Article by Katy Zielinski | esPResso Staff Writer
This presidential election has been unique, to say the least. The race started with 16 Republican candidates and four Democratic candidates, all ranging from very diverse backgrounds. As the election has narrowed to five candidates, we are faced with a very negative view of our political system.
It is very easy to focus on these aspects of the campaigns. Every news story is riddled with insults towards other candidates, their wives, and the current administration. Despite the negative (and sometimes racist) statements made by candidates, there are important things happening in the United States. In my attempt to bring some optimism to this election, here are three positive outcomes from this election season.
1) We are talking about issues that have been ignored for years or have never been addressed at all.
Without Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, there would be no discussion about how the delegate system works in this country. A BBC article pointed out that “the party presidential nomination process is hardly a shining beacon of democratic light.” This article called attention to the fact that the Republican and Democratic parties have the ability to make their own rules to ensure their own success. It is a race controlled by the establishment. Even in elections where Trump won the majority of the popular vote, Cruz has left the state with more delegates. This corrupt system, having been ignored for years, is finally being discussed on a national level. Bernie Sanders has also discussed the concept of open and closed primaries. Senator Sanders has performed very well in states with open primaries and same-day registration. In closed primaries, he has performed poorly. This raises the concern that every American does not have equal opportunity to vote and that closed primaries are limiting the voice of independent voters. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have forced the American people to reevaluate the democratic functions of our electoral system.
2) People are starting to care about politics.
Social media has had a profound effect on presidential campaigns. This past week, political journalist Michael Gormley, a journalist for Newsday, came to speak to my political communications class. He praised the use of social media and said, “Social media makes people care about things.” Campaigns have used social media as a way to reach every age group and demographic. Even those who are too young to vote showed up at the Bernie Sanders rally at Marist College. Avoiding politics is no longer an option. Campaigns use social media to reach a wide range of citizens.
3) People are getting involved.
Many states have experienced record setting voter turnout for their primary election. Early voter turnout in Maryland has already set a record, with 7.5% of eligible voters casting their votes before Election Day. Reports in California already are expecting “a surge in voter turnout.” Since people are interested in this election, they are registering and showing up to vote.
Despite the long list of undeniable issues with this election, there are a few positive outcomes that cannot be ignored. This election could create the momentum needed to make positive changes in the future. No matter who is elected in November, voters must continue to participate if we want to see positive changes for this country.