Opinion: Gov. Baker not voting for president sets a bad example

Gov. Charlie Baker at a 2014 roundtable discussion  at the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk Law School on Feb. 4, 2014.

Courtesy of Suffolk University Law School

Gov. Charlie Baker at a 2014 roundtable discussion at the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk Law School on Feb. 4, 2014.

In the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican, opposed re-electing Donald Trump for a second term, stating that he would not vote for him.

Baker, however, also refused to endorse Democratic nominee Joe Biden. When asked at a recent press conference who he decided to vote for, he revealed that he ultimately left the ballot blank

Baker’s decision to do this, to not vote for any candidate, has been on my mind since it was announced. It is crucial for Americans to cast a vote, no matter who it is for.

Voting is what gives the American people a say in government decisions and what legislation is passed. Not casting a vote is basically saying you don’t care what laws are passed and how they affect your fellow citizens and the country as a whole.

Additionally, voting is a privilege that not everyone is afforded. I believe that if you are eligible to vote, you absolutely should. We are all fortunate to have a voice in our government, as this process is not practiced in every country.

Also, everybody’s vote counts. In the recent election, the race in two Massachusetts towns was decided by one vote.

After hearing about Baker’s decision not to vote for a presidential candidate, I did a little research and found that he made the same decision in 2016. This filled me with even more disappointment. 

What kind of example is Baker setting for all Massachusetts residents if, as the literal governor, he chooses not to vote? That also makes it hard to take his post Election Day statements about the importance of counting every vote seriously.

If he thinks that voting and making sure all votes are counted is so important, then why didn’t he vote himself?

Baker’s decision not to cast a vote is the essence of privilege. He felt as though neither Trump nor Biden was what he really wanted, so he simply decided not to participate in the election– even though there were many things at stake with this election.

Maybe these issues, like LGBTQ+ rights and police brutality, do not directly affect him. But why, as the governor of Massachusetts, does he have a lack of concern for others besides himself?

The policies that are implemented over the next four years will not only impact him but also all of the people that he governs over.

There is no such thing as a perfect candidate – there has never been one and there never will be one. Baker should have voted for a candidate whose policies he agrees with most. He also could have voted for a third party candidate. Instead, he chose not to.

Maybe his decision stems from the fact that he’s a registered Republican. Although he openly disagrees with Trump, he may feel that can’t go against his party and vote Democrat or third party.

But why not? Our country is so politically divided and so deeply connected to our “registered” parties that many refuse to be bipartisan. When did the party that you affiliate with become more important than voting itself?

Only about 60% of eligible voters actually cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential election, according to the Washington Post. We should be looking for ways to encourage more people to vote, and getting annoyed that you don’t like the two main candidates and deciding simply not to vote is not a solution.

Charlie Baker made a very poor decision and it sets a terrible example for current and future voters in Massachusetts. I hope he learns from this and makes the right choice in the future.

Follow Grace on Twitter @GraceM123456.