In recent years, voting has become a low priority among many people, especially young people. They believe their one vote doesn’t matter and some even believe elections are rigged and voting doesn’t count.
But it does. It’s true there has been some unfair rigging of the elections in recent years, due to Republican gerrymandering, attempts at voter suppression, purges of the voter rolls (this has been a big problem this year but it’s also being caught and dealt with), huge donations to GOP politicians from SuperPACs, billionaire oligarchs, and probable help from other countries too.
But there are a lot more of us who hate what the Trump GOP has been doing and the way they have been lining up behind Trump and enabling his destructive policies and rhetoric, instead of providing a check on what he does. The Republican Party has lost many people in the past two years, including some notables like George Will, Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace (the last two formerly worked in the George W. Bush administration). In spite of their conservatism, they have become voices for the Resistance. Most of these former Republicans have decided to vote a straight blue (Democratic) ticket in the midterms to save our democracy from encroaching authoritarianism — even if that means they have to hold their nose about ideological issues that are too liberal for their taste.
These conservatives realize that at this juncture, a politician’s specific ideology is less important than where they stand about Trump vs. democracy itself — and the Republican Party is no longer the freedom-loving party of Lincoln, Reagan, or even John McCain. It’s become a party that goes against most core American values, and celebrates racism, hatred, violence, ruthlessness, misogyny, corruption, misinformation, lies, greed, and exclusion. Since Trump’s election, it has moved to the extreme right, into fascism. This is not hyperbole; it is the new reality. Trump can do a whole lot less damage to our American way of life when there are some much needed checks and balances put back into place, and right now, that means we need a majority of Democrats in the House and hopefully the Senate too. It’s not ideological or partisan; it’s just common sense, since the Republican Party has become so extreme and untrustworthy (and having all three branches of government under the control of one party is never a good thing anyway).
Smart conservatives realize all this, and will be joining Democrats and voting for Democratic politicians in this election. Polls are also saying that many more Millennials are planning to vote than have in past elections (even though many still plan to sit it out). They don’t want to inherit the bleak future that looms should Republicans maintain complete power.
So, in spite of attempts to suppress our votes, gerrymander districts, spread disinformation and lies about Democrats (that’s a whole other topic I may or may not write about), and fix electronic voting machines (this has been a problem in Texas in particular, with straight Democratic voters saying their votes were changed to Ted Cruz), I’m almost certain if we show up in great enough numbers, we can beat all the GOP’s efforts to cheat their way into a win (and cheat they must, since this party no longer offers anything of value to We, the People).
If you’re thinking about skipping voting, think about the future that awaits with an all- Republican government that’s in lockstep with Trump and lets him do whatever he wants. Think about having no checks and balances on this president, and what that could (and probably will) mean for all of us, for humanity, and for the planet itself. Even if you don’t care about yourself, think about the kind of future such an America holds for your children or grandchildren.
Elections have actually been won on one or two votes. Your vote carries a lot more weight in a midterm election than in a presidential one, since you’re voting for people at the state, rather than national, level. There are services offering rides to the polls, if it’s difficult for you to get there. Don’t feel guilty about calling in to work that day (Election Day really should be a national holiday) if they don’t allow time off for you to vote. Or vote early, if you still can. If you’re not registered, in most states you can register the same day you vote. So don’t let that hold you back either.
It may be more tempting to sit home than go out in the cold or the rain and stand on line waiting to do something that seems like it might not matter. Don’t! Your vote does matter. If all of us who normally might sit out the midterms (I always did until now) give into what’s easiest and requires the least amount of effort in this election, all three branches of government will remain under Republican control and you or your loved ones could lose many if not all of the rights and freedoms you take for granted right now. The safety net (including Social Security and Medicare) would also be decimated and possibly abolished at some point. Do you want that for yourself? Do you want that for your loved ones, who may be elderly or disabled and depend on those services (which are earned benefits, not entitlements) for their survival? I know I don’t! I have paid a portion of my paycheck into those services almost every year since 1976 and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them steal my investment out from under me, to pay for the trillion dollar deficit they caused by their ridiculous and destructive tax cut for the rich!
Think of this too: people have fought and even died for your right to vote. Women and black people couldn’t always vote. That right wasn’t won easily, and many people died fighting for it. So to not exercise your right to vote is to disrespect the people who sacrificed their lives for you.
So, taking all this into account, if you haven’t already voted, please get to the polls on Tuesday, November 6th. It costs you nothing except the gas, and requires only a few hours out of your day. Isn’t that worth it to save democracy and prevent fascism from completely taking over? If you don’t vote, you are voting against democracy, against progress, against our American way of life. If you don’t vote, you are actually voting for unchecked power of a dangerous, despotic leader who has already done enormous damage and is only just getting started.
This is the most important election in a lifetime. VOTE!