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By Paul K. Schwartz
Elections do, indeed, have consequences. Too many of us sadly learned that lesson with the presidential election of 2016 and its aftermath. The upcoming 2018 midterm election and the 2020 presidential election will also bring with them significant consequences.
The question that will need to be answered with the results of those two elections is whether the associated consequences will serve as a springboard in reversing the disastrous consequences of the 2016 election.
Quite understandably, voters often place their vote with the candidate who they can best relate to, or at times, who they find least offensive. Words like “Oh, I could never vote for her!” were heard throughout the 2016 campaign. Sloppy email management certainly did concern many voters and had a significant impact on the results in 2016.
However, an election, any election, but especially a presidential election, should never be limited to or based on an individual candidate’s personality or the perception of such, even in the case of one Donald J. Trump, as influential and as tempting as that might be.
No, there is always much, much more at stake. The elevation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court by Donald and his groupies in Congress is just the latest example of election consequences.
What was up for grabs, so to speak, in the 2016 presidential election was more, so much more, than simply whether we chose her – Hillary, or him – the Donald, to become the leader of the free world.
What was up for grabs, as just one example, was whether you favored voter suppression or whether you opposed voter suppression. If you favored voter suppression your choice was simple. You needed to vote Republican. You needed to vote for Trump. Against voter suppression? Your choice was just as simple. You needed to vote Democrat. You needed to vote for her, Hillary, regardless of her emails or, even, in spite of her emails.
That is just one quick example. There are many as the list is almost endless as we approach Nov. 8. Are you for or against universal healthcare and reducing prescription drug costs?
For? You vote Democrat.
Against? You vote Republican.
The same can be said for all of the following issues. For? You vote Democrat. Against? You vote Republican.
- Restoring the middle class tax deductions eliminated under the Trump/Republican tax plan
- Enacting common sense gun safety legislation
- Protecting a woman’s right to choose
- Ensuring families are not separated at the border due to a zero tolerance policy
- Building a clean energy economy and recognizing that climate change is real
- Protecting Medicare and Social Security
- Guaranteeing LGBT rights
- Overturning Citizens United and reforming campaign finance rules to protect against “dark” money from influencing the outcomes of our elections
- Addressing the politicization of the Supreme Court by expanding it to include already confirmed federal judges on a rotating basis
- Taking strong actions as an effective deterrent against any foreign influence in our elections
- Rebuilding our relationships with our allies and recommitting to NATO
- Instituting strong ethics standards to prevent the rampant corruption exhibited by the Trump administration…emoluments anyone?
- Implementing presidential requirements such as release of tax returns
- Developing a pathway to citizenship that recognizes the value of immigrants to our society and economy
- Closing tax loopholes for special interest groups and providing tax relief for the middle class that doesn’t rely on a “trickle”
- Investing in America’s infrastructure
- Strengthening our public education and providing the opportunity for an affordable college education
Again, these are just some of the issues that voters must consider when they enter the voting booth. Either you are for or you are against each of these. Certainly, the voter can be for some and against others. Regardless, these are issues that must be considered and an individual’s vote should reflect that particular individual’s priorities.
Remember, elections do have consequences and you, in effect, squander your ability to complain about results if you fail to do something about them.