Editorial: Vote like your democracy depends on it

  • A voter marks her ballot during early voting at the Municipal Building in Easthampton, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • A voter marks his ballot during early voting at Holyoke City Hall, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 10/28/2020 2:52:27 PM

For the past four years, this page has been a window, a battleground and an echo chamber. We’ve run your letters and columns blasting President Donald Trump as a liar, a racist and a threat to democracy — assessments with which we, as an editorial board, agree. We’ve also published the occasional voice explaining Trump’s appeal or why, for true progressives, voting for the Green-Rainbow Party ticket is actually the right move to “put your vote where your values are.”

Through all the discussion and debate, one common thread has emerged: Our community is not complacent. So why editorialize on the importance of voting? Because it’s not just about reaching you — it’s about you reaching everyone you can between now and Tuesday to help get out the vote to stop a second-term Trump presidency.

What if we all took a page from the work of contact tracers in our area and called everyone who’s been in our orbit in recent weeks to encourage them to vote? Is there one person you could call — here in blue Massachusetts or in a red or purple state — who might be undecided or unmotivated to cast a ballot? Then it’s worth making that call.

There is no assurance that former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris will win, despite their lead in national polls. And if they do win, there is no assurance that Trump will leave office. When asked in September about a peaceful transition to power if he loses, the president told a reporter, “We’re going to have to see what happens,” and made an apparent reference to the “disaster” of mail-in ballots. “Get rid of the ballots, and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” he said.

Of course, this is just one of many comments Trump has made indicating that he won’t give up power. The more he lags behind, the louder he gets about the “rigged” election and the Democratic “scam,” invoking the Supreme Court and how he’s “counting” on the nine justices — now including Amy Coney Barrett, following her rushed confirmation — to “look at the ballots.” He’s even floated the idea of occupying the White House for a third term. His hubris would almost be funny if it weren’t so scary.

Now, with the election days away, it seems possible that voters could accomplish what impeachment could not: the removal of Trump from office. Americans have cast a record-shattering 66 million early ballots so far, and this November could go down in history for unprecedented levels of voter turnout.

We are heartened by early voting trends locally, as well, and grateful for the hard work of all of the city and town clerks, poll workers and mail carriers who have been safeguarding the integrity of our election process.

We expect that for many of you, the Nov. 3 election will be the easiest multiple choice test you’ve ever had to take. But just in case, here is a recap of our endorsements as an editorial board:

■While we initially endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nominee for president, we are fully behind the party’s chosen Biden/Harris ticket. Biden may not be the ideal candidate for those on the party’s progressive wing, but he is a decent old-school Democrat who will work to unite the American people and repair the damage done over the past four years.

■Back in August, we endorsed incumbent Ed Markey for Senate, after meeting with both the Malden native and his then-competitor, U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III. We favored Markey for his proven track record of policy achievements and progressive record on justice in many areas — racial, environmental, health care, and criminal and police reform — which we hope will get a huge boost post-election.

■Also on the ballot, we are voting “yes” on Question 1. Known as right to repair, the measure would give vehicle owners the right to access “telematics” data — or the diagnostic and repair information that newer cars can send wirelessly straight to the dealer — and share it with their mechanics. Vehicle repairs are a major and often unexpected expense for many people, and car owners should have the right to choose where they get that work done without car manufacturers controlling the information.

■Finally, we support Question 2. If approved, ranked-choice voting would take place for primary and general elections for state executive officials, state legislators, congressional seats and certain county offices beginning in 2022. Not only is it wise to have officials working for us who won the support of a majority of their constituents, but such a system will likely spur more people to run for office and, we hope, lead to elected officials who better reflect the diversity of constituents they serve.

For those of you who haven’t voted yet, we’ll see you at the polls Tuesday. Let’s deliver a pink slip and a strong message to the current occupant of the White House: YOU’RE FIRED!

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