One question that I dealt with this election was who I was going to vote for, even as a registered Democrat, I struggled with my decision of who I was voting for. I won’t claim to be a voice for many people, but there are people like me, who feel that our elections aren’t really representative of who we want to have fight and voice our opinions in D.C.
For some, I’ve met either through canvassing, friend groups, family, there are many who simply don’t vote because the candidates that we, the people, get to choose from don’t represent them, or they don’t feel their voice matters when voting.
I have only been voting for 3 years and pretty much every election the candidates I support lose. It’s pretty demoralizing! Even the candidates we vote for can be demoralizing. For transparency, I was a Bernie Sanders supporter in the Democratic Party Primary. So, Joe Biden as the nominee was the opposite of what I desired in terms of policy and rhetoric.
Although Biden is much preferable to Trump, we should keep in mind that Biden’s head of the transition team is already using austerity rhetoric. Cedric Richmond, a Biden campaign co-chairman, has taken over $400k worth of campaign donations from the Oil and Gas industry and Chemical manufacturers combined through his career.
These are a few examples and again, obviously, Biden is the much better choice compared to the President, but for some, he still isn’t a good choice, which is an issue with the two-party system. For voters who may already struggle and need federal dollars to be put into programs, they rely on, or for voters who suffer from Oil and Gas/Chemical pollution when there are people like that on the Biden campaign, what’s the point of voting if you care about these issues that aren’t represented by someone who does?
I think the essence of this problem is that we often put too much faith into the President to do things we want to get done.
Instead, there should be a focus on local level officials and turning out for local and state elections. Just to give an example of something that has stuck with me; in my canvassing experience, we’re told to only focus on people who’ve voted in four, or five-plus, elections out of the last 10. If volunteers are ignoring non-voters how will they ever want to vote if they know they’re ignored? We can tell people “vote” but I think we often fail to give people a reason to vote.
Yet, it is encouraging to see many of my peers and a few groups on campus telling people that their voice does matter and making sure people get out to vote. I am hopeful that even with candidates that some voting groups may not be inspired, but there can be a continued effort by people in my age group to vote and to get out the vote.