Article by Macy Walker, A-State Young Democrats President
Although voting and elections have always been an important piece of our nation’s history, it seems the importance of elections grows as each election cycle begins. After witnessing the failure of our government officials over the recent past, it is vital to let our voices be heard.
The Arkansas State University Young Democrats are co-chartered with the Young Democrats of America and College Democrats of America, supporting progressive Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. In Arkansas, Democrats are a superminority, yet that does not stop our activism.
For the 2020 fall semester, one pivotal issue of the A-State Young Democrats’ platform has been voter registration and education. Along with groups such as the collegiate chapter of the NAACP and Vote A-State, we held multiple voter registration drives, both on and off campus. These drives have resulted in the registration of hundreds of voters. The ability to participate in free and fair elections is crucial to a democracy.
At the beginning of the year, we as Young Democrats were quick to debate over which candidate we deemed appropriate for the presidential nomination. As young progressives, our nation’s electoral system does not exactly always provide in the way we may wish. Now, we rally behind the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ticket as their platform most closely aligns with ours. Biden’s platform includes over 40 key issues, most notably for Young Democrats being healthcare, racial equity, crisis response to COVID-19, gun violence, climate change, LGBTQ+ equality, immigration, women’s rights and education. We support the Biden campaign because of sufficiency with these issues.
We are appalled at Donald Trump’s presidency, especially upon his handling of the pandemic. COVID-19 should not have been politicized in the way it has and the goal should be safety for all people in the United States. On President Trump’s campaign website, it says the president wants to “eradicate COVID-19,” yet over 220,000 people within the United States have lost their lives to this pandemic. These lives will never be gained back, and we will mourn the losses to the country.
That being said, Biden has provided a detailed plan to destabilize COVID-19, provide economic support, and provide aid for essential workers and small businesses. First and foremost, Biden and the Democratic Party put trust in science, whether that be from COVID-19 to climate change. Biden plans to increase access to reliable testing, provide sufficient PPE, implement mask mandates and ensure transparency when dealing with the pandemic. As the pandemic has proven, the American healthcare system is damaged.
Biden supports access to affordable healthcare as healthcare is a human right. Biden intends to protect the Affordable Healthcare Act, which will be demolished under further Trump administration. Hopefully, the Biden administration will be able to implement their plan to protect the American people.
It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the presidential election, but elections from the top to the bottom of the ballot are of utmost importance. Local politics influence us just as much, if not more than federal politics.
Locally, the A-State Young Democrats have held meetings with candidates such as those running for the Jonesboro mayoral race or the Arkansas State Legislature. Although the Democratic Party of Arkansas does not have candidates in this district’s federal Congressional races, we as Young Democrats have been quick to proudly support and campaign for candidates statewide such as Celeste Williams, Joyce Elliot and William Hanson. As for the Arkansas House of Representatives, Jonesboro is split into multiple districts. Democratic candidates for this race include: Shawn Only (District 53), Jim Burton (District 58), and Reginald Prunty (District 59). The ballot also will include three initiatives which should be examined closely. Arkansas Issue 3, for example, would amend the Arkansas Constitution making it more difficult for petitioners in Arkansas to get issues on the ballot and propose laws. We oppose this issue.
Regardless of our political preference, we as the A-State Young Democrats encourage all to utilize their constitutional right to vote. Please educate yourself on candidates and issues before entering your polling location on Nov. 3.
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