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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

This isn’t your high school election season

The term “”buying votes”” has taken on a new definition. Recent news has broken in Ohio that a McDonald’s branch has been distributing campaign materials to its employees along with paychecks. The pamphlets that come with checks sealed in envelopes insinuate who the McDonald’s branch supports politically and further explains that wages and raises will continue if those persons are elected. The pamphlet then states that if others are elected, wages, raises and benefits will not be able to be guaranteed. In other words, the McDonalds management is threatening to lower wages and eliminate raises if the proper candidates are not elected.

Additionally, a court decision in Connecticut will allow supporters of Senatorial candidate and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment Linda McMahon to distribute WWE merchandise at polling locations to those who vote for her. Usually, campaign materials and/or advertising are not allowed within an established radius around the polling place. WWE will hand out gear roughly 75 feet from the polling location’s door. Then come the Tea Party activists, who have already made clear they will be attempting to talk to voters at polling places across the country in an effort to gather support for their candidates.

This new way of buying votes turns government elections into regular old high school senate races. What was once mostly about electing the best candidate, has now been turned into, “”Which candidate am I going to get the best individual gain from?”” It’s one thing to vote for a candidate whose policies benefit you personally, and an entirely different matter when somebody other than the candidate is going to inflict the good or bad outcomes upon you. It’s perfectly sensible to vote against a candidate who doesn’t protect your interests, but it’s a horse of a different color to vote for a candidate so that your boss won’t directly cut your pay based on election results.

What is truly disgruntling about this whole matter is that the everyday Americans are the ones who are playing dirty politics.  

Countless Americans prefer to stay as far away from politics as possible because they feel the whole system is corrupt. Skeptics don’t have faith in the process of elections, and some conspiracy theorists think it’s all a sham anyway. All the scenarios of dirty politics tend to point back to the politicians themselves, but with these recent developments it’s clear that the American voters are just as “”corrupt”” as the politicians who support them. Americans are often apathetic and untrusting of government, yet now we’re all to blame for what happens. We tolerate radicals who heckle supporters at polling places, we choose candidates like New Jersey congressional hopeful and former NFL player Jon Runyan, who can run a trap block in football better than he can recite the Constitution, and some of us would blindly vote for who we’re told to by our boss lest we lose a pretty penny.  

So when you’re at the polls tomorrow, make sure you did your research first. Don’t vote for the candidate with a flashy smile who winks and points at you; don’t vote for the proposition that all your friends told you to vote for; and certainly don’t vote for whichever candidate has a cooler sounding name or gave you a free T-shirt. Stop looking outward for answers and start looking within. Find out who truly represents your interests and pick them, even if you know there’s an outside shot that they might not win. When all the political mudslinging stops and the air clears, you will know that you voted on principle and not popularity. You’ll know that you weren’t hassled or heckled into a decision, but rather that you sought out the answers and found them for yourself.

— Storm Byrd is a political science sophomore. He is also a student organizer for UA Votes, which is run by Arizona Students’ Association. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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