We’re now in a new year, and once again it’s a presidential election year. After what promises to be a long, exhausting primary election season, we’ll be electing a new President. One thing that seems to be rather conspicuously missing from most of the coverage I’ve been seeing on the news and political blogs is that there are other offices on the slate. We’re going to be selecting members of the House of Representatives, and a number of Senators. Along with those national races, there will be governor and state legislature races, ballot propositions, and even local races. While the presidential race will be fodder for the media, it’s those other races which will be much more influential.
Last year, I pointed out that liberals often push the wrong way, and it turns out that it’s not helped by the media and various political commentators. The idea always seems to be that the person at the top is where all the attention and any efforts to accomplish something should be directed. It’s great that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are saying things that resonate with liberals, and I’m sure various liberals are getting soft warm fuzzy feelings about it. The problem is that if you’re only paying attention to them, and thinking that they, and they alone, will get all or any of that done if they’re nominated and elected, you’re going to be badly disappointed.
If there’s no groundswell, or no progressive Congress, then it doesn’t matter how liberal a President is when they were running or are when they take office. Their ability to get any of that done is very limited. Get the states and Congress on board, and it will be amazing at just how “liberal” a middle-of-the-road Democratic President can be!
All those other races matter. In fact, if you don’t win enough of them, you’ll be once again sitting around watching battles to keep existing progressive programs from being rolled back, and forget any new ones. That’s important on the national level, but we often forget how state and local elections impact us.
All the things which you tend to take for granted: Street lights on; road plowed; water and sewer systems work; police and fire departments are there; and what the schools are like will all be determined by who gets elected.
That’s in addition to things like Affordable Care Act implementation (or lack thereof), workers rights, voting rights, wage laws, and a host of other things that have been griped about by liberal blogs because they’re being rolled back or removed in states controlled by Republicans. If you want to get or keep any of those things you need to be looking at your local and state governments.
We’re now heading into a primary season, although it does seem like we’ve already been in one forever. It’s to be expected that people will be advocating strongly for their candidate, whether it’s Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Martin O’Malley. It’s going to get rough at times, and there will be hurt feelings. At the end of it, we’ll have a nominee, and the supporters of the losing ones will feel upset, hurt, and angry. It’s happened before, and I don’t expect it to be any different in this election. However, once the real countdown to election day begins, we need to put those feelings aside and get busy. Get out and work, get the message out, and get ourselves and others into the voting booths. You see, elections have consequences, and the past few years should have been a real reminder of that truism. But if you’d rather stay home to sit and nurse your hurt feelings? Well, then, it turns out that your issues weren’t all that important. Even to you.