College Students, If You Want Political Change, Get Out Of Your Bed And Go To The Polls

College Students, If You Want Political Change, Get Out Of Your Bed And Go To The Polls

We are constantly fighting against and questioning the government powers which shape our everyday lives, but fail to take advantage of one of our most basic and cherished rights once we turn 18.

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The final day to submit your application to vote was October 16th, in my home state of New Jersey. One question which has a complex, though seemingly simple answer, is why most college students elect not to vote. On one hand, to a college student filling out and submitting the paperwork can appear both troublesome and tasking, especially since the deadlines typically come about during college midterms week.

Most 18 to 22 year old's likely feel that to take time out of their busy schedule in order to apply to vote in an election where a single vote typically does not matter (especially in the case of midterm elections, which seem even more inconsequential), is simply not worth it. Furthermore, to spend November 6th at a polling location rather than studying or out with friends also has its drawbacks and little appeal, not garnering much support or attention from anyone.

SEE ALSO: Find your local polling location here

With this in mind, the question seems easy to answer. College students don't vote because they are too busy (more like too lazy to fit it in), or because they feel their voice doesn't matter. But what this fails to take into account is why, if students feel their votes don't matter, are college campuses some of the most politically active places in the United States, and even more why are college students some of the most politically active individuals. College students want their voices to be heard when they march through downtown with signs or hold rallies on their libraries steps, but can't quite understand that getting out to vote is a simple continuation of these rights.

Voting shouldn't feel like a chore. In a populace constantly advocating and fighting for total equality its necessary for every eligible citizen to get to the polls and voice their beliefs if we want change to occur.

In the case of Rutgers, laziness when it comes to registering to vote isn't an excuse, it's a choice. Over the past few weeks, various clubs and non-profits have presented multiple opportunities to register, many times they were even willing to mail in the ballot for you. In my case, they've reached out in multiple classes and identified multiple opportunities to take advantage, many of my teachers also offering to take part.

Taking this into account, how is the most politically active segment of the general population, that has been provided multiple opportunities to register the least likely group to get to the polls on November 6th? We are constantly fighting against and questioning the government powers which shape our everyday lives, but fail to take advantage of one of our most basic and cherished rights once we turn 18.

Maybe, though very unlikely, this year will be different. Social media petitioning and campus drives will finally have had an impact on voter turnouts and lead to a more active populace, whose voice might actually be heard. In a midterm election, this dream is unlikely, even more so considering the love from college students gained by Bernie Sanders in 2016, with him still falling short of the ballot. But whether you're going home, voting on campus, or mailing your ballot in, let your voice be heard. Get to the polls and vote.

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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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Super Early 2020 Presidential Election Prediction

How I think each state would go in a 2020 presidential election scenario of Donald Trump vs a generic Democrat

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The 2020 presidential election is nearly two years away but that doesn't mean we can make predictions on how each state will go. With the 2018 midterm elections two months ago I believe that it is clearer how the 2020 election might turn out. This is super early but I am super interested in presidential politics and I want to get my opinion out there on the 2020 election.

So this prediction will be Donald Trump vs a generic Democrat. The incumbent president almost always wins their party's nomination when they run for a second term so I don't see a good possibility for someone on the republican ticket other than Donald Trump. The reason why I am matching him up against a generic democrat is because there is no telling who the democratic nominee will be at this point in time and the candidate will make a significant difference in how I predict each state so I think using a generic democrat is a good middle ground. Also I will be assuming that there will be no significant 3rd party candidates.

The solid blue states that will almost definitely vote democrat since they have done so overwhelmingly in the previous couple of elections are Maine's 1st congressional district, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Illinois, California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii for a total of 183 solid electoral votes for the Democrats.

The solid red states that will almost definitely vote for Trump again since they voted for him and previous republicans overwhelmingly are South Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska (except the 1 electoral vote awarded by their 2nd congressional district), South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Alaska for a total of 125 solid electoral votes for Trump.

All of the states not mentioned are either swing states or they could at least be somewhat competitive. I'm gonna call each of these states starting from the least competitive of the remaining states and ending at the most competitive.

I think the state of New Mexico will be won by the Democrats. New Mexico is perhaps no longer a swing state. Hillary Clinton carried the state by 8.22% in 2016 and Obama carried it by over 10% in 2008 and 2012. Also with nearly half of its population being Hispanic/Latino it is difficult seeing a Trump victory here. Democrats lead 188-125.

I think Trump will win Texas. In 2016 Texas lost it's status as a solid republican state as Trump was only able to win it by 9%. Further in the 2018 midterm elections, Incumbent Republican Ted Cruz was barely able to keep his senate seat from his Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke. All of this plus a diversifying population is bad news for Republicans in the state of Texas. However, since Texas isn't projected to become a swing state until 2024 or 2028 Trump should be able to hold on to Texas by 5%-10% in 2020, unless if he faces a candidate like Beto O'Rourke. Democrats lead 188-163.

I think Virginia and Colorado will go to the Democrats. I feel like these states have been very similar in the most recent presidential elections. Bush won both of those states in 2000 and 2004 by 4-8.5 point margins but then they swung towards the Democrats when Obama won them in 2008 and 2012 by similar margins. In 2016 Trump failed to make these states significantly closer, losing both by about 5%. Trump also has a -4 approval rating in Virginia and a -10 approval rating in Colorado. That on top of Democrats' gains of house seats, and Tim Kaine and Jared Polis easily winning their elections, makes projecting Colorado and Virginia as blue states not a very difficult choice. Democrats lead 210-163.

I think Ohio and Iowa and Maine's 2nd Congressional District will go to Trump again. Obama won these states in 2008 and 2012 by 3-10 point margins but Trump was able to greatly swing these states to the Republican column by winning them by 8, 9, and 10 points respectively. Iowa was more republican in 2016 than Texas. Republicans held on to their governorships in the 2018 midterm elections. Even though Trump has a -7 approval rating in Iowa and Republicans lost 2 house seats I still think Trump will win it again since he won it before by a 9 point margin. Same goes for Maine's 2nd Congressional District. Even though Republicans lost it in 2018 an 10 point margin is convincing that Trump will hold on to it. Democrats lead 210-188.

I think Trump will win Georgia. Georgia was similar to Texas in 2016 because those were both states where Trump underperformed his republican predecessors. Trump only won it by 5% in 2016 while Mitt Romney won it by almost 8% in 2012. Georgia is becoming a very diverse state with a very large African American population and it will become a minority majority state within a few years which doesn't bode well for future republicans. In the 2018 midterms, Brian Kemp was barely able retain Georgia's governorship for the republicans. However, I still think Georgia will remain a lean republican for this next election. Expect this state to become a tossup in 2024 and 2028. Democrats lead 210-204

I think Trump will win North Carolina. North Carolina despite being a swing state seems to lean republican. Obama barely won it by 0.33% in 2008 but then lost it in 2012 by 2% and Trump won it in 2016 by almost 4%. Trump's approval rating is also +2 in North Carolina. Trump leads 219-210.

I think Trump will win Nebraska's 2nd congressional district. Trump only won it by about 2% in 2016 and Obama was able to win it in 2008. However, in the 2018 midterms it remained a republican district by 2% so I think Trump will still hold on to it by a narrow margin. Trump leads 220-210.

I believe that Maine at large, Nevada, Minnesota, and New Hampshire will remain blue states. These were the four closest states that Clinton won in 2016 by margins under 3%. I think they will remain blue because Trump has poor approval ratings in these states which are -9, -5, -10, and -12 respectively. Republicans weren't even competitive in the Minnesota senate and gubernatorial races. In one of the senate races Minnesota voted more democratic then solid democrat states like Washington, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Republicans also lost a senate seat and the governorship of Nevada. Republicans failed to make any pick ups in New Hampshire and Maine. Democrats lead 232-220.

I think Trump will win Florida. Florida is always a tricky state to call since it is always super close. Florida is a very diverse state with a high and growing hispanic/latino population but I still think Trump will hold on to it despite that. Trump has a +2 approval rating here and in the 2018 midterm elections Republicans held on to the governorship and flipped a senate seat. With this in mind I think Trump can edge it out. Trump leads 249-232.

I think the Democrats will flip Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania; the three crucial rust belt states that were critical to Trump's victory in 2016. I feel this way because his approval ratings in these states are -10, -9, and -5 respectively. All 3 of these states voted to have Democratic governors and senators in 2018 and they lost a few house seats too. Trump was only able to win these reliably democratic states by less than 1% in 2016. Democrats win 278-249

There is one final state and that is Arizona. This may be a bold prediction but I think the Democrats will win here. Like with Georgia and Texas, this state is becoming very diverse and will soon be minority majority and trump underperformed his republican predecessors only winning the state by 3.5% compared to 9% by Romney in 2012. His approval rating in the state is -2. Also in 2018 the republicans lost a senate seat and a house seat here. I just see that this state is trending more and more democratic every day and a Trump loss here is very possible. Expect this state to be one of the closest in 2020.

And that's my prediction, I have the Democrats winning the 2020 election 289-249. This prediction is super early and a lot can change from now and Election Day.

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