American politics are weird. There is a huge disconnect between the symbolically important elections and the practically important elections. Many voters are suckered in by the symbolism and ignore the practical. In other words, they vote in the elections for the “Big” positions, like President, Senator, and maybe even Governor, but they sit out the mayors, boards of ed, town councils, and all that stuff. I don’t want to downplay the importance of the President and Congress, but Biden and Blumenthal aren’t affecting my day to day life that much. Local governments and officials affect my life every single day.
When people talk about the impact of local elections, they usually talk about schools and roads. They are right, those are very important. But most of the hottest issues of our day are really decided locally. Take abortion as an example. The Supreme Court isn’t going to ban abortion. There is absolutely no danger of that. But the Supreme Court might grant local governments the ability to ban abortion. I want the Court to continue protecting reproductive freedom, but the best way to guarantee choice is to vote in the local elections. The same is true for BLM. Policing is a local issue. Denying convicted felons the right to vote is a local issue. Local officials do the gerrymandering. The list goes on and on.
In all honesty, I’m really down on elections lately. I’d like to see them replaced with a lottery system. Maybe I’ll write about that a bit more some other time. For now, though, we live in an electoral system. Pining for change won’t make a difference. Voting is our best option. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it is more important than ever to make our voices heard. Voting is the way to do that.