I live in the beautiful mountainous Northwest Arkansas where the leaves are now changing, giving the hills a mixture of shades from green to yellow to orange to brown. This is a great place to live. However, it also happens to be in a red district of a red state.
Some of my friends recently discounted my urgency to make sure I voted. I couldn't get out to early vote fast enough. But they said, "why bother" and "it doesn't matter, we know who's going to win." I just can't help myself, I want to participate. I want my wife to participate. I want my kids to participate. It is how we form our world.
Beyond my feelings, there are things I think my friends are overlooking about the importance of voting in our red district of a red state. In my district, the Democrats didn't even field a candidate against the Republican U.S. House candidate. Yet another reason that some think its a waste. However, what they don't think about and what EVERYONE should be thinking about is two major points.
1. The popular vote doesn't matter...until it does.
1a. Al Gore won the popular vote and lost the first count in Florida. He challenged Florida and eventually lost. However, he made an effort and had the justification that he won the popular vote on his side.
1b. John Kerry lost the popular vote and for that very reason, decided not to challenge Ohio in 2004. Without that justification, he could not press the issue
While I think we are all hoping it doesn't come to that, you know it can happen, it just did.
2. What is holding this economy back? We're losing government jobs.
2a. Republicans in state legislatures and in governorships have been taking over and gutting state budgets, firing teachers, firefighters, cops, state workers. This has led to the continual growth of jobs in the private sector being dragged down every month by the loss of jobs in the public sector.
2b. Democrats controlling state government will give the president what he needs to fulfill his promise and get the recovery fully moving. Democrats in your local races means less road blocks to a full economic recovery in the public sector.
My Democratic candidate for state house is running against a well funded Republican. This guy has sent out so many flyers and has so many signs on the road, its ridiculous. However, this is a down the middle, perhaps Democratic leaning state house district. If me and my wife didn't vote, David Whitaker wouldn't have a chance. If people like my friends vote, the state house might stay Democratic in Arkansas. This would allow the Affordable Care Act to take full effect in the state. This state needs the Medicaid provisions worse than any other state in the country. If the governor has to fight Republicans, that puts the implementation in serious jeopardy. This affects a huge portion of the state, the portion that needs help the most.
So, please, your vote will not be wasted. It is important on a national level, it is important on a state level, it is important on a local level. Not in a swing state? Not in a swing district? VOTE! Better yet, get your fiends to vote too.