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Why I voted for president based on social issues and not the economy

I am an Independent voter. I have no party affiliation, and I refuse to vote along partisan lines. I educate myself on the issues each year and cast my ballot according to which politician I think will do a better job, and this election is no different.
Even though I am unashamed to admit that my political views tend to lean liberal, my absentee ballot was checkered with candidates from different parties when I filled it out this weekend. Simply put, the fact that someone calls himself/herself a Democrat or Republican is not enough to make me vote in their favor.
When it came to the presidential ticket, I did something that surprised myself. In an election year where the economy is the largest issue on the agenda, I voted according to their positions on social issues and ignored the economy altogether.
While I know that many people will be quick to call my decision rash, irresponsible or even near-sighted, I’ve simply become fed up with the superficial rhetoric that both President Obama and Mitt Romney have offered when they address economic issues. Even though both candidates promise to add jobs, cut the deficit, and jump-start the economy, they offer insufficient answers when asked one innocent question: How?
The U.S. government isn’t set up like a company, and the Commander-in-Chief is not the CEO of the United States. Although the president does have some influence, the modern political arena exaggerates just how much control they truly have over the economy.
But while the candidates’ economic plans are questionable and unclear, their stances on social issues are relatively clean-cut. And unlike the economy, the president has two direct ways to influence social policy issues: his power of the veto, and his ability to appoint Supreme Court Justices as vacancies arise.
Four of the nine Justices will be in their 70s (or older) during the next presidential term, meaning that the retirement of at least one is more than likely. The nomination of a single Justice could be enough to tip the balance of the court, especially in an era where 5-4 rulings on controversial cases are commonplace.
Potential Supreme Court cases for the near future involve the hot-button issues of same-sex marriage, voting rights and even abortion.
In the end, the president of the United States — be he liberal, conservative, or anywhere in between — cannot be expected to fix the economy single-handed. The causes of the recession are rooted deep in our financial system and were planted there years ago.
The economy has its natural ups and downs over which the president has little control, but the social policy that is set on issues in the next four years will set precedent for decades to come. I chose to vote according to the issues upon which the candidates have clear positions and substantial political power, not the economy.

Lexi Thoman is senior international studies and Spanish double-major from St. Louis, Mo.