The Importance of Voting:
Tomorrow is a big Primary Election day in California. Since what happens in California affects the rest of the country (fun fact: California has the 6th largest economy in the world), I know lots of people are watching.
This will be the first election where my oldest daughter, Maude can vote. We both have a memory of her registering on campus, but I noticed no election materials had arrived in the mail for her, so we double checked this morning at Vote.org, and it turns out she’s not registered. Not sure what happened — we must not have completed the paperwork, or forgot to mail it in or something. But all is not lost! We checked with the County Registrar’s office and they said she could come and register in-person today. So she did. Yay!
By the way, if you want to see if you’re registered to vote, it’s super fast, and works for every state. You just type in your name, address and birth date and it will tell you immediately. And if you’re not registered, it will give you a link or phone number of the office where you can get registered. If you’re a Californian, be sure to double check today, so you can go register in-person if you need to. Don’t miss out on voting tomorrow.
All that said, what I really want to discuss with you today is this: Have your political inclinations changed since Trump was elected? Do you feel more politically involved? Are you feeling empowered and more likely to vote? Or are you feeling hopeless and less likely to vote? Do you identify politically in a different way? Have you switched political parties? Or feel abandoned by your political party?
I read a New York Times article called How the Online Left Fuels the Right. A woman commented on the article and said, “I was once a moderate Democrat… Now my views are regarded as extreme liberalism yet I have changed little.” I related to that comment so much. For most of my adult life, I’ve been just left of center, and I’ve voted for both Republican and Democrat candidates at every level, including President. I don’t feel that my views have shifted much, but these days, if I have political discussions, people describe me as an extreme liberal.
As you might guess, I see it from an opposite point of view. From where I sit, it seems like conservative politics have moved further and further right, and if someone supports Trump, it puts them in an extreme far right category. Though I imagine Trump supporters see themselves as moderate conservatives.
One of the reasons I feel I haven’t changed my views much, is because I’m still reading from the same news sources that I always have. For left-of-center views, I read things like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and NPR. For right-of-center views, I read things like the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, the Economist, and the National Review. From what I can tell, based on the articles they share, many of my conservative friends and relatives have shifted from those sources to Breitbart, the Drudge Report, Fox News, and InfoWars — which are all extreme right compared to something like the Weekly Standard. (I’m sure you’ve seen this chart that attempts to plot where different news sources fall bias-wise.)
What’s your feeling about political labels these days? How would you categorize yourself? And as I asked earlier in this post, have your political inclinations or motivations changed since Trump was elected? What are your thoughts on the importance of voting?