Vote if you care, and you do

Regardless of whether you’re voting in a few weeks, you still probably have some idea what your political beliefs are.

Unlike in the past, candidates almost always vote along party lines no matter the scenario. During the Kavanaugh confirmation process, all but two democrats voted against his nomination while all but one republican voted for it. Many democrats claimed to vote against him due to his lies and alleged sexual misconduct, and while this undoubtedly played a role, we also can’t ignore the influence of his conservative political views regarding issues including abortion.

Abortion is something many people care about even if they aren’t that political; many religious people vote Republican based on the fact that most of the party’s candidates are pro-life.

On the other side of the aisle, you’ll find those who vote Democrat due because of their belief and worry about climate change. Just four Republicans in the senate believe climate change is real, and there are surely some people who line up with this ideology and, despite being conservative on other issues, could find themselves voting Democrat this year.

There are obviously other important issues such as healthcare, minimum wage, and the military that can alone cause people to vote one way or another.

Look, politics are really complicated, but the good news is, you don’t have to know everything about everything to vote and to be politically engaged.

Each important issue in our society comes up in our government, even something as small (or not) as NFL players standing for the national anthem. Some of these issues can be important enough to us that we vote for the candidates that share our beliefs on these single issues.

If changes in the government seem to be having a small impact on your life so far, then consider the following that could happen in the near future—I’ll stick to abortion as an example for this but many issues could work.

Let’s start from the beginning: states have the right to create their own voting systems. For example, some states require an ID to vote while states like Florida ban voting altogether for convicted, but now freed felons.

This year, citizens of Florida can opt to allow felons to vote in the next election, a state that was decided by just 537 votes in the 2000 election. Considering that many felons are African-American, and that African-Americans often vote Democrat, and that there are over a million felons who can’t vote in Florida, this election could’ve easily gone the other way.

But, Bush won Florida and the presidency, and went on to nominate two conservative justices to the supreme court, who would both likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and essentially give states the authority to ban abortions.

Keep in mind that these justices are nominated by the president, but confirmed by the senate; voting in the midterms is essential to supporting a certain viewpoint on a topic like abortion. Now, because of Bush and Trump, we are left with a majority conservative Supreme Court that could vote against your views despite the fact that you supported the presidents or congressmen who voted to confirm them.

Abortions affect so many people, but the heart of the issue doesn’t really involve politics, mostly just people’s morals and religion. Believing in higher or lower taxes shouldn’t dictate whether you are pro-life or pro-choice. Issues as consequential as these can and should be important enough for people not just to vote, but to pay attention to which party and candidates they are voting for.

I want to challenge everyone to consider an issue they find super important to them and find out which party or candidate votes in support of what you think about it. This party or candidate could be different than who you thought you supported or who your friends and family support, but the process of figuring this out is remarkably important.
Find an issue you are passionate about, and know that this topic can easily be affected through your vote.