Alvarado: The Case for Diversity in Politics

By Andrea Alvarado

The United States is the oldest democracy in history. Unfortunately, the country also has one of the lowest voter turnouts amongst developed democracies in the world. It seems that Americans are discouraged and disinterested in the candidates themselves when it comes to politics and more involved in the wild conspiracies that surround the candidates. The problem is that with every election, it seems as if many of these candidates are recycled versions of those from previous terms. Today, politicians do not spark the interest of the American public unless they’re involved in a salacious scandal or smear campaign. Even then, Americans aren’t motivated to vote.

The main reason why Trump was elected is that he looked like a “never before seen” type of candidate. Perhaps now, it’s been revealed that the only out-of-the-ordinary characteristic about him is his complete lack of understanding about governments and foreign policy. Nevertheless, during Trump’s campaign, and even two years into his term, his reality TV persona continues to feed into the American population’s craving for change. Newness has been a frequent theme in the past couple elections, with Obama being marketed as an embodiment of a new political demographic being represented in higher government.

However, it appears as though both the Republican and Democratic parties haven’t learned from either of these presidential victories. Rather than encouraging diversity in their candidates, the parties continue to support individuals that the public has seen and voted for countless times. Both perpetuate the image of “The Washington Establishment” as the puppeteers of politics. Most of their candidates adhere to the “white middle to upper-class male” prototype, like Donald Trump, who only regurgitate their party’s preferred platform.

As apparent to everyone but those in these political parties, the American public is demanding change. There is undeniable proof: the public’s overwhelming support of the candidates that break the mold. This was evident in the victories of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over 10th-term Joseph Crowley and other ongoing midterm campaigns that may overthrow established politicians. Women, people of color and working-class Americans deserve to have true representation in government. Those who are in power remain extremely privileged and predominantly male. They aren’t capable of understanding the struggles that most Americans experience, especially when it comes to economic hardships. Therefore, they don’t suffer the consequences of their policies.

Beyond party lines, our politicians need to reflect the majority’s wants rather than protect the wealthy and privileged. A democracy is meant to represent the interests of the people rather than to protect the establishment itself. This November is an imperative time for the American public to vote for a change. It’s clear that the people who have served in the same positions for term after term on both sides of the aisle aren’t able to make the right decisions for an ever-shifting population. The United States is a democracy. Power should not be confined to select players if we want a fair game.

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