It’s Election Day. Arguably the most important day of the year. While some people jump from celebrating Halloween to preparing for Thanksgiving, in DC all eyes have been on November 6th for months, if not years at this point.
Election Day has very real consequences for people in DC and throughout state governments. Some may find out tonight that they are out of a job when their Member of Congress is not reelected. Some might realize that a surprise victory means that they have two months to pack up and move to DC in time to begin the new Congress. The results tonight could flip the power structure in Congress in at least one chamber.
For my job, the real work begins tomorrow morning. I’ll sit down, look at who is leaving Congress, who is coming in, who is moving from the House to the Senate, and then start to strategize. What public health champions do we sill have, and which ones did we lose? What members can we rely on next year? Which new members do we want to reach to ensure they know about our issues? If one or both of the chambers flipped, does that change what our asks will be next year?
The results of the election are obviously critical to my work. But they are extremely personal to me, and I’m sure most of you out there as well. As someone who has at least volunteered with campaigns every election year, it really is all consuming, and there is so much at stake. This year, even more than most years, it is vital that every single person get out and vote. We are at a crossroads in our country, and I truly hope that we choose the path of decency, hope, truth, and progress. There is too much at stake to be complacent.
Normally, on election nights, I’ll gather with friends at a bar and excitedly watch the results come in. Tonight, I feel more subdued. I have hope, but I’m not as optimistic as I once was. After 2016, I don’t have as much certainty as I did in previous years. So I’ll be at home, with three screens open to track the results as soon as they come in. I’ll be sequestered with my spreadsheets and predictions, anxiously awaiting the results to see what our future will hold.
My one plea: vote. Do whatever it takes to get to the polls. Nobody’s life is unaffected by politics, and the more people vote, the stronger our democracy will be.