Opinion: The raging world of a primary

Austin W Belet, Opinions Editor

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As the 2020 cycle heats up, we are finally having to consider the primary candidates. That being said, I suppose the people who don’t care for the Democratic primary can tune out because this is more for those who are voting in it.

Primaries are perhaps the most subtly ferocious aspect of campaigning that exists. This is the stage in a campaign cycle where candidates get measured against other candidates who believe in 90% of the same ideas. It becomes, for better or worse, a popularity contest.

In an ideal democracy, this contest would be the hotbed for policy debate. This should be the instance where we decide how to achieve universal healthcare, how to ensure a more just taxation system, and the way to improve or public education systems. What it has since become is a popularity contest judged on identity politics.

The Democrats have been digging ourselves into a hole of identity, a concept that is entirely noble but is perhaps depriving the party of the “Blue Wave” we so desperately crave. We have stopped focusing on the actually policy of candidates and have focused more on the groups they represent. We absolutely need more representation in our government for women, people of color, LGBT persons, various religious backgrounds, and a number of other groups, though the specific affiliation with that group shouldn’t be the sole reason we are electing people.

The debate stage participants for the Democratic presidential primary has been set (with some surprising choices) and I can only hope that as we venture further into the 2020 cycle that we are focusing on the positions of the candidates and the way they communicate them. When watching these debates, it should not be for charisma or showiness, but for intellect and relatability. The questions I ask is “Does this reasonate with the voters outside of my bubble?” “Is this person qualified to hold the office that they are running for?” and “Why do I like/not like this candidate?”

For those who respond to any of these questions with “But the President now isn’t…”, you are missing the point. The point isn’t to demonize or venerate any particular person, but to think about the communities they represent as a greater whole.

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