Home Opinion OPINION: Democrats Discuss — The politics of gender and race

OPINION: Democrats Discuss — The politics of gender and race

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Carrie Love is a freshman studying women, gender and sexuality studies and history with a minor in theater. She is a member of the Ohio University College Democrats. The following article reflects the opinion and views of the author and does not present the thoughts of the Ohio University College Democrats.

This is a submitted column, and please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

Gender and race have been at the forefront of American politics since its inception.

While white men “founded” our nation, it is upon the backs of women and people of color that it has survived approximately 250 years. This election is a fight between the historical power that white men hold, and the potential for women and people of color to lead the United States into the future. 

Let’s face it, 2016 was a bit of a mess. But it was also a fight to prove that women are capable of leading this country. 

Hillary Clinton was arguably one of the most qualified presidential candidates in American history. She has proven herself a prominent leader in American politics, even if she wasn’t a perfect candidate and many people disliked her. With Donald Trump as her rival in the 2016 election, there were three main opinions: “At least she’s not Trump,” “At least he’s not Clinton” or “Neither is good.”

It is unfortunate when we, as American citizens, are put in a position where many feel they must choose between the lesser of two evils. However, the rhetoric that leads to voters feeling they can connect to Trump is dangerous. 

Trump is a symbol for white people who feel threatened by America’s growing diversity. He is also a symbol of misogyny because he does not respect women or see them as equals. To say Trump treats anyone but Russian President Vladimir Putin with respect is a long shot.

It could be argued that four years ago, Democrats got complacent. Many reliable sources had Clinton so far ahead that it was easy to think it was an automatic win. This comfort was increased when voters witnessed Trump say inappropriate and insensitive things on the campaign trail, which made Clinton look even better in comparison. 

We all know how that turned out.

This makes the 2020 election that much more important. We have Trump and Vice President Mike Pence running as incumbents, but the Democrats have two formidable opponents running as president and vice president: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

This is an election between the status quo and the strength that a woman of color could bring to American leadership. Like Clinton, Harris is more than qualified for a position in the White House. But for many people, seeing a woman, let alone a woman of color, in the White House threatens “normalcy.”

Race and gender play a huge part in the way people vote in America. For too long this country has been led by white men. It took over 200 years to get a black man into the presidency. It is time to see more diversity in our country’s leadership. 

This election is the most important one of our generation. We have the potential to correct the damage Trump has caused the past four years. More than that, we have the ability to change the way the world sees the U.S. It is our responsibility to realize our power to shape this country into what we need it to be: a nation of equality, diversity and justice for all.

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