Campus Ideologies: Three student parties take on voting & elections

Rowan's Political parties' logos. - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon.

Rowan Progressives

We live in very turbulent times. As we speak, over a million people are stranded with minimal access to food and water in Gaza, gang violence and starvation have overtaken Haiti, and the crisis at the Mexican border has only intensified. All occurred under the so-called “most progressive President since FDR”. Concurrently, the Republican Party’s platform for the upcoming election, Project 2025, is threatening to upend and overturn the few progressive reforms achieved under the Biden Administration. Creating a situation in which working-class Americans will be forced to choose between a center-right candidate and a far-right candidate.

With that in mind, it is clear that questions regarding the “integrity of our elections” have become more relevant by the day. 

Since 2020, but really for far longer, the Republican Party and its supporters have been consistently complaining about the validity of the American electoral system. Even when they won back in 2016 due to the Electoral College, former President Donald Trump complained that the three million more votes that Hillary Clinton received were all illegal immigrants and other illegal voters (before he ran for president he also called the elections rigged in 2012). In recent memory, the most famous example of course remains the January 6th Insurrection where fascist and reactionary elements attempted a putsch to derail the election. However, going by the legal framework of our nation, none of our modern elections have been stolen and they remain “secure.”

In reality, our elections are stolen and insecure, but not in the direct way most imagine, dumping “illegal ballots” into polling stations and the like. Instead, our elections are stolen by a broad coalition of the Republican and Democratic party elite and their corporate backers from us, the working class. The media, 90% of which is controlled by just six companies, focuses on the big two parties’ chosen candidates each election cycle and does its best to ignore any possible competition. The media platforms politicians based on the worth of their dollar, not their word. A host of other factors lead to our elections going in the direction of the rich’s benefit. Election Day isn’t a federal holiday which means poorer people literally can’t afford to vote as they need to stay at work. We have an electoral college that completely supersedes the popular vote for the sole reason that the founding fathers hated poor people. People of color, especially Black Americans, who have been only able to vote in large numbers since the “end” of Jim Crow, remain threatened by laws restricting their ability to vote. 

The long-term solution to all these problems is a new constitution, one that leaves behind the racist past and creates an America for all. However, that is a long-term solution, and in the short term, other methods can try and break up the two-party dictatorship we currently have. Ranked choice voting is something that can be established across the country so that people don’t have to settle for who they think can win, but on who they prefer. Removal of corporate money in elections, equal access to media from all candidates instead of just rich ones, making election day a federal holiday, and the abolishment of the electoral college are just a few of the necessary actions that we need to take so our country can at least resemble a democracy. Reversing the trend in southern states of a return to Jim Crow in regards to voting is also necessary, cracking down on racist gerrymandering and ensuring that the Black population is represented in our government. 

Rowan Democrats

Today, public trust in the American Government is at a historic low with Pew Research Center reporting that only 16% of Americans believe the government does what is right most/all of the time. Why has the American public drastically lost trust in the government that represents them? The Electoral College finds itself at the forefront of this question and continues to jeopardize the legitimacy of the electoral process in the United States. Americans feel like they have been abandoned by their leaders and it has followed that the trust in governance has deteriorated. The failures of all three pillars of democracy in the United States have forced the American public to remind those in power who they work for and were elected to serve. The government is elected by the people and for the people. 

When the founders of this great nation wrote the famous words “We The People of the United States of America” in the Constitution, they were encompassing American families, men, women, children, those who had everything, and those who had nothing. Today, we have fatally altered the vision of the founders with oppressive corporations flooding the systems of government with their endless pockets and political workarounds that abuse the Constitution for personal gain. The American people are being treated in terms of economic gains or losses and not as the rational, humane, individuals they are and were born to be. The future of this country must restore the trust of the American people because trust is the sole foundation of democracy and serves as a prerequisite to obtaining any form of a prosperous nation. Americans ought to trust that their voice is heard and to achieve that, their votes in the democratic process must matter. 

However, a wall has been built between the American people and the government that serves them. This wall is the Electoral College, a system that diminishes the worth of such a quality of representative democracy, the people’s vote. We as a nation have outgrown the flawed institution of the Electoral College as it merely serves to solidify the polarizing two-party political system and rejects the concept of moderation which the majority of Americans yearn for. What was once effective has turned into a political weapon and strategy contest. The will of the people is fatally not represented in our governance today. Even Republican Donald Trump supports the usage of the popular vote in determining the outcomes of elections stating, “I would rather see it where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes and somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win” after the 2016 Presidential Election. 

In conclusion, the erosion of public trust in the American government underscores a critical need for reform. The Electoral College stands as a symbol of this disconnect, obstructing the will of the people and perpetuating a system that prioritizes political gamesmanship over true representation. As echoed by voices across the political spectrum, including former President Donald Trump, there is a growing consensus that the Electoral College is outdated and fails to reflect the values of a modern democracy. To restore faith in governance and ensure that every voice counts, it is imperative to reevaluate our electoral processes. Embracing a more direct and inclusive approach, such as a popular vote system, would align with the fundamental principles of democracy and reaffirm the belief that government exists to serve the people. Only through meaningful reform can we bridge the gap between citizens and their representatives, fostering a stronger, more equitable democracy for generations to come.

Rowan Republicans

Regrettably, Rowan Republicans failed to respond promptly and have not been included in this week’s political discussion.

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