In 2016, many Americans decided that the presidential election had become a decision between the lesser of two evils. On social media, the race between now President Donald Trump and Senator Hillary Clinton was written off as a joke. Today, it is undeniable that sexism played a large role in the democratic nominee’s loss that year. Despite losing the popular vote, Donald Trump was elected into office. Since then, our country has become unrecognizable from where it was just four years ago. Alt-right hate groups have become emboldened, and the rights of millions of women and queer people hang by threads. We could lose abortion and reproductive health care rights. Transgender people’s right to serve in the US military has been under threat since the Trump-Pence Transgender Military ban was inacted in the spring of 2019. The fires that have raged across the west coast are the result of ignoring signs of climate change for decades. The list simply goes on and on. The fate of American politics, and perhaps even the world, depends on this election. Some have even begun to call it the most important in modern history. Here are just some of the issues that hang in the balance of this year’s election:
- The Supreme Court: The nomination of a new justice; the balance of the court
- Healthcare & Medicare: Repealing the Affordable Care Act vs. Protecting & Expanding
- Immigration and DACA
- The Environment: Climate change denial vs. Environmental Policies to reduce emissions & expand renewable energy
- Criminal Justice & Police Reform: Denial of systemic racism vs. Acknowledgement of systemic racism & proposed policies to address racial disparities
- LGBTQ+ Rights
- Social Security
- Abortion & Reproductive Care Access
- Voting Rights & Voter Suppression
- Funding of USPS
- COVID-19: Response moving forward, mask mandates, re-opening too soon, etc.
Whether or not you feel these major political issues will affect you , it’s still important to vote. It is our constitutional right and a privilege. Joe Biden may not be your favorite democratic candidate, and you might not mind Donald Trump, but I urge you to think about those around you. How might these issues, such as queer rights and education, affect your friends, family, and loved ones? Even in the current (and perhaps outdated) system of the electoral college, your vote matters. Even though California will almost surely go blue in November, your vote matters. If you aren’t yet eligible to vote, pre-registration will ensure you can by your eighteenth birthday. Voting is a central part of the American Democracy. Exercising our inalienable right to vote sets an example for future generations and elections, and may even support the argument for the popular vote. The more overwhelming the popular vote, the stronger the need for the abolishment of the Electoral College. Every election is an opportunity to strengthen the argument against the outdated system, which some argue is ineffective in today’s American society of nearly 330 million people. In 2016, 42.3% of eligible Americans did not vote, and 3.3% voted for third party candidates. This November, with so much on the line, a vote not cast is a vote for Donald Trump. A vote for a third party candidate, or a write-in, is also a vote for Donald Trump. Real people’s lives and rights are in danger. This election is anything but a joke. Let’s not treat it as such.
To learn more about where Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand on relevant political and social issues, check out these articles: