, “If you get into the Senate, I want you to remember, that’s not your chair. That’s my chair; you work for me!”  He’s got it right.  I want to be the politician that Lewis admires.


Neal Dikeman, Libertarian Nominee for United States Senate for Texas

Find more at