Super Tuesday is when the highest number of states are holding elections for primary season. With clear leads for both parties, it’s easy to understand why some voters might become discouraged from voting in the upcoming elections. Although Trump has arguably turned into a legitimate candidate, a strong voter turnout at upcoming polls could shift the numbers once again.
For those of you who reside and vote in Illinois, the primary elections will be held on Tuesday, March 15 (unless you’re voting for Trump, then it’s sometime in July). Voter registration is now closed, but you can verify whether or not you are registered at the state’s election site, http://www.elections.il.gov. If you have not yet registered, you still may be eligible for grace period registration and may do so in person, at registered locations (information also available at the aforementioned website).
For those of us who don’t live in swing states, the primary election might be our chance to vote for President. California, for example, is a typically blue state and the primaries will most likely decide who will take the state in the general election.
What do the Trump and Clinton head starts mean? Like in any election, it shows us the preferences of candidates for people in those states. The Super Tuesday vote gives us a clearer idea of who may actually be the party nominee, but we must keep in mind that there are still the majority of delegates up for grabs. Trump did considerably well in this election, but we haven’t yet moved on to the states that might be more supportive of Rubio or even Cruz. The same goes for Bernie Sanders — Clinton is very much ahead of him at the moment, but states with larger delegations and a younger crowd have yet to cast their ballots.
Needless to say, voting is one of the best ways to make an impact on our future. Especially as students, grants, loans, internships and the job market can all be manipulated by the administration in charge. We see this in action as recent budget cuts directly affect the local Galesburg school system and Illinois MAP grants are at risk of being reduced or done away with entirely. The arts are a sector of education that are consistently slashed in an attempt to create an education system oriented towards STEM studies.
And what of representation? For the democrats, there is both a Jewish candidate and a female one. The Republicans have two minority individuals, one of Latino background and one an African-American. However, what does this say of the people who support them? The elusive Black and Latino votes often generalize both groups and fail to recognize the nuances within communities. I understand that certain issues may sway groups more than others, but without a white vote we still see a significant gap between people of color and everyone else.
I am as much against being colorblind as anyone else. However, current political rhetoric seems to highlight the distinguishing factors between us more than it celebrates the common goals we all are working toward. It now seems as if we’re casting our ballots for the “them” that we believe will help the “us.” It’s maintaining a safe distance from people, but accepting their help.
This model might work for the moment, but is it very sustainable for the coming generations? Fissures in the GOP are becoming deeper as Donald Trump is now seen as a legitimate candidate. His delay in denouncing white supremacist support resonated throughout the party and some of his actions would have disqualified other candidates much earlier. In-party fighting seems to be tearing apart the Republican party as much as it has solidified the Democratic one.
Sanders and Clinton have clear disagreements when it comes to economic holders of power in the country. Sanders embodies the forward-thinking and social-justice minded youth of today while Clinton clings to a more center position and slower-moving form of politics. Who, then, do we turn to? As Super Tuesday showed us, Clinton seems to be the clear favorite for the Democratic nominee and reminds us that centuries-old, conservative systems still serve as the backbone of our form of democracy. Sanders, on the other hand, is scooping up the youth vote and may be a prediction of a new political era.
Regardless, there is still quite a ways to go before the primaries are over (California votes on June 7) and even more debates to look forward to after the official candidates have been selected. In the meantime, buckle those seat belts and prepare to vote, because we’ve got a government to choose.