Voting for Dummies

Featured Image: My view at the Bernie rally in Boston, 2020

I’ve talked to a lot of people recently about politics, and not all parties were always willing. It’s hard to talk about politics because everyone is so divided, and no one is open to changing their mind. Particularly older generations don’t even want to mention who they’re voting for, or why. All this makes learning and understanding our system even harder. If we can’t talk about the issues, then we will never get all the sides of the story. 

My biggest pet peeve, though, is apathy. I’ve heard so many people say “my vote doesn’t matter”, “we’re screwed either way”, or “it doesn’t affect me”.  I’m here to beg you to care. I beg you to learn and to think about not only how these policies can affect you, now or in the future, but also how they affect others and the US as a whole.

The following points are going to go over these various “myths” about voting. Side note, this is mainly if you don’t want Trump to get re-elected. If you do, then feel free to ignore it all.

 

“My vote doesn’t matter”

It does. If no one votes, then we lose the ONE power our government affords us. If only Trump’s fanatic supporters vote, and they will, then he will win and you will all continue to whine about it. If only people over 50 vote (and they will) then we will have a moderate president who may not do enough about global warming and you will whine about how the glaciers are melting. If every single millennial votes, we can swing an entire election towards a progressive candidate. And if every person in America votes, we’ll have a true democracy.

Trump doesn’t want you to vote. Both the GOP and the DNC don’t want you to vote. Big corporations like Amazon and Walmart don’t want you to vote. Big Oil executives don’t want you to vote. Why are you listening to them?

Also, your vote matters more heavily in primary elections because fewer people vote, and each candidate needs at least 15% of the vote in each state to get ANY delegates from them, and they’ll need 1,991 to win. 

 

“Every candidate is the same”

No, they are not. Some are billionaires. Some have held the same beliefs their entire lives. Some used to be republicans. Some have experience, some do not. Some want to do something serious about climate change. Some want to give you healthcare. Some have sexual misconduct allegations. Some get all their donations from the middle class. Some get all their donations from other billionaires. Some are so goddamn rich they spent 400 million of their own money. 

Some could win against Trump, and some definitely will not. 

 

Take this Washington Post quiz to see what candidate you align with on some of the issues

Or, peruse this Politico page to see each candidates stances on many important issues

 

“These issues don’t affect me”

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

– Martin Niemöller

 

I hope that’s enough for you to get it the gist.

Also, even if a certain issue seems like it doesn’t affect you now, it may in the future.

 

“I don’t know enough about the issues to give an opinion”

While I implore you to look more into some issues (not everyone can be an expert on foreign policy), most of the issues come down to morals. It’s about caring about the wellbeing of not just yourself but about everyone else in this country, and across the world.

I’m going to break down the key issues of 2020, in the most basic of basics, but if you’re interested in learning more, click the links:

 

Climate Change – do you want polar bears to starve, glaciers to melt, and Florida to go underwater, or not? 

Healthcare – Do you want free healthcare, paid through your taxes and taxes on things that probably won’t affect you, or do you want to pay an insurance premium that will either drop you when you get diagnosed with cancer or still leave you with crushing debt?

Rich People – Should rich people pay more taxes or should we let them hoard billions of dollars?

Military – Do you want to spend more money on the military even though we spend more than nearly every other country combined? Do you want troops to come home from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria?

Marijuana – Do you want to legalize weed and all its products, or not?

Immigration – Do you think people escaping violence and famine in their countries should be able to come to ours without getting their children put in cages, or not? 

 

So … are you going to vote or what? 

Bernie Sander’s website has a great resource on finding out when your state votes, when the registering deadline is, whether you need to be a registered Democrat, and how to vote!

Here is where you can check your registration status! Select your state and it will bring you to your state’s specific search engine. I looked at my Massachusetts registration and it also tells me what district number I am in, and where I vote! 

 

Happy Voting! 

 

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