Opinion: Start engaging in local politics

Maddie Newingham

Madison Newingham

It is no secret we keep up with state politics less than federal politics, though our representatives deal with and campaign on the more kitchen-table issues.

Democrats seem to forget that elections happen every single year, so our low turnout bodes well for the other side.

We have a different social identity and are the future leaders. Not to be cliche, but to be cliche: We must be the change we want to see.

To attain any sense of justice for the groups by which we identify, we really have to care about socioeconomic justice for all of us.

I do not even mean that from a liberal lens; if libertarians feel the best definition of justice is theirs, then we need to hear their voice and bring them into the fold. We have to do more, especially as college students.

We are the only country with abhorrent voting rates, so we have to reach everyone with a stake in the issues. We have to actually talk about the everyday kitchen-table issues in addition to our social issues to convince people politics is their problem.

To hone in on the state, and with regard to the governorship, Gov. John Kasich is now what I consider a “normal” Republican (you know, the kind that has a conscience and believes what they are doing is for the good of the people). However, Democrats have a lot of cleaning up to do if we can get it together this election cycle.

First, in the past 30 years, we have barely touched the governorship. This is partly our own fault. We have been so focused on the presidency and federal races while Republicans redraw their strategy to start local and build up.

Yes, I mean local. They start with school board and city council and breed their politicians into Scott Walkers. (For better or worse, he has the resume.)

This is why our state is represented the way it is. Democrats have run weak local campaigns at the expense of Ohio, and look where that’s gotten us.

We have fallen from fifth to 28th in the nation for education because Republicans ran it as a business and not as a mode to educate for the sake of education.

Second, and most importantly, so many of our issues exist because we do not have an equal voice at the table. Our state is one of the worst gerrymandered states in the country because Republicans have drawn the lines for political gain, not for population.

I am not arguing for Democrats to do the same. In fact, we should absolutely stay away from morally corrupt tactics. With a competitive Democratic governor, we can expect to see the lines redrawn to reflect bipartisan, fair districts, rather than what we are seeing right now.

It is important to care about who we nominate because we need to ensure we can solve unfair districts to actually have a voice to talk about gender, racial and economic justice with actual power to affect change.

Madison Newingham is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected].