Voting is power. Let’s use it.

Voting is important. Ask yourself about the rich, the powerful, the elderly: “Why do they vote in higher numbers?” 

The answer is actually very simple. The vote is power. It is a power you possess that allows you access to control. And for that reason, the rich, the powerful and the elderly, the examples I give, are not willing to give up that power. And I can’t blame them.

But… just because you voted doesn’t mean your candidate, or issue, is always going to win. Allow me to use a baseball metaphor. Ball players who get a hit three times out of every 10 at bats are more likely to end up in the Hall Of Fame. They are considered “great.” The fact is, though, there was a lot of whiffing to get where you wanted to be…

Power was paramount in the recently completed midterm elections. Why do you think Georgia disallowed more than 50,000 votes, 70 percent of which were black voters, in a governor’s race where there was a black woman running for governor? And Florida, the third largest state in the nation, and almost a necessity to win the presidency, why does it constantly face irregularities when counting votes?

It’s proof that your vote is powerful.  

But returning to my baseball example, you must often strike out before hitting that home run to win a ballgame.

It is why I found that the most interesting aspects of the recently completed 2018 midterm elections was that three of the four biggest winners lost their respective races. Two women and two men. One was a Latino woman, two were African American and there was a white guy from Texas who goes by the name of Beto. All ran as Democrats. And all point to what the future has in store for this country.

Not one of them sold out to the politics-as-usual party politics that big money demands during elections today. All four were willing to strike out, multiple times if necessary, but the message was under their control, came from the heart and based on experiences lived, and empathy shown for those they live with. And it was a pathway cobbled together that the Democratic Party should follow instead of criticize, while settling for the same old tired ways. 

Of course, I know there are another almost 40 percent of people in the U.S. who stand by what Donald Trump represents. I don’t deny that. And I am also not saying that the four I have chosen were the only persons who signify what we’ve become and where we need to go. There were Muslims, openly gay and transgender candidates, and others in a diverse group of winners, including what some label moderates, who will shape what the country looks like going forward. 

But I found my chosen four fascinating. 

Let us start with the youngest — and in fact, the only victorious member of my fantastic four. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez came out of nowhere, actually she’s from the Bronx, and challenged and defeated one of the highest profile and influential Democratic Party incumbent members of Congress, Joe Crowley, who had forgotten where he came from and who he was representing. 

Ocasio-Cortez’ plainspokenness and ‘radical socialist ideas,’ as some have described them, convinced her constituents that it was this 29-year-old bartender and teacher who they were willing to empower with their vote. Ocasio-Cortez spoke of supporting seniors, women’s rights, honesty in government, and Medicare for all. She won her election — handily. By the way, she never backed out of giving a straight answer. She also gladly embraced the socialist label. “So what,” she seemed to say, “if what I profess is hope and prosperity for the many who feel hopeless.”

Then there’s the case of Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams, both who ran for governor in their respective states, Florida and Georgia. And if elections in this country were fair, both would be governors today. But when the cards are stacked against you, the only solution is to vote in even greater numbers — and those numbers are there. They just need to wake up. That’s if they really want to see things change. Both Gillum and Abrams ran positive campaigns with messages of what is possible, not one where fear and hatred were themes. These two will be front and center in our future political landscape. Both announced that they’re here to stay. 

Finally, there’s Beto O’Rourke. Possibly the most charismatic of the above-mentioned politicians, he is a white boy from Texas who grew up being called Beto. O’Rourke may have lost a tight race against the human vomit known as Ted Cruz. And yet, O’Rourke is on so many people’s radar when it comes to 2020. His message, like that of the other three, was not what is wrong, but what we can do to make things better. 

Politics-as-usual is no longer a winning ticket. Donald Trump proved that in 2016. So it is time for progressives, and all people who want what’s best for this country, to stand up and face the challenges which confront us, now and in the years to come. 

This reminds me of something I read, written by Washington Post columnist Christine Emba, regarding Ocasio-Cortez’ hopefulness: “What if she retains her idealism and some of her unconventional proposals actually come to pass? Now that would be something new.”

And better, I would add. But the only way to achieve this is by voting. Massively.