The Democratic Party Needs To Become More Liberal

The Democratic Party Needs To Become More Liberal

Have you been happy the Democratic Party's choices?

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We've all heard it: if only Sanders was the nominee we wouldn't have President Trump. This could be true, but looking at this one scenario isn't too helpful. Instead, we need to take a look at the Democratic Party as a whole.

The party is only going more and more left, with Sanders being an excellent example, and that looks to be a good thing for the party. For one thing politicians, even Democrats seem to overestimate how conservative their constituents are. Also, this has increased the number of people running, and with opposing Trump a lot of people are getting into politics.

But the Democratic establishment does not seem to be on board. The biggest example being that "prominent Democratic House members and DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee]officials making their preferences clear early on in a race, telling outsider and often more progressive candidates to run for lower office or wait for another cycle."

But this approach is all wrong, especially if districts are more left than we imagine them to be. By backing the more moderate choice the DCCC, and the Democratic Party has decided to alienate liberals. Also as the Republican party only goes farther and farther right, if the Democrats seek to find the middle, they will end up further right as well.

One example is how the Democrat's lack of support for unions has come to hurt them. Right-to-work laws being one of the biggest drains on unions, it is startling to note that they have"decreased Democratic presidential vote share by 3.5 percent." The New York Magazine also notes that "The effect of right-to-work laws, according to this research, are large enough that it could have easily cost Hillary Clinton Wisconsin and Michigan—two states that went right-to-work before the 2016 elections."

Also given how unions have played an important role in funding the Democratic Party it is surprising to see the Democrats letting them fall apart.

What needs to happen is a more grass-roots level approach to the Democratic Party. Right now, in the time of "Resist Trump," the energy is here, and the DCCC is only shooting itself in the foot by meddling in elections on the other side of the country.

The Democratic Party is doing no favors by seeking to be centrist, especially when so many voters have their minds made up about certain issues. For instance, essentially all Democrats are pro-choice, and so they have already lost anyone who is pro-life. So instead of trying to win over an economic conservative, who will never vote Democrat because of their pro-life stance, the Democratic Party should be investing in people who it's base are excited to vote for.

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Photo by Mirah Curzer on Unsplash

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Just Because You Can Throw A Ball Does Not Mean Your Rape Is Admissible

Why are university athletes more likely to commit sexual assault?

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I wish rape didn't seep into every sphere of my life. But, like ink, it has.

Interpersonally, my childhood friend was gang-raped by members of the University of North Texas basketball team. As uncovered in an investigation, her circumstances were not isolated, unlike what it says in UNT's initial statement. I am proud to know my friend. I am proud to stand with her. However, I am ashamed at the situation and the commonness of her suffering among students just like me, on college campuses.

Politically, Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, promotes new fortifications for students accused of sexual assault. Basically, the rules would reduce the legal classification of harassment while offering protections for those accused of wrongdoing. In my emotions, I firmly believe in the American ideal of being "innocent until proven guilty". However, even in a crime so entrenched in emotions, I must look at facts. Facts say that the falsification rate of rape is the same as most other crimes, somewhere around 5%. Therefore, I believe that DeVos' proposal would tilt investigations in favor of the committer and significantly lessen the number of victims who would have the assurance to come forward and tell his/her story. In a campus-setting, where 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted, her "solution" adds gasoline to a country-wide fire.

Educationally, Brock Turner, a swimmer at Stanford University received just six months in county jail after being found guilty of five felonies, all of which amount to him raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. In defense of the light sentence, the judge said, "the more time (Turner spends) in jail, the more severe impact" on his future, who wanted to go to the Olympics. Never mind the future of the victim.

First off, rape culture, a sociological concept in which sexual assault is pervasive and normalized, exists. And while it exists everywhere, I can only speak with any authority on the campus setting, where hook-up culture is both catalyzed and camouflaged. Here, the area that needs the most treatment is in the locker room, on the court, or on the field.

Student athletes are proportionally the greatest perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

While a tiny 3% of male students are athletes, male student athletes are responsible for almost a fifth of sexual assaults on campus. And that is just the events that are reported, (just so you know, about 3 out of 4 go unreported). However, the NCAA has no policy that lessens a student's athletic eligibility in the face of sexually violent behavioral patterns. If you have allowed these numbers to simmer in your mind, you can see that this is unacceptable.

Why are university athletes more likely to commit sexual assault?

Most experts make cultural and institutional arguments.

Culturally, student athletes are not seen as "normal" students – rather, they provide a service to the college. Where most students get something from the college, student athletes give to the college, and we should be so lucky to have them grace us with their presence. It is a part of the status quo: high-status students on campus are athletes, especially males who play the most popular sports, like football, basketball, or baseball. These students carry social privilege.

Obviously, athletes are not naturally ethically worse than other students. I am simply saying that absolutely no one is immune to the culture that surrounds him/her, and we have a weird culture.

On average, athletes are more likely than other students on campus to buy into the cross-cultural concept of robust masculinity, which, in extreme cases, can lead to increased sexual aggression. Don't just take it from a non-athlete like me. Even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, an NBA champion and a former UCLA basketball player, declared the cultural privilege from which he benefited.

"I'm especially aware of the culture of entitlement that athletes feel... they strut around campus with the belief that they can do no wrong."

I am not going to sugarcoat the point that we all know well: football players are comparable to celebrities on campus, which has dangerous implications for a certain untouchability in mindsets.

Institutionally, colleges are as inclined to protect the perpetrator over non-athletic peers. A Senate report concluded that administrators tend to do three actions to protect their athletes, and therefore, their brand.

1. Higher-ups at the school discourage victims from reporting to police outside of the university. In this method, they let the campus police "handle it" and not report to less-biased city forces.

2. Admins downplay an assault's severity, making it less 'criminal', more unintentional and of an event to "move on from".

3. The athletic department can work with the administration and strategically delay proceedings while athletes finish their season.

If these three things are not enough as far as systemic ethical transgressions go, when athletes are found responsible for sexual assault, they may face small consequences.

Just to pull an infamous example from my home state of Texas, Baylor University continues to wrestle with how to deal with battery; I don't need to go over the sheer amount of claims that they were conscious and compliant to most allegations of assault involving their student-athletes.

So, not only is our mindset messed up, but the administration who is supposed to protect us is similarly bungled.

Obviously, athletes are not bad people, only people that are subject to their environment and protected by their talent. But crime is crime. The unnamed victim of Brock Turner said it well as she argued that being "an athlete at a university should not be an entitlement to leniency, but an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law" no matter your status.

Throwing a ball does not make someone above the rules.

Yes, I realize that my words have become trite. Scary articles, documentaries, and books about the sheer magnitude of sexual crime in college abound. But I see my seemingly-repetitive diction more as a reflection of our fallen collegiate system, rather than of myself.

With my article, I only ask that you keep fighting for victims like my childhood friend, for the classmate who sits next to you in lecture, for yourself. This institutional and social discrepancy of "athletics above all else" happens at more universities than I had the breath to mention.

Your first step is taking a searing examination at the failure of American universities to grapple successfully with campus rape in the systematic pattern of protecting student athletes more than other students. The next steps follow naturally. Take part in the activism at your school, encourage survivors, and productively confront the problem. Fear not, the policies will change with your effort.

Politics aside, we are in a time for you to continue speaking the truth, even if your voice trembles.

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President Trump’s Wall Is Not A Solution, It Causes More Harm Than You Think

After the second government shutdown since Donald Trump's inauguration, immigrants and opponents of the wall are not the only ones suffering.

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At this time of writing this, the government has been shut down for 19 days. Friday will be the first day that workers in one of the affected organizations will not receive a paycheck. Children on free lunch programs will have gone without this service for 19 days. Families on food stamps are unable to receive one of the most necessary and basic human rights. This is not an emotional tangent, but rather a reasonable suggestion to our government to do their jobs. Both political sides can be seen at fault, as a negotiation usually occurs between dissenting opinions. However, compromises are made through understanding and reasoning.

However, while our government converses about their views on the proposed wall, I will offer mine. With a price tag of $5 billion to construct, this is not a cheap and short-term project. Building this "border" will take money out of every American's pocket; our government simply does not have $5 billion in a savings account. Funding may occur in the form of taxes, which is already a system that has been reformed and looked over time and time again. If the administration follows through with their prior statements, then funding may also come from the budgets of other existing agencies. Additionally, since President Trump is a man of maximalism, the construction of a wall will impede on residential lives for those who live along the southern border. This affects major cities and towns such as San Diego, El Paso, and San Luis.

In a capitalist country where money and finances are a concern, there are many agencies that would thrive if they could obtain a fraction of this billion dollar proposal.

Schools need funding. The criminal justice system and public defenders need funding. Women's health services, like Planned Parenthood, need funding (Planned Parenthood has stated that government money does not get used in abortion services). Did you know that Planned Parenthood only receives $500 million for their annual budget, which is 1/10th of the wall's budget? With a fraction of this budget, you could fund a project to provide clean and safe drinking water across the world. The governmental funding for the Environmental Protection Agency has been halved, and it is now less than the budget for this wall. Humanitarian services need funding. We could help the homeless and build walls… four walls for a shelter, that is. Remember Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria? There are still people without power- our government is responsible and needs money to aid these citizens.

I understand that people want stricter security and immigration services. A wall is not a solution. Airplanes exist- people can fly over the wall. Boats exist- traveling to America via water occurs. Building a power symbol cannot solve a "national emergency," as Donald Trump believes; the national emergency lies in the suffering Americans who will be impacted by the attempts to get this wall built.

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