elephant and donkey out of gate theguardian comPicture Credit: theGuardian.com

It’s 2016. It’s a Presidential Election Year! It’s been over a year since we’ve started hearing about it. Now, were finally down to two, Clinton and Trump. One was seen as the natural, the other came completely out of left field! (Keep in mind I’m not talking about the fringe candidates here, so don’t get offended.)

What a race it’s been. On one side, it’s been dominated by e-mails, an embassy in Libya, and a most surprising spoiler candidate (Bernie). It almost looked like there was going to be a repeat of 2008, where the “shoe-in” was going to be brushed aside for a more popular candidate. But in the end, Hillary held her ground, and won the nomination she has sought for so long.

On the other side of the aisle, the most unexpected, unorthodox, and unprepared candidate in the history of the Republican Party. It’s hard to determine where to begin. I guess Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars was right, the power of the Dark Side, and anger (and racism, and misogyny, etc.), is strong with that one. Whenever it seemed an increasingly disastrous verbal gaffe would sink him, the ship righted. Obvious habits, tendencies, and personality traits that are frankly despicable and quite distasteful haven’t hurt his numbers. He seemed impervious to any traditional form of political attack. Like the Godzilla of politics.

But maybe there’s hope on the horizon. As we chip away at his campaign with every tweet, every story, or every time he opens his mouth and helps us, we are slowly destroying the giant. I think his arrogance and pride will be his ultimate downfall. I truly believe it’s just a matter of time before his campaign implodes. When the majority of American’s say “Enough’s Enough!” and send him back into obscurity, or television. When the bigots, xenophobes, racists, and other unsavory elements of our society are forced back into hiding so we don’t have to deal with them.

Oh yeah, and that Duck Dynasty guy goes into the woods to hide, like he said he was!

donkey kicking elephant dennismansfield com Picture Credit: dennismansfield.com

Which brings me to my point. We need to remember, as Democrats, and Americans who actually want to see SOMETHING get done, that there are more than one race going on.

For example, nearly everyone knows about the Kentucky Derby. If not the specifics, they can give you a good enough description that you’d understand. It might be the only horse race they bother to watch every year. That’s the Presidential Race. It’s the big contest everyone knows about; who’s running, their odds (poll numbers), and who’s their favorite. They might not know the specifics of a platform, but you could probably get a good enough description of it to figure out what’s happening. It’s the race that gets all of the attention and press.

Now, unless you know something about horse racing, or only casually follow the sport, you might not realize that the Kentucky Derby is only one of a series of 3 races that make up the Triple Crown. The two others, The Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes are just as important to the jockeys and owners, but nowhere near as publicized or talked about. Most people don’t even bother to research those races, or whose running in them. In this example, those two races are the Congressional and State Government Races.

If you’re reading this, chances are you know who’s on the ballot for your local Representative, and if your Senator is up for reelection this cycle, and who’s running. But if you walked out on the street today and asked 10 random people, how many do you think would know. If at all, they might be able to come up with the person already in office and running for another term. The challenger, however, is a different story. People wonder how Congressmen/women and Senators stay in office 20, 30, or more years.

In this election though, there is a chance to change that. I don’t understand the logic. If the boss (us) isn’t happy with the way they’re doing the job (as polls seem to indicate), why are the majority of them going to be reelected, and sent back for “one more chance!” It’s almost like we (the voters) are in an abusive relationship, yet we still keep taking the other one back because “they’ll do better.” Two years later, the cycle repeats itself.

My point is this: It doesn’t matter how big a victory we might give Hillary in November (sure it will be historic, and much, much more preferable to the alternative), but if we Do not send a Democratic Congress to Washington, we are just going to witness a repeat of the last two years.

I don’t care what your pet cause is that motivates you to vote. The environment, labor issues, the economy, and so many more. Unless we also elect a cooperative Congress, do you really think there is going to be any progress on anything? Nominations will be held up, more attempts at repealing Obamacare will come, more investigations into (probably) e-mails, two more years of inaction on gun violence. These are just a few of the things that I can see transpiring in another Republican Congress.

Do you really want or need two more years of the status quo?

The other race you need to be familiar with is your State elections. Whereas above, some people might know their United States Representative and Senator, many less will know who represents them at the state level. Go ahead, ask somebody. Possibly, they know the Governor, but few others.

The states have been called the “laboratories of democracy.” Here’s an important question: Do you want your lab run by a mad scientist who just does anything to anyone at anytime trying to piece together a “Frankenstein’s Monster” of democracy; or would you rather have a methodical, logical, thinking scientist that takes the entire situation into account before acting? Choose the former, and you get things like Voter ID Laws, Religious Freedom Laws, HB-2 in North Carolina (the “bathroom bill”), and dire fiscal situations like Kansas and Wisconsin. Choose the latter, and you get a California, whose economy is growing and deficits are shrinking, despite a horrendous drought, its citizens report being happy with the way things are going.

Decisions made at the state level affect all manner of things; from your taxes (state income, property, sales, etc.), where you can and can’t go pee (HB-2 again), who you can marry, and whether or not you will get a fair chance to vote. I think it’s worth taking a minute of your time to analyze your state races and make an informed voting choice in November. Your basic freedoms and your pocket book might be affected!

Of course, you also need to know what’s going on with local, municipal, and county elections. The “non-partisan” races also, like judges and sheriff’s (in some places). Those are just as important, but might affect you just a little less than the above two. You may or may not agree with me on that, but I’m guessing we at least agree that the races below President (the “down-ticket” races) are just as important as the “big one.”

I hope this spurred some action to research, or at least put some thought into the subject. Remember the really important thing this year is to actually GO VOTE! Don’t take it for granted that, in all likelihood, Trump’s going to be stomped. Go contribute to that stomping!

Working together, and not like in the past just staying home, we can send Hillary to the White House in November, and give her the Congress she needs to get something done. And while we’re at it, kick the super right wing radical Republicans, Tea Baggers, and Ultra Christian Haters out of the State Capitals.

Let’s turn the whole country blue this November!