Why you should vote this November

And why we should all care

Cade+Belisle%2FDaily+Collegian+%282012%29

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian (2012)

By Colby Sutton, Collegian Correspondent

November is set to feature one of the most consequential midterm elections in living memory. We will not be electing a new president, but we will be deciding the direction in which our country and our state will go for the foreseeable future.

The midterm elections are exactly what they sound like; in the middle of a four-year presidential term, there are a slew of other, and equally important, elections at the federal and state level. These include races for the Senate, House of Representatives and governor’s office. Midterm elections have historically favored the party that does not hold the presidency; this year that would be the Republican Party.

As students at the University of Massachusetts, we are all either permanent or temporary Massachusetts residents. Massachusetts is regarded as a “blue state” with most of the population voting for Democrats. However, this does not mean that these elections do not matter to us, and it certainly does not mean that your vote does not matter.

Before delving into the politics and policies of the candidates up for election, I want to advocate for the importance of staying informed, and more broadly, simply caring. As a political science and legal studies major, it’s safe to say that I exist in a bubble of political awareness. Through my years at UMass, I have learned to understand that following politics can be an emotional burden for some, while others simply do not have the time. I have come to see that for many, “not caring about politics” is a privilege for them, as their rights, their interests and their very way of life are not threatened in our political climate.

Staying informed about the most pressing political issues does not have to be an all-consuming task. It can be as simple as turning on Apple News notifications or utilizing the free New York Times subscription that is available for all UMass students.

This election cycle is so important and different from years past because the Republican establishment has adopted a stance that disregards the Constitution and the rule of law. Introducing controversial policies, they have targeted members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants and women. That is why I believe we should all care about politics — while these GOP policies may not directly affect you, they may very well affect someone you love.

This threat is closer than we think. One election to keep an eye on is our gubernatorial race. The Democratic nominee for governor is Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy. On the Republican side is Geoff Diehl, the Trump-endorsed candidate. When asked if Diehl would accept the results of the election — a basic tenet of any functioning democracy — his spokeswoman replied, “no comment,” according to the New York Times. While Diehl and other Trump-endorsed candidates’ in Massachusetts’ races have slim chances of winning, they aren’t zero. After all, Massachusetts’ current governor is a Republican.

I am not advocating that everyone become a political junkie, but I am advocating for people to realize that elections, no matter how small, can have serious consequences for marginalized communities that are proudly represented at UMass. Trump-endorsed candidates are betting on the fact that many voters, both in the state and in the nation, simply do not care enough to show up to the polls and cast their ballots, and that is when they win.

We have the power as a generation to be the change that we want to see in our community and in our country, and it all starts with casting your vote.

Colby Sutton can be reached at [email protected].