With elected officials passing more laws that overlook women and workers, one might assume their opinions reflect those of the voters they represent. Not so, show results from a recent national poll. In fact, the vast majority of influential voters want to vote for a president who prioritizes balancing family needs with workplace policies.
In North Carolina, the minimum wage is too low to support a family; workers aren’t guaranteed family or sick leave; and high quality childcare is inaccessible for most low-wage employees. Despite those facts, lawmakers spent the budget session dismantling programs that could help those in need and working to decrease worker rights.
The Rising American Electorate (RAE) is expected by many to be the most influential group of voters in the next election. This population is made up of Millennials, people of color, and unmarried women — in short those most affected by regressive policies that place corporations’’ rights over those of workers. The recent poll, conducted by the Make it Work campaign, a national organization, asked RAE voters about their priorities when choosing the next president.
More than half of RAE voters think the government should intervene in the overwhelming cost of childcare, and 68% say they would vote for a presidential candidate who supported a plan to expand family leave policies and increase worker wages.
With such overwhelming evidence, why aren’t lawmakers listening? Why do we still face challenges to food stamps, healthcare, and fair pay?
In short, it’s because our elected officials think we aren’t watching.
Every time a law that marginalized the poor gets passed in the middle of the night, those who sign off on it think they’ve gotten a win. Each time a ballot gets punched for a candidate who disregards women’s or workers rights, that candidate thinks they’ve received an endorsement from their entire district.
It’s time to prove these misguided officials wrong. We must show them they do not represent us or our needs. The numbers are on our side. Eighty-four percent of RAE voters want expansion of policies that protect workers and help families. We must not be overlooked.
The first step is to contact those who represent you. Email the governor, call your elected officials, attend a town council meeting, or stop by your rep’s district office. Too often those in charge only hear from those with money, power, and time. We must help them remain in contact with all who they represent, not just the privileged.
Past that we must talk to our friends, volunteer in political campaigns, and spread the word. When an issue bothers you, tell someone. Share the message. Change starts from small groups and expands outward. Join an AdvaNCe team if you are looking for a community of like-minded women who seek to affect change.
Finally, we must vote, and we must encourage our friends to vote. This single action is among the most important we can perform as Americans. It’s our right, and our duty. By voting we show that we will not be overlooked and we will not allow regressive policies to be passed by those who represent us.