Five Things That Make The 2016 Election Cycle Important
This election this year is different. Not because of the flamboyant pageantry used to portray debates or rallies, not due to the demagoguery so strongly displayed on the right or the exploitation of the system of the left. No, not even the candidates themselves, a billionaire reality show host turned politician and a Washington insider who has been in the White House once already, but looking for another chance.
Every election cycle boasts that they are the most important in a lifetime, a generation or even ever for the sake activating voters or emboldening a campaign. However, this year’s election may actually be true to those statements.
1. There is no incumbent. Even the most basic principle, guaranteeing a new president and vice president, has dramatic effects on the election. The vice president plays an important role in this special election, being the tie-breaking role in the Senate, should the vote be evenly split. Most consider the Senate a toss-up, a 54-46 split in favor of the GOP, with several Republican seats up for reelection. It isn’t unthinkable that within the next four years the split could be 50-50.
2. The importance the VP plays in Senate votes is only amplified by the choices they are faced with in the near future. Since the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, there has been an open seat in the Supreme Court. The confirmation of a justice to that seat lies in the hands of, you guessed it, the Senate. Although only one seat is currently open and in need of a nomination and confirmation, it isn’t unlikely to see one or even two seats up for a nomination within this presidency. The average age of death for a Supreme Court Justice is 78 years old, two of which are above that mark. Currently, the court is split, 4-4, making the confirmation all the more important. A split Senate with a President, who nominates the justice, and a VP, who is responsible when a tie is apparent gives more power to the executive branch than meets the eye. It could hold the fate of the Supreme Court for the next 20 years.
3. Most of President Obama’s second-term achievements were attained through executive actions, in turn meaning they can be undone just as simply. The deal with Iran. The normalization of relations with Cuba. Actions for gun safety. Minimum wage. To a same party presidency, most policies enacted under the Obama Administration would become fortified. However, a Republican presidency would spell out the undoing of universal healthcare and gun control, almost immediately, followed by the rest.
4. Democrats lost over 900 state legislative seats under the Obama Administration, giving Republicans the freedom to exercise control of 25 state governments, the most since 1952. Post-election, the executive branch will have the ability to authorize the right-wing lawmakers or act as a fortification against their actions.
5. Recent studies on climate change have led to bold actions, including those by the Obama Administration. His EPA regulations on carbon along with the agreement made with China to reduce emissions are vital to the legacy he will leave at the end of the presidency. Most clean energy investments aren’t able to be undone as easily as a change in leadership in the White House, but some are at risk if a Trump-Pence presidency were to occur. Agreements and memberships with other countries to reduce carbon their carbon footprints and working towards a more environmentally friendly world.
Whether you’ve already decided where your vote is going or still have no idea which evil to choose between like most Americans, these factors are monumental. They play the biggest roles in a Republican or Democrat presidency, making their policy outlooks rather menial. The biggest issues this election cycle that we, as American citizens, should focus on is the ability to choose. Get out and vote.