2020 Election, Opinions, Politics, Special Projects, Voter Registration

It’s not about Joe or Donald

Unlike Vice President Mike Pence at any press conference ever, I am going to give you a straightforward answer. Your vote matters. Especially now, with President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to defund the United States Postal Service and suppress voters casting their ballots by mail. The 2016 election shocked us and this rollercoaster of delegates and emotions caused American voters to wonder “does my vote matter?”

First, let’s demystify the shitstorm that is the electoral college. A 2018 Time magazine article explained that the Electoral College was first established by the Framers of the Constitution who first implemented it in the hopes of accurately selecting a president based on the choice of the people. 

When I put myself in their ugly shoes and crusty powdered wigs, though, I can understand the allure of the Electoral College.

At the time, Electoral College enthusiasts worried that a win based on the popular vote would give larger states more voting power than the less-populated states, which was a valid fear. Another thing important to note is the absence of the two-party system at this point in history. It wasn’t until decades later that the two party system emerged. 

The idea of the Electoral College doesn’t even bother me, truth be told. My feelings about the Electoral College are like my feelings about low-rise jeans: good in theory, but a colossal disaster in practice. However, we have evolved as a country and as voters, and it’s time to get rid of the Electoral College. 

This can only be done if we vote for representatives and administrators who will advocate for this desire. 

Grab your tissues and take a deep breath. We are going to travel back to the 2016 election.

The 2016 election was a prime example of voters being forced to choose a candidate that they believed to be the lesser of two evils, instead of a candidate they were enthusiastic about. Regardless, Hillary Clinton’s supporters thought that she had grabbed the presidency like Trump had grabbed… well, you know the rest. The winner of the popular vote had not won the Electoral College. 

This failure can be attributed to a number of things, the first being the massive amount of write-in votes. A message to everyone who wrote in “Harambe” in 2016: I hope you’re happy now. 

Next is the lack of unity among the Democratic Party. The lack of support for our Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, caused many voters to avoid the polling stations on election night and, as a result, most swing states swung in favor of Trump. Most of all, we can thank the Electoral College for this. 

Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes, but since he was the first candidate to reach 270 electoral votes, he was elected as the 45th president of the United States of America. American voters had finally been slapped by Uncle Sam and felt like their votes didn’t matter. 

This sent America into a spiral of protests advocating for recounts and the dismantling of the Electoral College. In fact, according to a CNN article, Senator Barbara Boxer introduced a bill calling for a constitutional amendment that would effectively end the Electoral College not even a week after the 2016 election.

Now that you know why people hate voting, let’s discuss why it is not only a privilege to vote, but our duty. Especially now.

This election isn’t about Donald Trump or Joe Biden. This is a fight for our democracy and for our planet. 

Voting is a privilege that not all Americans are entitled to. Women and minorities have been fighting for the right to vote since the creation of our Constitution. Yes, women can vote now, and we’ve gotten rid of literacy tests, but that does not mean that the issue has disappeared. 

Voter suppression is a problem that plagues our voting booths and negates the very idea of a “fair and free election.” It comes in the form of extreme vetting, racial gerrymandering, voter ID laws and more. 

Now is not the time to turn our noses up at the chance to make our voices heard. It is our responsibility to vote for those who are being silenced.  

Various propositions, state assembly elections and local representatives are also featured on your November ballot. While the presidential race is detrimental, local government is just as important. 

The only way we can save ourselves from our impending authoritarian doom is to vote. 

I’d be lying if I said that the Biden-Harris ticket didn’t give me stress pimples, because it does. As appealing as writing in “Bernie <3” sounds, any vote that is not for the Democratic Party this November is a vote that advocates for the separation of families at the border, COVID-19 conspiracies and white supremacy. 

Yes, you could argue that our votes don’t actually matter in the name of electoral colleges, California politics and two party systems, oh my. However, we cannot afford to pledge neutrality in the face of a dictatorship. Our best weapons in defending ourselves and our democracy are our ballots. 

Remember to send your ballots two weeks early, by Oct. 20, do your research and vote like your life depends on it. Because it does.

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