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QUESTION: What Makes This Presidential Election So Significant?

By Jacob Edelman

Section: Features

September 2, 2016

Every four years, each candidate running for President will say, “This election is the most important in [insert a very long length of time].” The candidates’ supporters will get fired up, and critical dialogue on the path that our country should chart for its future takes place in the public arena.

This election, however, is significant for precedent-shattering reasons. I am not going to dive into partisan talking points—I am simply going to highlight the historic aspect of the choices voters may make in November.

For one, there is the opportunity to elect an extraordinarily qualified woman to be President of the United States. This opportunity has existed previously, but never has it been so palpably close to happening. Bringing the country this direction would inarguably destroy old precedent and mark an enormous milestone in our nation’s history.

Second, there is the possibility of a never-previously elected individual becoming President, one who has neither commanded armed forces, nor governed a state, nor represented a citizen. This individual has not made gains in popularity through charm or flattery or even honesty, but by appealing to the most frustrated and fed-up citizens in our country through rage and insult. There is something to be said for being a voice for the voiceless. However the fear and anger evoked from this campaign is quite possibly unparalleled. Electing this man would inarguably destroy precedent and lead our nation into an even wider world of “what if’s.”

It is impossible to adequately summarize the significance of this election in 400 words or fewer, but the above lists two inescapable truths that can reasonably be raised.

More than anything else, it is important to remember this: The most significant times (like these) are when it is most necessary to have your voice heard. So do that—have your voice heard. Register to vote and get to the polling place on November 8, or vote absentee. If you need help registering or voting absentee, email me at edelmanj@brandeis.edu, or visit the university library and ask for assistance—plenty of resources are available.

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