I know it’s discouraging out there, but it’s time to vote

Addie Adkins, Columnist

I hate election season. I’ve hated it for a long time. 

Every four years, memories from past elections pop up on my Facebook and their sentiments reflect the ones I still carry today, the main theme being “Can’t we all just get along?”

To which, the answer always seems to be a loud and resounding “No.”

With the dawn of social media and the ability for individuals to throw their opinion out into the world publicly, it seems politics is one of the hot-button topics everyone has decided to talk about. 

Remember when that topic was taboo, discussed politely and quietly behind closed doors? Yeah, I miss those times too.

Each year, the “right versus left” mindset gets stronger and more hateful. The names get progressively hideous, although inventive. 

I swear if I see one more post calling anyone a “Libtard,” “Snowflake,” “tRumper” or “republicRat” on my newsfeed, I’m going to deactivate my social media accounts until long after this nightmare is over.

Rationally, I know that extremes on either side of any argument are always the loudest, and politics are no different. 

However, there seems to be a misunderstanding about party affiliation and political typology.

According to LawInsider.com, political affiliation is the endorsement or feeling of belonging to a political party. 

In contrast, political typology aims to “categorize people based on the combination of political values they hold as a way of better understanding the complexities of the current political landscape,” according to Pew Research Center. 

There are nine different groups that Pew Research Center has composed, four of them that lean towards Republican, and four that lean towards Democrat, with one outlier that is not politically engaged. 

Generally, the middle groups share political beliefs that are usually considered more Democrat or more Republican. 

For example, Jane may consider her political affiliation Republican, but may be classified as a “Devout and Diverse,” which is a Democrat-leaning group with more conservative views. 

This is why everyone gets labeled “Democrat” or “Republican” based on a few assumptions.

Alan Greenblatt, a senior staff writer for Governing.com, touched on this in his article “Moderates Are ‘Politically Homeless.’ Does Either Party Want Them” last year in which he interviewed Geoffrey Kabaservice, director of political studies at the Niskanen Center.

Greenblatt wrote, “Support for the parties is now split not just on ideological lines but by all manner of demographic factors, such as race, gender, geography and church attendance. ‘If you’re in a rural or small-town area and you’re white, at this point you’re a Republican,’ says Kabaservice, ‘And if you’re in a city and you went to college, you’re a Democrat.’”

While there are other assumptions that lead to being labeled, such as religious beliefs, stance on abortion or stance on climate change, this example serves as a simplified model that is fairly accurate.

The current political climate is appalling and makes independent voters like me want to shut it all out and not vote. 

We are over here wondering if we will ever get sane, respectable and qualified candidates ever again.

An article by John LaLoggia, a former research assistant for Pew Research Center, states “About a quarter of both Republican lean[ing independents] (24%) and Democratic lean[ing independents] (27%) view both parties unfavorably, as do 37% of those with no partisan leaning. By comparison, only about one-in-ten partisans view both parties negatively.”

I’ll just say what a lot of people are thinking: both main presidential candidates suck this election cycle. They are old, rich men who live in a completely different world than the majority of Americans. 

They wouldn’t understand most of the hardships the majority of us face today, such as living paycheck to paycheck or having a mountain of debt.

Because of my disappointment in the two mainstream presidential candidates and in an effort to be an informed voter, I decided to research all the presidential candidates. 

I ended up finding a 2020 Political quiz on isidewith.com. It is very thorough and after answering a few questions, it showed me which candidate my beliefs align with best. Its accuracy increases the more questions you answer.

After finding my “best-fit” candidate, I started to wish there was equal representation for all the parties, not just the Democrat and Republican parties.

There are four other presidential candidates running for office in the 2020 election. 

According to the Washington state voter’s pamphlet, they include: Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian party; Howie Hawkins, Green party; Gloria La Riva, Socialism and Liberation party; and Alyson Kennedy, Socialist Workers party. 

I highly recommend you read their bios and statements in the voter’s pamphlet.

For those dismayed voters out there, I can assure you there is a candidate out there that you can believe in and get behind. It just might not be one who’s talked about.

So, I challenge you to take this quiz to see which 2020 Presidential Candidate aligns best with your beliefs. 

Then take this quiz to check out your political typology.

Most importantly, I urge you to register to vote by Oct. 26, read your voter’s pamphlet and vote by Nov. 3. Make your voice heard.