My View: Do your research before casting that vote (opinion) |

My View: Do your research before casting that vote (opinion)

Even as the primary season and nominations are all but secure, we are just now entering the political fray.

California is entering our first wave of elections in what has already been a very busy election year. With key initiatives and a slew of candidates on everyone’s ballot, make sure you take the time to educate yourself before you cast your vote.

Visit your county’s website and read through your local measures and details on your prospective candidates. The more educated you can be the better.

Every vote has meaning. Every vote really does matter. From our local issues to the national races, we all have a chance to shape our county, state and Nation’s future.

The California Presidential Primary Election will be on Tuesday, June 7. This is the state’s first entrance into an already tumultuous election cycle.

It is interesting to look back at how we started this presidential election. It is hard to believe that in just a few months, the Republican Party went from 16 candidates, including some major political heavyweights — Bush, Rubio, Christie and Cruz — and settled on one businessman-turned-reality-television-host, Donald Trump.

Despite all of the giggles and jokes directed toward Trump, he has all but secured his party’s nomination, somehow going from a running joke within the party to a frontrunner. He has tapped into something within the Republican Party’s core that has allowed him to surprise nearly everyone. What that special sauce is, I don’t know.

For the Democratic Party, what looked like a peaceful and easy nomination process for Hillary Clinton has become a slog through a constant barrage from Bernie Sanders and his very vocal minority of supporters.

While Clinton will win the nomination — sorry Sanders fans but the numbers don’t lie — it has taken longer and has likely been more damaging for her than the quick and easy process that most were expecting.

What does all of this say about our Nation and about our voting public? It seems to me that a vocal minority is driving the conversation. While that is nothing new, it is more evident this year than normal. Our nomination system is built around the core of the parties. This lends itself to the far right and far left and leaves out much of the center.

Clinton has been pushed into a role as the political insider and face of a party, which is quite remarkable considering just a few decades ago the thought of a woman running for President was unthinkable. Now we might very well have the first President of the United States who is a woman.

While she has some baggage, mainly the email server issues and the possible legality of using a private server for classified communication, she is the most traditional candidate we have this year.

Sanders, who seems to have captured much of the millennial vote, is seen as a political outsider. He is talking about social justice issues and has tapped into the inherent dislike for Wall Street.

The reality, though, is that he is losing. He is trailing Clinton by over 3 million in the popular vote and trailing by 268 delegates, not counting the much-disputed super delegates.

The odds of Sanders winning are slim to none. What he has done is engage the voters. For better or worse, he has started a dialogue about our political system that should have impacts through the next several years.

As a bit of a political nut I find all of this to be very interesting. It is a remarkable year and one that is certainly entertaining to observe. What will the future mean for us? I don’t know. Who will our next president be? I don’t know. That is part of what makes our election process so amazing.

So please support your candidate, have meaningful and educated conversations about the issues that we face and share your opinions. The more we talk, the more we discuss the better off we will all be.

Most importantly for everyone, please do your research before you cast your vote.

Ben Rogers is the co-general manager and advertising director of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. He can be reached directly at

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