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Ive never voted for a winner for president. And I wont now

It was pretty heady stuff. I'm not accustomed to being in the camp of the frontrunner. But, of course, he's not the frontrunner anymore.

Turns out that Dean is going to be a less-significant candidate than the other losers I've supported. Jesse Jackson won nearly 10 million total votes and eight primaries in his tries for the White House in 1984 and 1988. When Jerry Brown ran for president in 1992, he beat Bill Clinton in six primaries and was the only other candidate to make it all the way to the convention.

John Kerry is going to be nominated by the Democrats. Okay, good enough. Hope he beats Bush this fall. But we know that Kerry is going to be nominated before California or New York or most of the rest of the country have even had a chance to vote. We know it six months before the convention. That doesn't seem so good. That seems like an outcome manipulated by the real political landscapers, who plant this seed of Dean's "unelectability" in the public mind as a substitute for real issues and real passion and real integrity—and real hope.

What's the use in voting, anyway?

Maybe as a prayer. This is still a sacred thing, this right to choose—this opportunity to express our hopes for what we could make of this government we have invented. I want the world to know my hopes, and this election is the only way I have to register them. I want to leave the polling place with a clear conscience, the way I used to leave the confessional.

But if I concede my hopes and vote according to my fears—my dread that the candidate who best speaks for me doesn't have a chance, anyway—then what have I trashed?

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