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vote with one's feet

  1. (idiomatic) To express one's preferences through one's actions, by voluntarily participating in or withdrawing from an activity, group, or process; especially, by physical migration to leave a situation one does not like, or to move to a situation one regards as more beneficial.
    • 1958 December 8, "Most Useful Satellite", Time:
      But Khrushchev's economic plan for the East Germans means a new kind of dependence on their old Russian foes, and its fulfillment is a political question—on which East Germans, whatever their phony 99.9% elections say, still vote with their feet by fleeing West at the rate of 2,000 a week.
    • 1973 April 2, "The Ph.D. Glut", Time:
      That would enable the students to "vote with their feet" for programs of proven excellence and presumably for fields where the most jobs are available.
    • 1985 May 13, "Business Notes Airlines", Time:
      TWA expects that its lounger will keep it flying high in transatlantic business, where it now leads all other airlines. Says Jesse Liebman, a TWA vice president: "Passengers vote with their feet."
    • 1991 December 10, "IAP needs you", The Tech:
      Please, vote with your feet—participate in IAP.
    • 2002, Jim Cramer, Confessions of a Street Addict, Simon and Schuster, →ISBN, page 104:
      Then again, I knew that shareholder democracy meant only that I should vote with my feet if I didn't like what management was doing.
    • 2005, Diane E. Davis, Political Power and Social Theory, Elsevier, →ISBN, page 188:
      The conventional wisdom ca. 1980 was that if an investor did not like the way a firm was managed, she could vote with her feet, moving her money elsewhere.


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