To My Fellow Republicans: Beware The Siren Calls of Cruz and Trump

To My Fellow Republicans: Beware The Siren Calls of Cruz and Trump

Their charming songs will leave us shipwrecked
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Hi fellow Republican. I know you are upset. You have been upset for a while now and it’s understandable. I have been too. It's concerning when the economy is not where we hoped it would be, when our national security is threatened and when many of us do not know how we will to pay for our college tuition. It's even worse when it feels like our government is not doing enough to address our problems or is making them worse. I feel the same way you do. Something needs to change.

I can understand where your support for the anti-establishment presidential candidates — Ted Cruz and Donald Trump — comes from. They are opponents of the “Washington cartel” who promise to send political earthquakes through the city if given the proper chance. On the surface this sounds enticing. If the establishment is not working for us maybe it's time to replace them with leaders who are going to drastically shake things up. But, I warn you to beware the sirens' call: listening to the songs of these outsiders will sink our party and our country.

There probably isn’t anything I can take tell you about Donald’s personality, positions or beliefs that you have not already heard. The media does a very good job of covering his consistently confounding rhetoric (one of the few things the media does well) so I am not going to discuss it. Instead, I would like to talk about Donald’s polling.

Trump has been way ahead of every other Republican in field in every national poll, and was expected to take Iowa for most of the time leading up to the caucus. He ended up coming in the second to Ted Cruz, but that does not mean Trump is down for the count. He has a very legitimate chance of winning New Hampshire and contending for the Republican nomination, which is great ... if you are a Democrat.

Donald Trump’s offensive remarks, absurd policy proposals, conspiracy theories and suffocating narcissism have turned off many voters across this country (including this one). He may poll well amongst many Republican primary voters, but he undeniably does not among the general population. According to Gallup, Trump has the highest nation-wide unfavorability rating of any candidate from the two major parties since Gallup began conducting favorability polls in 1992. 33 percent of Americans see Trump favorably and 60 percent see him unfavorably. That leaves him with a net favorability rating of -27.

The next highest unfavorability ratings belong to Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush who are at 52 percent and 45 percent respectively, and who both have a -10 net favorability rating. Needless to say, these statistics do not bode well for Republican Trump supporters who genuinely care about winning the White House. Trump has managed to piss off Hispanics, Muslims, Blacks, Jews, women and sensible folks of all stripes throughout his campaign, and I assure you that he will not be able to undo that damage enough to win a general election. In fact, unfavorability ratings tend to increase during a general election as insults and attack ads become even more prevalent. You can’t always be a winner, Donald.

Cruz's favorability rating is not as bad as Trump’s. 37 percent of Americans view Cruz negatively, but I bet that number would be much higher if you polled just the people who actually know him. Cruz is notoriously detested by, well, almost everyone he has ever worked with. Trevor Noah did a segment about how the only thing that brings Democrats and Republicans together in this age of hyper-partisanship is their mutual hatred of Cruz.

Some claim that the reason Cruz is loathed is because he is a principled conservative who challenges malleable Political elites. However, a conversation with Ted Cruz’s college roommate dispels that myth. Craig Mazin, who lived with Cruz at Princeton, had to say about his former roommate: “And, you know, I want to be clear, because Ted Cruz is a nightmare of a human being. I have plenty of problems with his politics, but truthfully his personality is so awful that 99 percent of why I hate him is just his personality. If he agreed with me on every issue, I would hate him only one percent less.”

One might say okay, Ted Cruz is not the most likable guy, but that does not mean he would not be an effective president. Well, that depends on why he is so unlikable. In 2013 at Cruz’s urging, Tea Party Republicans in the House put a provision repealing the Affordable Care Act into the following year’s spending bill. Everyone knew the bill did not stand a chance of becoming law with the repeal provision in it, but Cruz insisted that it should be put in there anyway. The result was a 16 day government shutdown which took a $24 million bite out of the economy, and caused federal employees to be furloughed for a combined total of 6.6 million days, more than in any previous government shutdown. At its peak, about 850,000 individuals per day were furloughed. The GOP was dealt a huge PR blow blow because of the shutdown; Cruz, however, emerged from it more popular among his base of Tea Party voters.

Cruz put himself not only above the party, but above the country. He may say that he is dedicated to conservatism, but the “ism” that Cruz is most committed to is opportunism. That is why people hate him. There are many more examples of Cruz's blatant, self-centered ambitiousness just a Google search away if you want to look them. I do not have time to link them all (I would like to to be done with this article before the primaries end) but, believe me, they are out there.

So, I understand why you are angry at the establishment. You are right to be. We need change in our government, but we should not fall for the charms of outsiders just because they are outsiders. We need to support leaders who (not only can win but) are going to do what many of today's establishment politicians do not: unite the American people and work with those they disagree with for the sake of the country. Trump and Cruz will not do anything to these problems; they will probably make them worse. If you care about fixing the establishment and charting a better course for our country, I ask you not to give Donald Trump or Ted Cruz the Republican nomination.

Cover Image Credit: WB Daily

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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I Beg You, Don't Participate In Straight-Ticket Voting This Midterm Election, Or Ever

Effective voting begins long before you even arrive at the polls, starting with research.

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Midterm elections are creeping up eerily fast, set to take place on November 6th. If you're registered, I sincerely urge you vote - but please educate yourselves before heading to the polls. Though we do not vote on the presidency, midterm elections do play critical roles in government and our country's success. Most notably this November, 36 states, including my home state of Illinois, will be selecting a new governor, 33 seats will be decided on for the Senate and all 435 seats of the House are up for grabs.

Results

I'm sure you're well aware that this is a very critical and defining time in our nation's history. There has been a massive rift between the two parties as of late, particularly during and after Brett Kavanaugh's hearing and installation into the Supreme Court, which received very mixed and extreme receptions. As I scrolled through comments after comments across articles, press releases, live streams and YouTube videos, I noticed a surge of angry and passionate voices expressing their pure hatred for the opposing party, pledging to "vote straight blue" or "vote straight red." This is referred to as "straight-ticket voting," and simply means your ballot goes entirely towards one party of your choice.

By doing this, you not only vote blindly, but you also make a misinformed vote and place yourself into a box, contributing to further divergence. Straight-ticket voting can be dangerous because the world and its complex issues are not as black and white as political party identification may seem. Neither party has the answers alone to best shape our future, which is why we need a variety of flavors on our political palette.

I usually mask my political stances, but I feel I have to disclose a bit to demonstrate my point. Frankly, at this point in my young adult life, I do identify more so with left parties. I give my undivided support to LGBTQ+ rights expansions, such as gay marriage and gay family adoption because I'm a firm believer that every human should be treated equally, regardless of extrinsic or intrinsic aspects, like sexuality, race and religion. My hope and vision lie with legislators that are forward-thinking and inclusive because the hate and discrimination brought forth by the socioeconomic and racial hierarchies no longer have a place in our globalized world.

Furthermore, I'm fully invested in proactive environmental action, as I understand global warming is a legitimate threat and is already affecting the very planet we take for granted. I'm an advocate for passing stricter gun control legislation with the help of background checks, as most violence factually comes from our own citizens, not the terrorists and foreigners we so greatly fear due to mediated stigmatization. I hope for families attempting to enter the countries to stay together, and I do welcome immigrants who are willing to work so long as they pass background screenings; I support this because our nation's founding morals lie in the pursuit of freedom, hope, and liberty. As a first-generation American on one side with several naturalized and immigrant friends, I see just how powerful and life-changing a new start in this country can be.

Though, at the same time, there are several Democrats I don't support ethically and morally, and I do agree with several blue-opposing stances. I support charter schools because I believe in the right to select from options for education. I think everyone voting should be required to present a valid photo ID to assist in the prevention of voting fraud. I believe it's fair to deport crime-committing immigrants based on each case's severity. Furthermore, I stand with conservative parties believing foreigners residing in our country should not have the right to vote, as I agree that this should be a privilege reserved solely for citizens.

Clearly, as you can see, I'm neither entirely blue nor entirely red, which is why researching each candidate and casting educated votes is so important. You'll never submit a perfect ballot, nor will there ever even a single "perfect candidate" to elect, but, with some digging, you can get rather close, which can usually only be obtained by dipping into other party's candidate pools. If, by some chance, you truly are aligned with each candidate in your respective party, fine. Do vote for each of them, but if this is the case, when you tick the names off, do so because you're pledging your support for each individual's stances and morals.

To help guide you in your pursuit to become a politically educated voter, I provided a few immensely informative and brief resources that will take no more than fifteen minutes of your time to explore collectively:

Which parties and candidates match each of your values? https://www.isidewith.com/elections/2020-presidential-quiz

Learn about your state's candidates: https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/government-e...

The House race -- how close is it? https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/us/elections/calendar-primary-results.html

And what about the race for the Senate? https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/us/elections/house-race-ratings.html

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