What it’s like to support Bernie at a southern STEM school

The ‘uge issue of voting in the South

This year’s elections have been nothing short of a crazy reality TV show, where every debate presents a new turn and every rally provides exciting drama. While each comment of an immense wall brings an immense amount of buzz across the nation, there is a community here at Tech that supports an entirely different candidate: Bernie Sanders.

When I say a “community” of Bernie supporters, I am hesitant to provide a general size. This election has been more polarizing than ever, and it seems that I only attract Sanders’s supporters as friends due to my incessant posting about him and his good deeds on Facebook. Despite the media trying to tell me that he is the most popular candidate among college students, I fail to see that success here.

A few GT students standing behind Bernie (literally and figuratively).

Sure, maybe it’s the large “TRUMP” banner placed in the apartment overlooking North Avenue. Or, maybe it’s because of the national recognition of the few students at Emory University who felt unsafe over the “Trump 2016” chalk across their campus.  But what I see is a candidate who truly stands for what most college students believe in, without a driven enough community to go out and vote for him.

I have never seen Georgia vote blue – the last time was 1992 – which is a major reason that many of us believe that our vote may not matter. In addition to this, Hillary had been slated to win Georgia by remarkable numbers since the beginning of the race, something that did not change on election day. Its an easy cop out for college students to say: “Yeah, I really like Bernie, but I don’t have time to vote. But hey, it’s not a ‘uge deal, right?” As clever as you may think you are, that logic may be what is dragging Bernie down in this race.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging only Bernie voters to go out and vote. I am a firm (and nerdy) believer that voting is a fundamental right and should be practiced by everyone. I do think, however, that the true deficit in voting comes from us, the kids who focus more on numbers and statistical weight of our vote over the passion and desire to provide our opinion in today’s political environment. Its easier than ever for us to write off our vote as unimportant, especially since we can pull up election numbers to the hundredth percent, showing that our candidate probably won’t win. However, a vote is more about giving your say to the future of our country than a statistical advantage to either candidate.

Take Wyoming for example. Bernie Sanders won the caucus’s popular vote by a crushing 12 points, ensuring that he should receive more delegates than Hillary Clinton. However, at the end of the caucus, Clinton walked away with 11 delegates to Sanders’ 7. This is a textbook case of feeling as though your vote may have no say. How can a candidate ‘win’ a caucus still receive less delegates than the losing candidate? The issue allows college students to lose hope in the system, writing it off as ‘rigged’ and not even bothering to fix it. And that’s the main issue.

Killer Mike introducing Bernie in Atlanta (he’s also telling you to vote)

Here at Tech, I see that none of us are really adamant enough to force the issue, to go out and vote and attend protests and rallies in order to show how strongly we feel about this issue. In this election, and in this year especially, every vote is going to be crucial. No matter who you think is right, what you want for our country, or who you think will bring about the best changes to our country, never believe you are at a statistical disadvantage. Do what I had to do: override those driven thoughts and go out and vote in this next election. Make your voice heard, regardless of what it may be.

And don’t worry if you missed the primary. October 11, 2016 is the last day to register to be able to vote in the Georgia general election, so go put your vote in where it counts.

Georgia Tech