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So none of your candidates won… now what?

Assistant Opinion Editor Devin Ankeney.
Assistant Opinion Editor Devin Ankeney.

As a leftist independent stuck voting for the Democratic party as the lesser of two evils in a heavily Republican district in Ohio, election night can be wildly disappointing. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop caring, paying attention or voting.

From my count, not a single candidate for whom I voted actually won their respective election. In a political sphere where there are most often only two options, this is common. Not just for me, but for most Americans.

This past Election Day was my second experience voting in Ohio and my second experience of overwhelming disappointment. 

Sam Lawrence lost. Vanessa Enoch lost. Tim Ryan lost. Nan Whaley lost. It’s disheartening.

But giving up is never the answer to this frustration.

I’m not the only left-leaning person in Oxford who wanted a better Election Day result. Thousands of people in Butler County were disappointed and will continue to see a red trend in this district. 

However, it is crucially important to keep caring. 

Even though every election is touted as “the most important election of our lives,” making each election feel more trivial than the last, the tagline is always true.

All elections — nay, every individual election is the most important of our lives. Voting is the most important function of a democracy, and continuing to vote is the only way to make a difference, even if nothing changes in your district for a long, long time.

Whether you’re a Democrat in rural Oxford or a Republican in urban Cleveland, you need to keep showing up, keep organizing and keep voting.

We saw evidence of higher turnout this past election day than we do at most midterms. Democrats flipped the Republican Pat Toomey’s senate seat in Pennsylvania. Republicans flipped Sean Patrick Maloney’s House seat in New York. A Democrat retained her Governorship in Kansas.

These were huge wins, and not expected outcomes of the 2022 election.

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Even Rep. Lauren Boebert might not win her district in Colorado.

Record turnout in Georgia in 2020 led the once-Republican stronghold to become a battleground for the presidential election, and again this midterm election, sending the senate election to its second runoff in a row. 

That only happened because Democrats in Georgia decided it was time to make a difference.

It’s all about turnout. It’s about the decision to believe that one person can make a difference.

There are no surprises or changes without effort, mobilization and care.

You might have watched local Ohio coverage this past election night and felt defeated. You might feel that it isn’t worth caring for anymore, that it will never change. 

Giving up is the only way to guarantee that nothing will change. Look at Georgia, at Colorado, at Pennsylvania, at New York or at Kansas, and see that nothing stays the same when people don’t give up.

Don’t stay disheartened. Get pissed.

Decide to make a difference. Help your candidate canvass the next election cycle. Donate. Get out there.

I’m pissed that my candidates lost. I’m pissed that the Talawanda School Levy failed. I’m pissed that a state constitutional amendment requires citizenship as a requirement to vote in local Ohio elections. 

But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up. In fact, it means I care even more now. 

So none of your candidates won on Election Day…

Do something about it.

ankenedw@miamioh.edu

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