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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Opinion

Straight-ticket voting tanked gubernatorial race


Bipartisanship is a drug for politicians, who would rather argue and burn up in flames along with the people than evolve into something new.

When James Madison helped write the Federalist Papers in 1787, he talked of how “liberty is to faction what air is to fire.” Political parties are an illness inherent in a democracy and should be controlled as such; however, Madison’s warnings would be in vain, as America developed a two-party system that now holds the power of this country in a crucible of fear and folly.

The efforts to control political parties were meant to keep the parties from overtaking the national issues as an article of importance.

This past midterm election, many seats in Congress were up for grabs. In the House of Representatives, the GOP succeeded in increasing their majority from the previous session. They were able to oust the Democrat stronghold control of the Senate, a central focus of the overall republican campaign.

The Democrats try to separate themselves from support of President Barack Obama, whose approval rating has fallen. The Republicans were looking to take over the Senate, thus being able to use Congress as a legislative bulwark from which to fight the executive branch.

Discussion of actual issues might have been more useful for an efficient and productive election. Instead, these topics that directly affect American people have been used as cannon-fodder in the vain power struggles happening in capitols across the country.

The spirit of America wept and the bones of our forefathers are not doubt rattling against vicious party system that dominates the political arena and fragments the citizens of the nation.

One wonders how we have gotten to this state where the color of your party affiliation matters more than one’s deep down, honest beliefs.

The Houston Chronicle covered an event in Austin before the election in which Gregg Abbott and Dan Patrick took the stage together to rally support among Republicans.

“We just don’t want to defeat them, we want to crush the Democrats,” said Patrick, the new lieutenant governor of Texas.

So instead of focusing on helping constituents, Patrick is practically frothing at the mouth, yearning for a bellicose victory.

According to the New York Times, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida and the chair of the Democratic National Committee, said that only one thing matters.

“What matters now is who gets their people to the polls,” Schultz said.

These kinds of concentrations are forbidding. This country is looking at a long fall down into an abyss filled with reptilian death if we stick to the present course, where partisanship is the priority.

There is instability between these two parties, and what’s more, they are shattered within themselves. The ultra-conservative tea party is continuing to develop, a fragment jettisoned from the GOP body; conservatives, liberals and moderates dot the political landscape, filling up both of the major parties.

Perhaps this is how third parties are formed. But not everything that takes shapes really makes a difference, which is depressing.

English junior Bryan Dimelow said he believes if a third party arrived with the best answer to an issue, then that party would succeed in its endeavors to fix said issue.

Basically, the system is set up so that it is always in flux, with parties coming and going as they are needed by the collective consciousness of American democracy.

If only our system, set up with such idealism at hand, had stayed true to its original course. But idealism only works in a dead man’s world.

Though America’s politics are open to all who desire to take part, it isn’t that easy. One has to have a major ally who does not schmooze without pre-Christmas Grinch-sized hearts just anyone. That ally is money.

With party labels and super PACs (political action committee) making the real decisions in this year’s midterms elections — and in every other elections — it makes one wonder what the point of voting is anyways.

Texas is a predominantly red state. This past midterm, both the state and Harris County saw the GOP win all across the board, and that is no surprise.

In the Houston Chronicle, Karen Kemper, a supporter of Democratic challenger to the gubernatorial throne Wendy Davis, said that the political system is too easily divided.

“I think it’s unfortunate in Texas that the governor’s race and a lot of others are decided on two issues — if you are pro-gun and anti-abortion you can get in,” Kemper said.

Plus, with the option of voting a straight-ticket, voters can be in and out of polling places quick as they’d like while their party of choice receives another batch of half-baked votes that stretch across the ballot.

In Harris County, 467,085 Houstonians opted for the easy way out, with the GOP receiving a little more than half of the straight-ticket votes.

“I don’t necessarily think it was a good idea to include on the ballots,” Dimelow said. “It would make people do more research if we didn’t have (the straight-ticket option), but they’d probably still end up the same way.”

With cynical, apathetic voters, spurred on by a partisan government that would prefer to trade insults across the aisle while gridlocked, America is in a state of ever-increasing entropy. The politicians are lusting for super PACs, the voters are hungry for change and the issues are malnourished.

America’s spirit is wailing with empty eye sockets, wondering why nobody cares about the violation she experiences on a daily basis.

Opinion columnist Henry Sturm is a journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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