The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Opinion | Voting is more complicated than we think

Photo courtesy of United States Department of Justice / Wiki
Meeting between assistant attorney General Jonathan Kanter, European commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager and FTC chair Lina Khan on Mar. 30.

When voting for the president, it is very easy to reduce your decision of who to vote for to party affiliation or how you view the candidate. However, I think we as citizens should have slightly more nuance when it comes to voting.

For example, many people say that Joe Biden is too old to hold office, which I don’t disagree with. For some, this is reason enough to not vote for Biden in the upcoming 2024 presidential election. But, it’s important to understand that when we vote for a president, we aren’t just voting for an individual, we are voting for an entire network of people. 

When a president is elected, he has the responsibility of appointing people to positions in federal agencies. And in the case of Biden, he has been very good at appointing the right people, with a few exceptions.  

This may be seen as a negative to some, but Biden has been in politics for almost 50 years, 36 of which were in the Senate. With that comes connections — the kind of connections Trump doesn’t have.

While anybody can find appointees to fill the openings in these federal agencies, only some can find an appointee that will be effective and pass through the congressional hearing that determines if they will be appointed.

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If these agencies have the right people in charge, they can make real, tangible impacts on people’s lives.

The National Labor Relations Board, for example, under Biden has come out with the most pro-labor decisions in years. The NLRB is a five-person board and a general counsel that enforces U.S. labor law under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

A recent decision from the NLRB now allows companies like McDonald’s, which rely heavily on franchising, to be held accountable for labor law violations to employees at their franchisees. 

Another example of an excellent appointment by Biden is Lina Khan, the current head of the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC enforces anti-trust laws and does so by bringing lawsuits to large companies engaging in monopolistic practices. Khan has brought suits against Microsoft, Google, Meta, Activision and Amazon, to name a few.

The FTC has been historically weak when it came to doing its job of enforcing anti-trust laws, but with proper leadership, the federal government can hold these companies accountable.

This is why it’s important for us to look past the facade that politicians put on and think more critically about why we are voting for someone. 

Political ideology and party affiliation in a general election will be the most important factors for a voter to consider when casting their ballot. Most voters will not consider the candidate’s experience or network. But it becomes much for important in the case of primary elections.

For example, in the upcoming Democratic primary, there is only one person openly running as a progressive candidate, and that is Marianne Williamson. Being a progressive, it would make sense that I would want her to win; however, that is not the case. Williamson is not a tenured politician with a network of individuals that she could appoint to these highly important positions. 

Voting is one of the most important civic duties that citizens of the United States have, but oftentimes we see voting as something passive that requires little thinking. 

If America is ever going to become the kind of country that you want it to be, then you need to research candidates. You need to take time and vote in your local and state elections. But above all else, you need to want things to change.


Grayson is a freshman in LAS.

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