By Kirsten Hernandez, Editor
Last November, diversity was the true winner in the 2018 Midterm Elections. The country saw the largest amount of seats won by women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. As the results rolled in, that Democrats would once again take the House, left-leaning people flooded social media with messages of pride about the newfound representation. For the first time in American history, the legislative branch of the federal government was beginning to look more like the country that it writes its laws for.
With the Republican Party’s ostracization of minority groups, many fiscally conservative Americans have been turned off from supporting their politics. Those politicians who hold more conservative beliefs in addition to being a member of a minority group are forced to choose a life in politics under a liberal banner. These two factors combined have contributed to the widespread belief that being in a marginalized group automatically equates to being far-left. While many politicians acknowledge and play into this belief to get votes, it’s important for voters to investigate further.
For the first time in American history, the legislative branch of the federal government was beginning to look more like the country that it writes its laws for.
A prime example of this is Long Beach’s mayor, Robert Garcia. Garcia, in his last several mayoral campaigns, has marketed himself as a staunch progressive who, as a gay Latino immigrant, stands up for the rights of those caught in the margins of society. What he didn’t mention in his campaign speeches is that in his college years at CSULB, he founded and presided over the school’s chapter of Young Republicans and worked as a campaign liaison for the George W. Bush reelection campaign. While politicians can and have genuinely changed their political beliefs over time, Garcia’s “economic development” campaign, which has lead to widespread gentrification in communities dominantly lived in by people of color, proves that social progressivism doesn’t always spill into fiscal.
The more right-leaning dabblings of seemingly progressive politicians don’t stop with the mayor. Kyrsten Sinema, the first openly bisexual in the United States Senate, had recently won favor in progressive communities by opting to be sworn into term with a law book rather than the Bible. At the same time though, as a congresswoman, her political record shows she openly disavowed Net Neutrality and was a member of the conservative democrat coalition known as the Blue Dogs. While the coalition has fallen into a less prominent position since its founding in 1995, members of the coalition often have beliefs unpopular to the typical democrat, including those with pro-life leanings to those who oppose healthcare for all.
Kamala Harris, one of California’s two senators and a presidential hopeful in 2020, has been criticized for her record of working in favor of mass incarceration as a prosecutor. Her time as California’s attorney general is seen as the most controversial time in the eyes of her opponents. During this time period, activists state that she supported the state’s death penalty, blocked a transgender prison inmate’s reassignment surgery and resisted attempts to investigate police officer killings.
...voting for the candidate who most represents your beliefs and values should take precedence.
Having members of the government that look like you, struggle like you and love the same way you do is something to strive for. The fact that the American electorate is beginning to use their votes to show a value in diversity should be a source of pride. At the same time, however, voting for the candidate who most represents your beliefs and values should take precedence. In no way should it be inferred that these things automatically disqualify candidates from a vote, a vote should be considered a voice. Just like a regular voice, it should be used to express what you believe.