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The 2018 Midterms: a midterm you shouldn’t dread

Democrat Katie Porter:

As the midterms draw near, citizens across the country are preparing to vote in this year’s high-stakes elections. For the first time in two years, people across the country are being given the chance to voice their dissatisfaction with the current Trump administration and put a stop to its destructive agenda. At stake is the very future of Earth, with President Trump’s denial of climate change and the withdrawal from the Paris agreements axing any hope we had to meet the 12-year goal necessary to ensure humanity’s future. Also at stake are a tax bill that not only increased taxes for California households but also eliminated the individual mandate and increased healthcare premiums for poor and disadvantaged groups, and the opportunity to reject those complicit with the brutal and inhuman separation of families at the border.

Should Democrats win 23 key battleground states across the country, national projections indicate they would be able to take back the House. One such battleground district is California’s 45th congressional district, where Democrat Katie Porter is challenging Republican incumbent Mimi Walters for the seat that represents Irvine and Lake Forest. Despite the traditional “right-lean” of Orange County, a changing demographic and an influx of Asian-Americans and minorities has rocked the boat, which allowed Hillary Clinton to win five more points than Trump in 2016. In addition to the demographic change, the affluent suburbia that once voted overwhelmingly for Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan has become increasingly alienated by Trump. Mimi Walters’ policies and 99 percent Trump alignment rating, then, have demonstrated that she no longer represents the district that she was elected to serve.

Katie Porter, despite the pejorative “higher taxes, open borders,” understands the pulse of Orange County. A UC Irvine law professor, she actually lives in the district (a condition Walters, curiously, does not meet) and has significant experience defending consumers for encroaching corporate interests. While Walters enthusiastically voted to repeal state tax deductions that made Californians’ bills go up, Porter has pledged to repeal the disastrous tax bill that not only threatens to throw our country into a dangerous inflationary gap but also serves to magnify the class disparity in America.

In addition to demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of basic economics, Mimi Walters proudly wears an “A” rating from the NRA and pockets thousands of donations from them. Having refused to hold an in-person town hall in over a year, she once infamously ran (yes, ran) away from a concerned mother asking if she would pledge to stop accepting donations from that heinous organization. In a district with a demographic similar to that of Parkland and massive grassroots energy following those atrocities, it is unthinkable that Walters would choose to support a bill that would allow people with concealed carry permits in other states to bring their assault and automatic weapons to California.

There are many more issues that Walters seems to fundamentally misunderstand and to which Porter has an innovative and unique answer. To go into each and every one of them would exceed the length requirements of this article; many of them don’t fall into neat soundbites about “freedom” or “jobs” as the Republican party believes. The world is complicated, and a call to technocratic, knowledgeable dialogue is not equivalent to censorship or silence. Instead, to simply posit that some issues are outside the expertise of the “average American” or run contrary to individual incentives in favor of the collective good (see: the gas tax) are not an overwhelming rejection of any discussion. Instead, it is simply a call to rely on facts, science and statistical studies instead of emotions and nationalist rhetoric. Freedom of speech is not freedom-of-consequence speech—to defend racist or sexist rhetoric should be disdained upon; and if such positions don’t fit those categorizations, then it should be easy for the individuals proposing them to defend why they aren’t. Voters everywhere realized that freedom of speech wasn’t consequence-free after Nov. 2016, and this fall, voters have an opportunity to make up for staying silent then by having their voices heard now—one collective blue wave denouncing scientific and economic illiteracy, racism, xenophobia and the despostic destruction of democracy that has manifested under the current administration and Tsar Cheeto.

Republican Mimi Walters:

I never wanted to write this article. It might be the worst decision of my life. People would never treat me the same if I put my name on this article. But I had to speak out about the poison running through the veins of our school. The toxicity of Northwood’s environment is brewing in a witches’ pot, and we keep drinking in the sludge of ignorance, belittling those who have differing opinions. We have to go through this litmus test of being red or blue, and if we are red, we are disdained as outcasts. It is not only Northwood’s environment, but also that caused by the outside media, where the addicting television screens and news sources have stuffed us with a one sided story. And when people bring up a different view on immigration or gun rights, the liberals put duct tape on our mouths. They say our opinions are wrong because our arguments are evil for humanity. They say we can’t speak or else we are politically incorrect. They call us racists and homophobes without knowing who we are. We are human. What has happened to democracy? What has happened to freedom of speech? This is what drew me to write this article.

A few weeks ago, on Saturday Night Live, Kanye West appeared on the sketch show to perform his latest songs. Most of his acts were horrible, except for the final one: his rant about being pro-Trump. He described the situation in America right now: “it seems so one sided.” And what Kanye West said is true. The media and their peers have made Democrats more confident in speaking out, but have also made Republicans feel like outsiders, making it less likely that they talk about their beliefs. For the midterms, that needs to change! Although you may feel alone in the vast blue sea, know that there are others who also agree with your beliefs.

Don’t be afraid to put down Mimi Walters on your ballot this November. There are others who agree with you that there should be lower taxes on small businesses. There are others who agree with you that illegal immigration needs to be strongly enforced by the country. There are others who believe Brett Kavanaugh should be on the Supreme Court. If you vote for Mimi Walters, she will allow for us to continue to have these important conversations, but if Katie Porter is elected, you will feel like a stranger again in our changing country and will continue to fuel the engine that creates ignorance in students’ minds.

I support Mimi Walters and hope that all who have similar opinions have the courage to speak up. Many still wonder why Hillary Clinton lost to Trump. Some pin the donkey’s tail to Russian collusion, but in fact, those who stayed silent came out, allowing for Trump to be elected. It’s time to not stay silent anymore. We need to speak out. Like West said in his speech on SNL: “we should have a dialogue.” We need to clean our minds of the mentality of there being only one right answer on important issue and talk with people to see their different perspectives. Don’t be afraid of others calling you names; do what you think is right, and people will see the truth, because if you never forget who you are, then no one can hurt you.