For so long, we relied on voting the right people in positions of power and trusting that they will vote the right way. However, as soon as the pandemic hit and the world watched in horror to the video of George Floyd, things seem well, existential. Suddenly, these old tactics seem insufficient. Key issues that could be overlooked or placed on the back burner are now screaming alarm bells for the future of democracy.Now, the onus is back on the people to get the issues we care about to the forefront– whether that be racial equity, unequal public school funding or the climate crisis.
And that’s precisely what we are seeing.
Over the past decade, our communities have been struggling with stagnant wages and overwhelmed by the rising cost of living, housing, health care, college and child care. It becomes increasingly clear that our generation is calling for politicians who will fight on behalf of these issues. Advocacy groups are rising to power. People are investing, organizing and engaging in smaller- scale elections–mayoral races, local city council elections, state senate races, congressional races. Activists from all walks of life are coming together to demand that their voices be heard and that politicians be held accountable. It is clear that the system, as it stands, is not working–and we need a major reboot.
So, here are two major ways you can really effect change in the upcoming elections:
- Really see who is running and evaluate the stance they take on specific issues. What are the issues that matter most to you? What are they saying about these issues? See a ton of platitudes and cliches? Probably not the one. Pass. We have already seen some incredible wins for issue-based candidates. Jamaal Bowman, who focused his campaign on housing, jobs and education for all won in New York, unseating a 20-year corporate incumbent. Research the candidates and don’t just vote according to party lines.
- Make your voice so loud they can’t ignore you. Sure you may feel like you are speaking for the people, but when you approach politicians individually, frankly, your reach is slim. But if you approach them in groups, your collective voice speaks volumes. Shahid Buttar, an issue-based candidate, is Nancy Pelosi’s first viable election challenger in 30 years. He explains why this collective action is so important stating,