Voting involves more than voting for president

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Some voters think that voting is only important during the presidential election, and it is only during that election that they exercise their right to vote. What so many of these voters don’t realize or fail to understand is that while the position of president  of the United States of America is important, the president’s effectiveness is dependent on the various  legislative bodies throughout the country. They are elected to represent their constituents.

Common sense dictates that legislative bodies dominated by a particular political party can control and hinder political issues or policies acting as a partisan block. Majority political parties control legislative positions, whether in state houses or senates. They have the power to impede or negate the agenda of an elected president. Even officials elected on a local level (city or state) have the power to support or reject the political stances of their respective political party, be it Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc.

Political parties often differ in the policies and position on many important issues involving the public. Only when bipartisan support is made possible is a mutual compromise enacted, benefiting the American public. The problem is that sometimes what is in the best interests of the majority of the American people is lost because a political party adamantly refuses to do what is inherently right.

So as it stands now, it is important to have the political party of the president in the controlling position of both legislative bodies—the House of Representatives and the Senate. This is important   because bipartisan support is necessary for enactment on most major issues. But this has become rare or almost none existent in the present administration. Too many times, the American  people lose out when politicians vote along party lines and ignore their moral compass—what they know is undeniably right.

Unfortunately, politicians adamantly voting along party lines are often guilty of not weighing issues on their own merits. There are not enough elected officials with the courage and conviction to go against their party and vote their conscience when their party’s stance on a position is in opposition to their moral beliefs.

When a president is elected, it is on the platform promoted during the campaign. But this can be derailed or prevented due to the lack of bipartisan support. The president needs support from Congress to get his agenda passed, but if Congress (especially the Senate) is controlled by an opposing, vindictive group—the president becomes a ‘lame duck president.’

It should be noted that support for the president’s agenda also comes from legislators and elected officials across the country. Governors, mayors, and even judges can be very influential in supporting or carrying out the agenda of a president. It is even better if they belong to the same political party of the president. That is why it is highly beneficial to have as many elected officials as possible in positions representing your political party.

Some people fail to see that elected officials on a local and state level decide on most of the laws and policies affecting their lives. Overlooking or trivializing the importance of local and state elections puts voters in a vulnerable position to truly have a say-so on the most important issues affecting their daily lives. Voters’ empowerment starts at home. They are doing themselves a grave injustice by not utilizing their voting rights in their respective towns, cities, and states. Presidential elections are important, but local and state elections can be equally as important. Always exercise your right to vote when possible.