As the Feb. 7 caucuses approach, I am confronted with a serious problem. On the federal level, I believe in small government and protection of individual liberty. On the state level, I consider myself a progressive. Instead of forcing progressivism across the nation, a better solution would be to allow progressive states to adopt progressive policies at the state level and let the results speak for themselves before such programs are considered at the federal level. It’s much harder to argue with proven results than argue over ideological differences of the role of government.
This leads to my dilemma — do I attend the GOP caucus in order to voice my support for the GOP candidate who has put forth effort to capture the youth vote, Ron Paul? Or do I attend the DFL caucus in order to support a voice for students found in Mike Griffin? Both are a departure from the status quo.
Frankly, I feel disenfranchised. Why should I only be able to have input in selecting nominees for a single party? It doesn’t seem very democratic to be forced into the establishment’s box. Ideally, I’d like to see the process changed so that I can support candidates regardless of party affiliation. In a perfect world, I would caucus for the progressive candidate that best represents me locally and a libertarian candidate federally.
However, an attempt to fix the system won’t change much before next Tuesday’s caucuses, leaving me with an important decision to make. My conclusion is that I will be attending the DFL caucus this year, because ultimately state and local politics have much more influence on my day-to-day life than national politics.
Things that many students cope with on a regular basis are decided at the local level — including things that hit me harder than a small change to my federal income tax rate. For example, the maximum towing fees are set by the city of Minneapolis, and the state government regulates fishing licenses.
While I do not wish to slight Ron Paul, I hope to urge independent students who make political choices based on more than simply party affiliation to turn out for Mike Griffin at the DFL caucus Feb. 7. Any candidate who targets youth voters is worthy of support in my book, but I feel that securing the DFL nomination for Griffin will bring more immediate results to the day-to-day lives of students.