• Claire Naughton

You Don’t Have to Identify as a Dem to Vote Blue this Cycle

Updated: Aug 4

Amidst the chaos of primary season and a media cycle ravenous for the next processed Twinkie of a sound bite from President Trump, voters are often encouraged to forget what should be an obvious fact: political identity has historically been a fluid thing for some portion of the voting population.


Take for example, the fact that today’s Democrats would have been considered Republicans less than 100 years ago. Both parties’ tones and platforms have evolved over time to reflect the changing methods of messaging to the American people. While Democratic candidates once espoused the importance of de-emphasizing federal power, Republican candidates often argued for the federal government to have a larger hand in the organization of the states (1). But, today, the public seems so entrenched in one party's politics, it's near impossible to imagine that a cross-over voter still exists.


Yet, today's polarization of American politics numbs the voter to the issues, and benefits no one except the mass media and career politicians


That is, until some career politicians forget their microphone is on and broadcast live that they wouldn’t care about current events if they didn’t have primaries (2). Individuals, who have long-occupied both Republican and Democrat seats, are often reelected thanks to some combination of voter apathy, gerrymandering, and the incumbency effect.


Fortunately, historic events, such as the 52-seat pick-up by Democrats in 1930, the 97-seat gain in 1932 (3), or, the Blue Wave in 2018 serve to remind us that when the American public is engaged, that public creates the differences it wants to see in its representation.


These differences are reflected in the second wave of Democratic candidates we see building, both nationwide and at the local level. President Obama just today released his own “first wave” of political endorsements, and featuring prominently on that list were individuals running for office at the state level, most prominently in Ohio. (For readers unaware, Ohio recently saw a massive $60 million bribery scandal at the state house level, which led to five Republicans’ arrest, including the now-former State House Speaker, Larry Householder (4).)


While Ohio is currently at the center of a hotbed of scandalous drama, it is also back in its habitual place of spotlight within the windstorm of American politics. While “swing state” used to mean something along the lines of "state whose political decision reflects the national political party leaning” it has more recently come to be associated with a state that could flip from Red to Blue. This is an important distinction to make because it reflects the fact that it used to not only be okay for states to hold court on the political happenings at the national level, but commonplace.


Now, thanks to GOP gerrymandering, blocked campaign finance reform policies, and the tenth ring of hell that is Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and every other squawking Fox News personality who has made millions off of conflating facts with opinion and encouraging the public to do whatever they want in the name of “personal liberty,” a large percentage of the American public has been berated past the point of sensibility.


It is precisely this “Us vs Them” mentality that these new politicians are trying to crack


They don’t serve a political party, per say, so much as they pursue that precious avenue of communication that allows for a political discourse that doesn’t dissolve into ears-closed shouting. This election, these individuals, largely occupy the Democratic side of the ballot. And, right not, Trump has reduced the Republican side to a chemical dumpster fire fueled by irrationality and cruelty. Thus, these Democratic individuals should be voted into office, not necessarily because you identify with the Democratic party, but because you identify with the individuals who are striving to make the a political party transparent and work for you, an American who deserves respectable, thoughtful, and progressive representation. In essence: You don’t have to identify as a Dem to vote blue this cycle.

Sources

1. https://www.livescience.com/34241-democratic-republican-parties-switch-platforms.html

2. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/eliot-engel-new-york-congressman-hot-mic-primary/

3. https://www.salon.com/2019/02/16/one-blue-wave-was-not-enough-democrats-need-another-in-2020/

4. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ohio-house-speaker-larry-householder-arrested-60-million-bribery-case/

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