Picking parties: The importance of choosing a candidate over a party



After only 58.1% of eligible voters cast a vote in the 2016 election, the push for voting for who you believe in most has been more than ever before.

Lily Barrett, Student Life Editor

This election year has been the most unexpected year one could have possibly imagined. The pandemic struck the United States upside down, and now there is a Supreme Court seat up for grabs weeks before the election.

Both Democrats and Republicans have a tendency to bash each other. Having different core values and beliefs is understandable, but acting professionally should be a basic requirement. Political posts on social media have created tension between users. The polarization of politics nowadays has fueled a fire that has only divided the country. Political advertisements that spread lies about either candidate only make the problem worse.

Lawyer Martha Shaff shared her perspective on the party versus the candidate, “Many political ads categorize candidates as very left or very right,” she said. “That is not always true. The Republican party as I grew up in is not the same party today. The platform that they currently embrace is different. To vote strictly by party is endorsing the platform only and not looking at the views of the candidate.”

“I think it is important to look at the individual candidate because each one must associate with a party but their views may be more moderate or in line with the issues that are important to me,” she continued. “Also, I believe that character is important no matter which party you support.” Choosing to ignore the individual values a candidate holds by strictly voting for a party further divides congress and the country.

Fact checking and doing your own research on candidates is beneficial. News outlets are often one-sided and only publish the information a certain political party wants to hear. Not being sure on what is true and what is false can be stressful on anyone that is going to cast a vote this year.

For first time voters like senior Jacob Claussen, this has been a stressful time as well. “Every vote matters and [a political divide] should not change people’s views on voting,” he stated.

Furthermore, having your own political beliefs can be difficult, especially when it comes to communicating in friendships and relationships. Everyone is subject to believing what they want, and in no way should it ever be a reason to ruin a relationship, but the political divide in our country has become so strong that it is capable of tearing people apart.

The democracy in our country was never meant to cause a divide. “Democracy is based upon a party system,” Shaff emphasized. “Many people seem to have forgotten their civics lessons from high school about how the three branches work.

“The two parties learning to work together is essential to the survival of democracy.”

Your voice matters this November; vote for the candidate that represents your needs best, not a party.