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OpinionColumnistsMichael Dobie

Now it is really up to the voters

If the divisiveness in our nation doesn’t motivate you to vote, then what does?

Voters cast their ballots early for the midterm

Voters cast their ballots early for the midterm elections in Noblesville, Indiana, on Tuesday. Photo Credit: AP / Michael Conroy

Given that we live at a time when:

  • Republicans across the country are aggressively trying to prevent some Americans from voting — in Ohio, North Dakota, Arizona, North Carolina, Texas and Florida, and in Georgia, where new registrations from 53,000 mostly African-American voters were blocked by the secretary of state, who also happens to be the GOP candidate for governor who also happens to have an African-American woman as his Democratic opponent;
  • A 10 percent tax cut for the middle class, which should have been the point of last year’s Republican federal tax-cut package but was not, suddenly is spun out of whole cloth by President Donald Trump in the heat of the midterm campaign as a supposed priority to get done before Congress even was due to come back in session, without the apparent knowledge of White House officials or Republican leaders in Congress;
  • A Central American caravan headed for the border includes thousands of migrants who are, depending on your point of view, an onslaught of gang members and Middle Easterners bent on terrorism and paid by Democrats or refugees from violence and economic deprivation in their home countries who are so poor they are getting handouts from equally impoverished Mexicans as they walk;
  • The nation is struggling to recover from a season of severe storms made worse by warmer oceans and warmer air while the Trump administration continues to pursue policies that will exacerbate those effects;
  • Some Democrats are calling for Trump’s impeachment even before special counsel Robert Mueller finishes his investigation, while many Republicans will not exercise even a modicum of oversight on the administration;
  • The administration continues to roll back environmental safeguards that will, depending on your point of view, harm people’s health and warm the Earth even faster or free fossil fuel companies from burdensome regulations that hurt their bottom lines;
  • Republicans now say they will protect pre-existing conditions when many of them either voted dozens of times in Congress to revoke Obamacare and its guarantee of coverage for pre-existing conditions or sued to kill the law;
  • The administration is considering legally invalidating the existence of 1.4 million transgender Americans and removing protections from discrimination by declaring that gender is determined by one’s sex assignment at birth;
  • Republican leaders in the Senate now admit that of course they’ll be going after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to address the deficit exploded by the tax cuts they approved last year, even as Trump declares falsely that it’s Democrats who want to destroy those programs;
  • The confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was a deplorable process that either unfairly tarred a good man with unfounded accusations of sexual abuse or unfairly rejected the honest testimony of a woman who had been sexually abused;
  • Trump calls opponents evil and enemies of the people and engages in name-calling, and some opponents increasingly encourage a similar gutter-style war of words;
  • Bomb throwing is no longer just a metaphor, explosive devices are mailed to Democratic leaders and Trump critics around the country, envelopes sent to the Pentagon contained the castor seeds from which the poison ricin is made, and Republicans are assailed in restaurants;
  • Vitriol begets violence, Trump refuses to acknowledge his role in fostering this den of venom, and most Americans on both sides yearn for a cessation of hostilities from all sides.

Given all that, and given that you have a role to play, if you don’t vote on Nov. 6, when will you?

Michael Dobie is a member of Newsday’s editorial board.

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