Voting in a swing state like Pennsylvania carries with it an obligation to the rest of the country to carefully consider our options in each race. In particular, the Senate race between Katie McGinty and incumbent Pat Toomey has shaped up as a crucial one with national implications. Regardless of how you intend to vote for president and for Senate on Tuesday, we have one simple request for you. Before you leave for the polls, block out some time for yourself to think. Turn off your computer, ignore social media, don’t engage in arguments that quickly devolve into partisan insults. Just sit and really think for a few minutes. I promise, you can do it.
Don’t just think about the people running for president. Think about their respective campaigns and the policies that they stand for. Think about the way that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have conducted themselves over the course of the campaign and what policies each has offered to put in place.
On almost every single issue, the contrast between the two major-party candidates could not be greater. Secretary Clinton has offered a positive vision for America, while Donald Trump has courted white supremacists and alt-right conspiracy theorists at every turn. Given the divergence between the two, it is shocking that Pat Toomey has spinelessly refused to say who he will vote for. At every turn, he has refused to officially endorse Trump, but he has not disclosed whether his party’s nominee has lost his vote.
Why is Toomey waffling so much? Maybe it’s because his policies of environmental deregulation, defunding Planned Parenthood and lowering taxes on the wealthy are almost identical to the policies of the bigot at the top of his party’s ticket. Maybe it’s a purely political move — he would rather win himself another term in the Senate than do everything he can to oppose a demagogue who threatens his most vulnerable constituents. As proud Pennsylvanians, we’re not going to let him get away with that. We will send Pat packing and elect the first female senator in the history of the Keystone State.
Katie McGinty is the person we need in the Senate fighting with all of her strength for students struggling to afford college, for working people long overdue for a raise in the minimum wage and to make our streets safer for everybody. She knows that a full Supreme Court is crucial to the functioning of the federal government, no matter who is president, and will be a force of cooperation, not opposition. She will represent her entire constituency, standing up for LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, criminal justice reform and a just immigration system. She has consistently championed environmental justice — one of the most overlooked issues of our time — since her time chairing the White House Council on Environmental Quality during the 1990s. She is the obvious choice for Pennsylvanians who want a better future for all who live in our commonwealth.
As for the presidential race, one more op-ed written in the week before the election probably isn’t going to present you with new information. Everything we could possibly say about the two candidates has already been said hundreds of times.
For example, you already know that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to have run for president during any of our lifetimes. You already know about her 30 years of advocacy for the most vulnerable Americans and her commitment to the most progressive platform in the history of the United States. You already know that Donald Trump is not only temperamentally unfit to hold the most powerful office in the world, but has repeatedly displayed a lack of basic knowledge about how government functions. Deep down, you know that the choice is clear. The office of the presidency is not a place for on-the-fly training and reckless behavior. Every decision that a president makes from the moment that they enter the Oval Office for the first time has a tangible impact on real people all over the United States.
But you already knew all of these things. You’ve seen and heard the hateful rhetoric that the Republican nominee espouses. If you are not a Democrat, you may not want to admit it publicly, but you already know that voting for Donald Trump is an active wish for evil to rain down on your fellow citizens. That is an unconscionable decision for anybody who calls themself a patriotic American.
This election is undoubtedly a defining moment in American history, and each of us has a moral duty to participate. We cannot let ourselves get conned into staying home on Nov. 8. Instead, we must all do our part to prevent a nuclear-empowered Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton to be the next president. The eyes of the nation will be on our state. Repudiate the bigotry of the Trump-Toomey ticket, and send a message to all who are watching that love does indeed trump hate.
LUKE HOBAN is a College senior and the Penn Dems communication director. He is a science, technology & society major and a philosophy minor.