Democratic primary important to future


Claire Borgelt, Columnist

As the South Carolina debate stage blazed with a chaotic collision of ideas and  emboldened attempts to gain support, most of the country could only stare at their televisions in shock. As candidates disregarded time limits, flung blatant attacks at each other, and tried desperately to appeal to potential voters, even the moderators began to drown in the cacophony. 

The February 25th debate serves as the quintessential illustration of the division that plagues today’s Democratic party – the fervent intersection of passionate ideology that has become commonplace in this era’s political climate. Perhaps this intensity is what’s required; after the Senate acquitted President Trump on both impeachment articles last month, the 2020 election became the Democrats’ only chance at defeating the man who has become their foremost adversary. Now more than ever, energy and dynamism are vital qualities for any candidate. In an attempt to display these essential attributes, the politicians hoping to represent their party have turned towards interruptions and shouting rather than mature debate. 

This polarized, often hostile environment is what our nation is faced with. This is what many young citizens must consider as they exercise their right to vote for the first time, and what older generations must look towards when they imagine their childrens’ futures. It can be terrifying and confusing, and if one is confronted by it for long enough, it can be numbing. Perhaps that numbness – that desensitization to the fractured state of our government – is the most dangerous. When staying informed becomes too daunting, it becomes tempting to ignore politics altogether and refuse to adopt an opinion on any matter. Sitting in front of the television, dazed by constant conflict has become all too easy. The thick screen of glass and the bold text framing each step towards the future makes everything feel unreal; a certain degree of distance becomes necessary to cope with a dire reality. However, we cannot reduce ourselves to a state of inefficacy. Each person must instead exercise their right to vote, or at least stay informed in order to become the responsible inheritants of this nation. 

As of March 5th, two days after Super Tuesday, The number of Democratic candidates has dwindled significantly. Tom Steyers, Democratic donor and activist, was the first to step out. He was followed by South Bend mayor Pete Buttigeig and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, dropped out on the 4th, along with Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren one day later. This leaves former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders as the only remaining options. The most recent polls show Sanders at 29% and Biden at 17%. Biden has more delegates than his opponent, with a total of 610 eclipsing Sanders’s 541, but he takes second place in weekly news coverage. Though his campaign has drummed up tremendous levels of enthusiasm from a growing number of supporters, prominent members of the party have voiced concerns that Sanders’s far-left ideology will turn away essential moderate voters and greatly diminish any chance at defeating Donald Trump. His supporters argue that his radical approach is exactly what is required to truly improve the state of the country. The inordinate degree of difference between the two remaining candidates speaks to the troubling state of division in today’s Democratic party. 

Whenever this level of tension is reached, it is indicative of a major turning point in our nation’s history. Now is the time for every member of this society to either exercise their right to vote or become informed on the state of the country they call home. No matter what party one aligns themself with – no matter what opposition they may face or what circumstances they come from – the current situation demands involvement. 

This is a call to action, not only to the students of Waunakee High School, but to every one of the young members of this nation who will one day inherit the entirety of its flaws and successes. This is a call to those who have already come to understand the importance of informedness, and to anyone who wants to understand, but is afraid to take the first steps towards voicing their own beliefs. Most of all, though, this is a call to anyone who would turn a blind eye when their attention is most essential. If you have thrown off your responsibility as a future participant in the democratic process – if you have claimed to hate the “depressing” of “confusing” nature of politics, you have neglected your country in its most desperate hour. In order to responsibly inherit the future, we must begin educating ourselves now.