All citizens and students are encouraged to vote for the Pennsylvania primaries in April 2020. The primaries will be the prequel to Election Day Nov. 3, 2020.

South Carolina, Kansas and Nevada jettisoned the public GOP primaries for the 2020 presidential race, with Arizona most likely joining them in the next few weeks. 

While it’s true that no incumbent president has lost the nomination since Chester A. Arthur in 1884, this is still a very significant action on the part of these states. Every time an incumbent president has had serious opposition from within his own party, he went on to lose the general election. This issue should concern everyone, especially Republicans.

What’s the point of playing pretend at democracy if people aren’t even allowed a say in who governs them? It’s right in the word: democracy is a government of the people, for the people, by the people. 

The right to choose your representative is integral to the United States, and has been since before the advent of this nation. Politicians should be protecting the rights of their constituents, not stripping them away. By refusing to hold primaries, the GOP of the aforementioned states are demonstrating that they do not care about the fundamental ideas of democracy.

Democracy means respecting the rights of everyone, including – and almost especially – those you disagree with. If the will of the people is to oust the incumbent president, then the GOP should respect that, instead of silencing their own party. 

You also have to wonder why the GOP is so hellbent on keeping Trump in office. Why not go for someone more moderate, who can appeal to more people? Why not listen to the genuine concerns of your own political party? Why are so many people in your party trying to ruin Trump’s chances at a second term? The GOP should be trying to answer these questions, not silencing the askers.

This is just the most recent attempt of the GOP to suppress voters. From classist voter ID laws to depriving felons of their constitutional right to vote, the GOP has been fighting tooth and nail to keep people from choosing their representatives. 

These moves should concern every single person in this country, even if they do not affect you directly. Sure, today they’re coming after “criminals” and people who can’t afford state-issued ID’s, but tomorrow they might – and almost certainly will – come after you. So, while you still can, use your undeniable right to vote and make these people understand that we will not tolerate any attempts of voter suppression. 

The last day to register to vote for the 2019 election season in Pennsylvania is Oct. 7. The website VotesPa.com walks you through exactly how to register to vote, so there is no excuse to not do it. It’s free, people. What college student doesn’t love free things? Applying for an absentee ballot is also easy and free, so you don’t even need to go home to vote. 

Your country needs you. Please do everything you can to vote Nov. 5, and encourage all the people you know to do their part as well. We all need to band together to let these people know that we will not stand for their attempts to undermine democracy. And if you think that your vote won’t matter, remember this: according to the Census Bureau, nearly 40 percent of eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 election. That percentage could swing any election! 

Do your civic duty and vote in this and every election. The more of us vote, the more we are actually living in a democracy, and vice versa. 

You don’t want to end up in an oligarchy or even worse, do you?

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