Over the past two weeks, the two main parties in our political process have showcased the best they have to offer and presented two starkly different visions for this country’s future. As some of us prepare to cast our first vote in a presidential election, we should be reminded voting is not only a privilege, but a responsibility because our vote carries with it consequences that can and will last generations. We must choose wisely. Over this past summer, I was reawakened as a liberal Democrat. I now believe Democrats are objectively better at governing than Republicans.
This revelation began with economic issues. In July, electoral-vote.com put out an article raising the question of which part is better at managing the economy, featuring a graph showing the party in power and the unemployment rate since the stat began being recorded monthly in 1948. Since 1948, there have been 10 peaks in unemployment, seven or eight of which (depending on how you measure) have started under Republican presidencies. The site argues this is not the result of chance, but rather the result of policies; Republicans let the market run its course, Democrats intervene.
In the final month of Democratic reigns of eight years or more, the unemployment rate is just 3.5 percent. In the final month of Republican reigns of eight years or more, the average unemployment rate is 7.3 percent. One can expect twice as many people to be out of work at the end of two Republican terms than at the end of two Democratic terms. These numbers are staggering; the facts are clear. Democrats are better at running the economy.
While the economy is a good reason to be a Democrat, social issues are perhaps even better reasons. It’s primarily been Democrats who worked to build up the social safety net, legitimized workers’ rights and institutionalized higher education. I am a Democrat because I believe just because I am not homosexual does not mean I cannot recognize the sanctity of their love. Even though I am not a member of a minority does not mean I must be blind to issues that affect minorities. Even though I am not a woman does not mean I am apathetic towards women’s rights. The Democratic Party stands for true equality. The Democratic Party stands for the social safety net. I am a Democrat because I believe we are all entitled to a fair chance at success.
My party is not perfect by any means, nor is every candidate it fields. However, history has shown us that Democrats are successful at governing, and today the Democrats are fighting the good fight, no matter how ugly it maybe.
I am not suggesting one should vote for every single Democrat in every single race, nor am I suggesting the Democratic National Convention has a monopoly on right answers. I only hope as our generation steps into the voting booth we remember the words of Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”
Spencer Lindsay ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science.