I’m guessing that most (all?) of you didn’t read my article in 2016, just before the last presidential election, warning that a lack of participation on your part would help deliver a President Trump and that a President Trump would be very bad for America. I understand. As a Professor of English I’m used to my extracurricular reading assignments being ignored; as an author, I know most of my written words aren’t read. But this isn’t about me, or the presidency of Donald Trump. It’s about you, young voters, and how you can redeem America overnight if you turn out for this November’s midterm elections.
Here’s some general facts:
- Young voters (ages 18-29) are the largest voting demographic in the country (roughly 50 million people).
- Young voters turn out on election day at the lowest rate of all demographics (50% for presidential elections; much less for midterms).
- Young Voters tend to favor Democratic candidates up to a 2-1 margin.
- President Trump carried the Electoral College by roughly 77,000 votes.
I’m bad at math, but the numbers easily indicate how much influence young voters could have if the percentage of participation is increased.
I know. Elections, especially in non-presidential years, can be confusing and boring. I mean, who’s running and for what? And how does this affect me and mine? Let me make it easy for you: Just go to the polls on Tuesday, November 6 and vote for every Democrat on the ballot.
This might seem like the type of advice you are taught (and rightfully so) to view with skepticism. You know, the do-as-I-say / just-trust-me type of rhetoric that thoughtful minds resist. Let me explain…
The real problem our country faces isn’t Donald Trump. The real problem is the national party who brought us his presidency and refuses to intervene despite their Constitutional requirement to do so.
The Republican party controls both chambers of Congress: The House of Representatives and the United States Senate. A crucial role of Congress, an equal power to the Presidency, is to make sure the President and his/her administration abide by the Constitution. It’s the job of Congress to make sure the President of the United States (the most powerful person in the world) doesn’t go all power crazy or just crazy crazy and screw up the country and the world as a result. He has; they haven’t done a thing to stop him.
And to make things worse, the Republicans in Congress have intentionally not performed their role as a check on the Presidency! They don’t just suck at their job, they suck at their job on purpose. I’m going to assume you’re asking why and segue to an explanation…
The Republican party has a platform that is at odds with the majority of the American people and American principles. They are a party that has failed to adapt to 21st century trends that define the times in which we live. They are inflexible and rooted in antiquated views. They are also beholden to powerful interests (the corporations and religious groups who fill their coffers). Here’s a short list of what they oppose (in no particular order):
Reasonable gun control
A woman’s right to choose
Comprehensive immigration reform
Campaign finance reform
Fair voting practices
Combating climate change
Government regulation on corporations, including banks and polluters
A more equitable tax system (i.e. one that doesn’t heavily favor the wealthiest Americans)
Universal health care
Equal pay for equal work
So, what we have here is a classic power play. A true minority in opinion who hangs on to the majority of power by putting party in front of country. Republicans in Congress simply refuse to hold the President accountable for his boatload of Constitutional violations because it would hurt the Republican agenda.
They need to be removed from office. Young voters can show them the door, but you have to vote in this and every election going forward. Here’s how you do it (if not registered already):
As of right now, Democrats are favored to win over enough seats in the House of Representatives to gain control of that chamber, but every vote will count across the nation because Republicans turn out to vote in every election, so nothing can be taken for granted. The Senate is much more difficult to flip, but it could fall into Democratic hands with victories in these key states: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia.
This is arguably the most important election of your (and even my) lifetime. The direction of this nation can be changed over the course of a single night, and that list of things that Republicans oppose can be pursued as things we the majority of Americans support.
But first we have to vote Democratic down the entire ballot on November 6. Let’s do this, and I’ll forgive you for the whole 2016 thing.