The midterm elections are almost here, and as we face the prospect of a Republican-led House, voting to ensure the safety of women, children, and minorities has never been more important.
On the line this year are issues such as access to abortion, climate change, and gun control, to name a few.
These issues should transcend party affiliations, and yet, GOP lawmakers continue to oppose their solutions, using Democrats' proposed laws as leverage to paint false narratives about the party itself while ignoring the deadly consequences that can and will come from failing to address the problems.
Below, see all the reasons your vote this November 8 matters.
What's at stake?
If President Joe Biden loses the support of the House, issues he and Democrats have long supported, such as granting national access to abortion, working on solutions to decrease climate change, decriminalizing marijuana, and enacting stricter gun control laws following the recent string of school shootings—will immediately be cast aside and the efforts flipped.
Though Biden still has two years left in office, not having a Democrat-led House would make it much harder for him and his party to make any progress in terms of their agenda.
How does this affect me?
Access to abortion is already limited in the U.S. following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, with five states having passed restrictive laws against it, and at least 13 states having banned the procedure altogether. The ramifications of the June SCOTUS decision have already been devastating for pregnant people around the country, and have especially affected Black and Brown people and low-income people, who tend to have less access to safe abortions and are more liked to have dangerous pregnancies.
The same communities are disproportionally affected by marijuana laws. Currently, marijuana arrests account for more than half of all drug arrests in the United States, and of the 8.2 million marijuana-related arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88 percent were for possession. Despite roughly equal usage rates, Black people are 3.73 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana, per an ACLU analysis.
Gun control, meanwhile, is something that recent events have proven affects everyone in America, as unfortunately, gun violence has lately taken the lives of so many innocent children. Still, it is one of the Republic party's biggest non-negotiables, one that for decades they have refused to budge on despite the ongoing deaths. And if the issue is left unattended, the deaths will continue.
More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2020 than in any other year on record, per Pew Research. And in the U.S., firearms have accounted for 20 percent of all child deaths, compared to an average of less than 2 percent of child deaths in similarly developed, wealthy nations, per the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Climate change, of course, affects not only the U.S. but the entire planet, yet over the years, the GOP has turned largely anti-environment; why? Because of their belief that environmental protection (the introduction of clean energy, and transition away from oil) hurts the good ol' American economy. However, continuing to ignore the climate crisis will make it impossible for future generations to live well, and that is simply a fact.
How likely is it that the House will flip?
Usually, the House will align with the president in office; however, it's not uncommon for the house to flip, especially if a large part of the population is unhappy with the leading party's efforts.
Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have held the majority since 2018, at which point Donald Trump was still president. But in recent months, Biden's approval ratings have been on the downfall, largely due to frustration over the economy.
The House turning red could also give Trump further incentive to run for the presidency again in 2024—which could have its own serious consequences.
OK, how do I vote?
You'll first have to check your registration status in your state, which you can do here.
If you are already registered, you can head to your registered address's specific voting location on November 8 to cast your ballot, or check your state's website for specific information on how to vote early or mail-in your ballot.
Learn everything you need to know about the 2022 midterms here.
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