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How Voting Needs to Work

ARTICLE BY LENA LESZINSKY

Down with the Electoral College! It’s failed twice in the past sixteen years! It’s rigged!

Or so I would have said about half an hour after the election was called. Also: darn third party voters!

But no. Put blame on Hillary’s loss where it belongs: on a somewhat uninspiring campaign, on a very Rusty Belt, on a worldwide populist movement, on an abandoned populace, on voter apathy.

The campaign could have been better. Now, I think that facts alone should have made Hillary president, but the voters apparently don’t think so: Trump University, a lack of paid taxes, not paying contractors and builders, not renting to minorities, grabbing women by the pussy—and yet Hillary was the “corrupt” candidate because she used a private email server with no confidential information that was cleared by the FBI. Several times.

Voters also didn’t feel better after the election. I’m from Michigan, right? (Come on, Michigan, why couldn’t you stay blue?) Stereotypically, yes, I did work at a car dealership. And everyone I talked to at said dealership was worse off than before the 2008 crash. I mean, that’s just anecdotal evidence, but obviously, it’s representative of how a majority of voters in the Rust Belt feel. People put years into working for manufacturers, and for factories, and for the Big Three. And now, American manufacturing is becoming slowly more and more obsolete, as our economy turns into a service-based economy. And that needs adjustment time.

And to be honest, I kind of suspected a Trump win would be possible after Brexit. Brexit turned the world on its head, and Trump followed, and it’s not about to stop soon. France and Germany, among other European powers, have elections coming up: we can only hope now that the same wave of populism doesn’t spread. Italy has a referendum coming up. Sound familiar?

And finally, voter apathy, which is a long term problem for this great nation of democracy and sovereignty. Voter apathy, which reached a peak in 2014, which was caused by overconfident liberals and Facebook “bubbles” in this election, and which will bring an end to democracy as we know it if it is allowed to continue.

First of all, vote for whomever you want. Third party—go ahead! Writing in Bernie Sanders? Sure! Just don’t complain when Trump wins. But it’s ultimately your voice, and it’s your right.

But to those who did not vote: shame on you. This is America, and we are one of the privileged countries where people can make a difference. We can organize to create and influence the creation of constitutional amendments. We can volunteer for our candidate of choice. We can choose our leader. (And yes, the popular vote was Hillary’s, and yes, there is a movement going around to amend the constitution to essentially get rid of the Electoral College: read the details here. But for now, we have to stick with the method that we have for choosing our leaders. And besides, just because more people live in cities, and can influence the popular vote more, doesn’t mean they represent the entire country, or even the majority.)

But again: shame on you for not voting. We had an actual choice, as we always do. Not just a choice between the lesser of two evils, as people are fond of complaining. We had more of a choice than Russia. We have more free speech than most countries in the world. We do have freedom to choose our country’s future: as long as we use it.

So what do progressive readers do in a Trump’s America, where racists and misogynists feel empowered? They vote. They work with candidates they support. And they fight for rights.

And no, fighting doesn’t mean protesting. Protesting a candidate does not work. Protesting his ideals: that works…better, at least.

So from here on out, I am going to join the army of political writers (not that I have any real political insight compared to the professionals) and say that we need to use our freedoms to their fullest capacities and get who we want in office elected.

But that doesn’t mean just voting. Go volunteer for a campaign! Go volunteer for a non-profit! Go volunteer—for anyone! Get a summer job with a lobbying organization for the environment. Work with people who need the most help, especially with the coming agenda of the “populist” right.

We created our current situation. Now let’s fix it.

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