The Collegian
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Politics and Personhood | We need to help the Democrats

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul/The Collegian</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul/The Collegian

Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.

Despite my desire to see President Donald Trump lose the next election, the Democratic primaries were difficult for me to get through. Too many candidates and too few voters leaves little to be optimistic about. As soon as everyone in the primaries started speaking Spanish in an attempt to boost their inclusivity points, my hopes for the 2020 election plummeted.

For me, the 2020 election cycle evoked confusion, instead of invigoration to win the office this time. I initially felt as if the obscenely large number of candidates would weaken the Democratic party because support would be widely dispersed between the many candidates. For others, like me, it would become difficult to narrow our support down to just one person.

I worried frequently that the Democrats were weakening their chances of winning the 2020 election.

It is no secret that Trump is difficult to defeat. He has consistently defied the odds. Whether it be winning the election, avoiding sexual misconduct allegations, or getting an acquittal in the impeachment trial, Trump has constantly come out on top. Underestimating him is not a mistake that should be made again. 

The situation with the Democrats is difficult, for several reasons. First, even though younger citizens often support the party, they are much less likely to vote. Second, it is difficult to win over moderate voters who are looking for a centrist perspective on popular issues. Most importantly, the candidate who wins the primaries must invigorate the electorate enough to fuel high turnout. 

I have been highly critical of the candidates’ insistence on being the "one Obama liked" and the "one Trump hates." As inspiring as those words may seem at a glance, they mean absolutely nothing to me. I want realistic plans as to how the candidates will positively change the country throughout their presidency, not empty words and big promises.

Every time a question is brought up regarding how the candidates will pay for the plans they are proposing, there is no answer. A heap of criticism on why our spending is bad, but no definitive answer on why their plan is better. It is worrisome as a voter because if we round up the Democratic party, most believe the same things. Everybody advocates for action to control climate change, comprehensive gun laws, accessible health care and myriad other progressive policies, and most of these beliefs coincide with mine. 

However, you cannot run the most powerful country in the world through hope alone. Change must be implemented through action and more importantly, compromise. In order to garner support for the presidential election, the candidates must show that understanding.

Trump wins constantly because he knows who to appeal to. He walks into the room and instead of trying to appeal to the other side -- the liberals -- he discounts them completely. He tells his voter base that they are right and everyone else is wrong and it works every time. He puts vigor into getting the people who he knows are on his side to vote for him.

The Democratic Party, on the other hand, seems so divided that I worry their primary candidate simply will not be able to pull enough voters. As we get closer to the presidential election, the candidates need to pull a united front supporting whoever wins the nomination.

And we need to vote.

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For Super Tuesday, only 13% of the voters were between 18 and 29 - a demographic that largely identifies as liberal. We boldly express our beliefs about politics but refuse to take action towards accomplishing those beliefs. The Democratic party cannot accomplish anything if it does not receive the votes of its supporters.

The Republican party, as opposed as it may be by the younger generation, keeps pulling the votes it needs to remain in power. If we want to see change, we have to act for it. And the responsibility does not lie solely on the shoulders of our politicians. 

Although the Democratic campaign was scattered, the party still has a fair chance at winning the next election. But only if the youth decide to make a decision about the future they want to see and show up at the polls to make it a reality.

Contact columnist Reda Ansar at reda.ansar@richmond.edu.

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