History has shown that voter turnout in presidential election years dramatically exceeds all other polling events. The draw of big name presidential candidates is magnetic. The potential impact is irresistible.
But then, there is 2016. This year’s candidates have incited many would-be voters to respond: “I don’t like either candidate.” Or “who do I hate less?”
Ultimately, many of the malcontent electorate threatens to sit out this election.
Don’t overlook the selection of representatives at various levels of government. Executive-branch bluster doesn’t mean the person in the Oval Office manages everything.
Political scientists tell us that the President has impact on international affairs and selecting Supreme Court candidates. They also tell us that the legislative branches manage the gritty meat and potatoes (local taxes, budgets, community public safety and basic spending and savings).
Choices abound for those who want to set the path for our future — and it is not merely candidates whose names end with Clinton or Trump.
If turnout drops, that leaves only the most motivated voters to decide down-ballot races. Those contests decide:
• Who controls the U.S. Senate? Democrats are expected to regain control, which would make Chuck Schumer majority leader (if he defeats Wendy Long) and could be good for New York state. The Senate will play a bigger role than usual next year because it will have to confirm at least one Supreme Court appointment and will try to decide the direction of tax code reforms, immigration policy, gun control and any proposed changes to Obamacare.
• What happens in the House? If Paul Ryan can keep the biggest GOP majority since WWII, he wants to tackle big long-term issues like Social Security, Medicare and welfare reform.
It would be a shame if voters choosing to sit out the election don’t look at those ballot lines. In their zeal to assure no monolithic overseer, the architects of American government granted the right to select leaders and doers at every level of government. The citizens’ challenge is to stay engaged when the most prominent of candidates raise disgust, disdain or even stone-cold hatred.
Before sitting out the entire 2016 General Election, consider the confidence the architects of this unique country had in citizens. The great ensurers of checks and balances set forth a bold plan that stole supreme power from a singular head of state.
There are national and state positions to be won that drive our future.
We urge you to think clearly here. We appeal to your common sense. We ask you to sweep emotion aside.
Evaluate with logic and commitment about the America you desire. Do not let those with the most zealous beliefs and support of those at the top of the ticket dictate where we will go next.
— The Syracuse Post-Standard