Voting for a political candidate solely on the basis of their stance on a single issue is not always the smartest thing to do. Bluntly put, it’s often a decision motivated by myopic selfishness, as well. Part of this is because single-issue voting is, in my mind, too often associated with people who vote for candidates with draconian policy positions. Consider guardians of gun “rights”, so-called Israel “supporters” who ignore domestic policy both here and there, opponents of gay marriage, and anti-abortion advocates. At this moment in time, with extreme, oppressive positions on so many of these issues, single-issue voting can feel dangerous.
But then there are the other kind of single-minded voters… people who have worthy causes they care, but who will vote for candidates with no chance of winning for the sake of “purity.” I get it: voting is an extremely personal statement of values, but it can be frustrating when this happens during a high-stakes election. Remember all those people who voted for JIll Stein and Gary Johnson during the 2016 election? Yeah… I’m still mad about that.
So, it’s safe to say that I usually think single-issue voting isn’t the best thing to do. Except in the 2020 presidential election. As a Black Jewish feminist I am committed to many issues that are life and death–from police violence to abortion–but for the first time, I find myself zeroing in on a singular issue: climate catastrophe.