Vote base on views, not attention in news


By Logan Weeter

Not six months ago, I was sitting with my high school journalism adviser discussing current politics and possibilities for the presidential position in 2016. We had noticed a certain “unremarkability” of the candidates at the time, and based off our average knowledge of political candidates at the time, we simply assumed that a Republican would take the presidency. After all, we hadn’t heard of any noteworthy Democratic candidates.

A new face in the presidential race, however, has turned everything I’ve learned about campaigns around entirely.

Now, if you told me six months ago that I’d be voting for yet another old white guy in 2016, I’d have told you that you’ve entirely lost your mind. But here, making me eat my words, is potential Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders. He’s here, he’s loud and even if you don’t plan on voting for him, at this point, you can’t ignore him. Although somehow, a staggering amount of people I know don’t even know his name. Though the polls are saying he’s just over half as favored as Clinton, he’s gotten to that position on his own merit alone without the extreme fame that candidates like Clinton and Trump have, and he’s gotten there with minimal political involvement of the masses. As a new voting generation, it’s our duty to be as politically involved as we can; if we want changes to be made in the country, we need to look for and pay attention to the candidate that earns said attention not from their fame, but their views. For many progressive parties, Sanders is that candidate.

Many people plan on voting for Clinton to become the Democratic candidate for the sake of feminism, believing it will bring massive changes for women’s rights throughout the country. Sanders writes on his own website how actively opposed he is to, “denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services and blocking equal pay for equal work.” He then proceeds to go massively in-depth about these beliefs, providing statistics and plans of action. Remember that being a feminist isn’t about voting for a woman, it’s voting for the candidate that will best serve women’s rights.

Sanders also holds just as powerful and progressive opinions on plenty of other current social issues, like wealth inequality, climate change and LGBT rights. Every social issue the progressive Americans like in Clinton is found tenfold with Sanders, but a lot of people aren’t aware of him because they’ve yet to politically educate themselves on all the candidates.

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    Now, Sanders operates entirely without Super PACs, meaning his money comes from individual people, not faceless corporations. He’s nearly matched the funds of Hillary Clinton, his prominent Democratic opponent, raising $26 million in this quarter alone from simple donations of everyday people.

    Sanders says he’s collected from 650,000 donors. The average donation size is only around $30, and 99 percent of all the donations given to Sanders’ campaign are under $100. These are the numbers we need to make sure we’re aware of if we want our vote to be one that’s rooted in knowledge and real information.

    Though Clinton does a good job of connecting to her supporters and, she uses these big-name super PACs and, according to the Washington Post, has spent 9 of every $10 raised, nearly depleting her funds.

    Sanders has yet to use over half of his campaign money, meaning he still has a lot of economic power in the race. These are important campaign numbers that, would I have not cared about politics and educated myself, I wouldn’t have known the first thing about, and would have found myself blindly voting for a candidate I knew so little about.

    We as a student body aren’t able to simply not care about politics anymore. For a lot of undergraduate students, this will be the first election we can truly participate in and it’s important not to simply follow the masses. For example, if you plan on voting Democrat, it’s politically irresponsible to vote for Clinton just because she’s in the lead and generating the most buzz.

    It’s your responsibility as a citizen to look into other potential candidates who have plans that align with what you believe in.

    Logan can be reached at [email protected] Columnist Logan Weeter says it is our responsibility as students to vote for presidential candidates based on their views, not popularity.