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The Midterms Aren’t So Mid At All

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Every election cycle comes with a naysaying uncle who moonlights as a conspiracy theorist, preaching how voting does nothing wrong and something in you at least hears Unc out. 

Here’s the thing; if voting does nothing, why is the rich white establishment so hellbent on keeping BIPOC, but Black people especially, from doing so?

In 1870 the 15th amendment gave all men the right to vote, temporarily allowing Black men to vote until racism made that impossible. All Black people would not be able to vote until 1965. Now, there seems to be a glitch in the matrix; voting, once seen as a gateway to more rights, is directly viewed with apathy, albeit sometimes understandable, but never excusable. 

Let’s face it: Democracy, you in danger, girl. And the midterm elections will be the decider of our future as either a banana republic or a progressive nation seeking to install and uphold rights for all its citizens. 

Now, I am not here to paint the Democratic Party as some fraternity of salvation because it is not. But it is far better than the party seeking to revoke reproductive rights against the recommendation of science, rights for the LGBTQ community, reduce funding for many marginalized communities and sprinkle casual racism into the law books. If Democracy crumbles, the rubble and damage will surely be seen in marginalized communities first and with a dense ubiquity. The midterms, the “Solange” of the voting cycles, are often overlooked even with its extreme self-importance and relevance. Still, according to fairvote.org, only 40% of eligible voters turn out for the midterms versus 60% in the presidential election. That’s like showing up for your final exam but not the midterm, expecting to pass; it doesn’t work that way. 

The midterm elections are where America makes the grade. They are the pulse of our progress as a class, if we are going to continue to use cheesy school analogies. If we view the presidential election cycle as more important than the midterms, then we are ignoring the fact that the legislative branch of government, like the executive branch, possesses 33% of power and 50% of elected power, with the remaining 33% of the power going to the tenured judicial branch. 

White male voters, in particular, show up for a candidate no matter how nefarious. Even without Donald Trump, we have examples of men like Roy Moore, who received 71% of the white male vote in his election, even after being accused by nine women of sexual assault when the women were teenagers. Fairvote.org also states that 81% of eligible voters who earned between $100,000 and $149,999 annually voted in the 2020 presidential election, compared to only 63.6% of voters who made between $30,000 to $39,999 annually. It also stated, “turnout among eligible White voters was estimated at 71%; On the other hand, turnout among Black voters and Latino voters was estimated at 63% and 54% respectively.” Rich white voters making decisions for marginalized communities have never fared well for us in the past. Additionally, lawmakers are more likely to acquiesce to the voter that shows up. 

As cruel as it sounds, we cannot expect lawmakers to show up for communities that do not show up for themselves. Trump made white supremacy loud again. It didn’t even need to be attached to the hypocritical, yet polite, evangelicalism of the past, but still received its support. It has become young again, no longer just for grandpa, but rather the young incel who got passed over in P.E. and love, he also gets a vote. 

He is also not only voting for his representation but yours as well. 

In a culture of individualism, one can view voting as one person not having the power to make change or rather a group of people coming together to make change. If voting were not important, then there would not be such a long history of suppression of specific demographics. There would not be a long history of poll taxes, ID requirements and reading tests to eliminate the vote for marginalized, especially Black communities. 

Hell, the origin of this nation was because of the colonist’s ire for taxation without representation. If voting were not important, then an angry white mob wouldn’t have attempted to overthrow the government on a cold morning in January simply because it didn’t like who won. 

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