Vote best for job, not just by party affiliation

Sam Peterson, Staff writer

I supported John Persinger in the local elections. He was young, energetic and practically oozed a passion for his ideas.

What truly won me over to his side was a debate between him and his opponent — and the mayor-elect — Joe Schember? When asked about a specific school district grant the current mayor didn’t apply for, Persinger made an excited speech about how we need to invest in our children to restore Erie. Schember just replied with a statement along the lines of, “whatever the current mayor is doing.”

This election outcome is dismal, because Erie would’ve really benefited with a change in leadership.

The city hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1961, which is strongly influenced by a nearly 3 to 1 Democratic voter registration edge. This ensures that any Republican candidate would be fighting an uphill battle in every situation.

Schember’s predictable victory raises a prominent issue in modern politics.

People don’t care about what the candidate says, the only thing that matters is the letter next to their name. If you expand this voting epidemic to the national level, you’ll find no shortage of examples.

For instance, take Trump’s “locker room talk” on the campaign trail, and the recent disturbing Roy Moore sexual allegations. This stirs anger in the minds of voters, and that could lead to people voting straight Democrat on the ticket in future elections.

The vast majority of these scandals are repulsive, but that shouldn’t invalidate the entire party’s ideals, even if some individuals have seemingly forgotten them. There are members of the party that still believe in these values, and they should not be silenced.

If you actively research, support and think about candidates, it’s a different scenario.

But, voting straight Democrat or Republican for no reason besides party politics is a recipe to create active hate towards one another.

Hate is becoming more prevalent by party members, with a middle ground slipping farther and farther away, and extreme ideologies that completely exclude either side beginning to form.

The solution to these pressing issues is shockingly simple. It’s empathy. Republicans cannot assume liberals are all clueless hippies, and Democrats must accept that not all Republicans are racist Nazis. If we vote with empathy for the deserving candidates, there may be a middle in politics again.

Government will function as intended, and both parties will benefit as one society. But right now, only a new Stalin with the Democratic nomination would have a shot against Trump.

This would only cement extreme ideologies, and because of that, Trump wins again in 2020.