What’s Left: Election Day: Moving Forward Rather Than Apart

Eli Cousin, Maroon-News Staff

Defending Our Values

The leaders of our nation owe us a better deal. As citizens of this great nation, we must not accept the level of divisiveness and bigotry that we have come to see at the forefront of our national politics. I have a vision for our country that is rooted in unity and progress. It is one where our politicians and leaders strive to represent all members of our country, regardless of color or creed. Although it is an off-year election, it is my hope that voters go to the polls on November 7th and support the party that can best achieve this vision. After watching the standards of federal government erode following the results of last year’s election, it feels imperative that our nation sees an influx of Democratic representatives across the state and local levels. Whether it be local or state-wide, voting Blue is our nation’s best chance to return responsibility and good morals to our nation’s politics. 

There is no denying the fact that local politics and national politics are two entirely different ball games. Voters may care more about local issues, like taxes and support for small businesses, than national debates on healthcare or foreign policy. Yet, it remains important to elect candidates that uphold a vision of unity and progress, regardless of the political scale. 

Back in my home county of Westchester, polls continue to project that the race for County Executive will be extremely close. Incumbent Republican Rob Astorino is seeking to defend his position against New York State Senator George Latimer from Rye, NY. Both candidates have debated standard local policy issues, ranging from property taxes to affordable housing. Additionally, both candidates have faced their fair share of personal attacks. For local voters, it certainly may be difficult to discern which candidate is truly better for our county when they appear to have such generic policies and several drawbacks. 

Latimer has supported standard Democratic causes, such as Planned Parenthood, clean environmental practices and increasing the minimum wage. With endorsements from Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Hillary Clinton, Latimer is certainly a standard, if not strong, Democratic candidate. However, given our country’s current political state, it feels as though the Latimer campaign and other local Democratic candidates are representative of much more than just a few local issues.

On the Latimer campaign web page, there is a tab titled “defending our values.” It is here that Latimer writes that he will, “work to ensure that all people in Westchester are treated fairly regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or veteran status.” This is a defining characteristic of Democratic candidates, both locally and across the country; it is a commitment to fighting for all constituents during a time where many feel marginalized and flagrantly targeted. 

While not every single local election should serve as a referendum on Trump’s tenure, it is certainly fair to hold candidates accountable for their support of Trump’s bigoted agenda. In Westchester, Lohud News wrote that, “a political action committee backed by Robert Mercer has poured nearly $1 million into pro-Astorino and anti-Latimer media.” Mercer, a beneficiary of alt-right website Breitbart News, represents the worst of American politics. Through this endorsement and connection, Astorino has shown he is merely an extension of the dangerous far right. Across the country, candidates like Astorino should face the electoral consequences of refusing to speak up in the face of bigotry and hate that Trump’s rhetoric and policies have

directly enabled.

The Democratic Party is unquestionably committed to working for all Americans. Whether it be Ralph Northam in Virginia, Phil Murphy in New Jersey or George Latimer in my home county of Westchester, I know that these candidates will never cease to fight for progressive policies, even in the face of a bigoted administration. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a wave of progressive leaders to do exactly what Latimer has pledged: defend our values. 

Contact Eli Cousin at [email protected].