I up voted a couple answers that mentioned the lesser-of-evils syndrome; how can you vote when all the candidates are bad?
However, I'd like to take it one step further. What we're essentially saying is that all the FRONT-RUNNING candidates are bad. Many people trust in some maverick candidate, like Bernie Sanders or Ralph Nader. What they don't realize is that these are often examples of "controlled opposition," or fake leaders. They're operatives whose job it is to mislead and confuse the voters.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. As a former candidate for public office, I can speak firsthand of the extraordinary games that are played even in "liberal Seattle." You can count me among those who ask in despair "WHAT democracy?"
I think this puts a different slant on the question (even though voting was merely inserted as an example). Many people would cite the last presidential election as the worst in U.S. history. Expecting people to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary was utterly insane. So we give them an impossible choice, then criticize them when they don't endorse the scumbag they despise the least?
In this particular example, a person has every right to complain about the person who got elected. However, I would add that people should make an effort to see the bigger picture and complain about the bigger picture, not just that one horrible public official who got elected.
But what about a situation where there IS a good candidate, and a person who could easily vote is too busy watching TV or playing with his Xbox?
Voting is a necessary function of democracy, and people do have some responsibility to vote. In this spirit, we can get sucked into arguments where we're splitting hairs. John Doe may be right on target when he calls a newly elected politician (Mr. X) a liar. But if there was an obviously good candidate (Mr. A), and John Doe didn't cast a vote for him, then we would have grounds for some kind of complaint.
Again, it's perfectly OK for John Doe to state the obvious (or even offer an opinion), that Mr. is a liar, for example. It would also be OK for John Doe to criticize the corrupt election system that made it possible for Mr. X to get elected.
However, the fact that John Doe didn't vote is obviously going to be ammunition for his critics, even if they use that ammunition in an unfair manner.
To really get to the heart of the matter, it would be interesting to try and formulate a logical, rational charge against John Doe in such a situation. Here are a couple possible examples:
- John Doe says the election system is corrupt.
Analysis - He's correct. Moreover, if we find out John Doe didn't vote, we really shouldn't criticize him for not voting if the election was a total sham.
- John Doe criticizes people who didn't vote for Mr. A.
Analysis - John Doe's opinion appears to be valid. However, it's also a classic example of hypocrisy, since he didn't vote himself.
We could cite "free speech" as something that gives John Doe the right to complain, under any circumstances, but he's obviously going out on a limb.