Vote, just not by tribe
First and foremost, no matter how you vote, nor who you support, vote this year, because your vote does matter. As the media and current events remind us almost daily, we are somewhat divided on the direction of the country today, so registering your support for ideas and policies is informative to our elected leaders.
Second, do your best to be an informed voter, by that learning a bit about your state and local candidates, not by their ads (which generally are biased and unworthy of the candidate), but by interviews and backgrounds as provided by your local newspaper. You will discover that both major parties often have candidates with excellent qualifications and thoughtful positions on current issues. The meme that all politicians are just unfit to serve is false and undermines the voting process, created to identify the best people to serve.
Third, most of the time, remember that all issues tend to be local, so overall listen more to what the candidates plan in their job interview for you, not what they promise outside of that job at the national level.
Fourth, this year has, in many districts and states, more women on the ballot than in recent years, and more so in Democratic races than in Republican races. Statistically, we are significantly underrepresented in female office holders overall in the U.S. compared to other Western democracies. Give full consideration to extending your support to female and male candidates equally. It takes a lot of good people of differing backgrounds and perspectives to make for the best of public service.
Fifth, on the election of judges, a very important issue everywhere, do your best to ignore the political party of any judicial candidate and instead examine their records of responsibility, their educational background and their community engagement.
Sixth, this is an unusual year in several regards on the state and national level. While the presidency is not on the ballot this year, the leadership of Congress certainly is on the ballot. If you think that Congress has done a good job on oversight of the administrative agencies, balanced the power of congress with the office of the president, and managed our fiscal policies well, then tilt slightly republican in considering candidates for the House of Representatives and the Senate.
If you believe Congress is failing to work in your behalf, whether on the all-important issue of healthcare, reducing the national debt, or containing the administration’s adherence to law, custom, and foreign policy, then tilt your voting a little to the political left and the Democratic Party.
Regardless of your political position on the full spectrum of American debates, we all know we need a congress that finally tackles our immigration policies, fully and comprehensively. This is long overdue, and separating children from their parents should have been all the reminder congress would require stimulating action and resolution.
Likewise, we need to get some control of Big Pharm. For too long the U.S., the major developer for pharmaceutical products and solutions, has charged American consumers, who have provided taxpayer support for product research, more than any other buyer on the planet. It is enough and any person running for Congress that refuses to address this issue may not be qualified to serve.
Finally, if you are a single-issue voter, whether that issue be fiscal, religious, Second Amendment or whatever, do not be that voter. Our nation is more complex than any single issue and requires your full consideration of the issues of the day.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.