If you haven’t done so already, please vote. Even if it’s inconvenient, even if you’re not excited about the candidates, even if you’re fed up with the toxic politics in Washington. This is no time to ignore your most fundamental and crucial civic responsibility.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this is one of the most important elections in modern times. Hate-filled rhetoric and incendiary language are energizing violent extremists. An untrustworthy and reckless president blithely tweets while important democratic institutions are undermined on his watch, international treaties are abrogated and trade deals tossed out. Congress, controlled by Republicans, is so consumed by partisanship and enmity that it can no longer function as a reasonable check on executive power.
Things are bad. Although this page ordinarily urges voters to consider the merits of candidates individually without regard to party, this is an extraordinary situation. The president is a dangerous demagogue; Congress, under GOP rule, has repeatedly failed to challenge him or call him out for his misbehavior.
The Times has not endorsed in any congressional races this year, so we cannot say for certain that one candidate is more worthy than another in your district. But we can say that Trump’s ability to carry out the most dangerous parts of his platform may turn on which party controls Congress. For that reason, voters as they go to the polls should think not just about the individuals running to represent them, but also about the country as a whole. As you vote, think about the dangers of a Congress that is in the pocket of Trump, and the benefits of a Congress that stands up to demagoguery and speaks out for democracy and the rule of law.
Voters can potentially curb the worst impulses of the president and his complicit GOP allies on Nov. 6 — but only if they show up and only if they put the best interests of the country first.
Californians might think that in this deeply liberal state that there’s less at stake than elsewhere. But of the 435 House seats up for election, 53 are in California districts and 14 are toss-ups.
In some parts of the country, it will be a challenge to get to the polls on Tuesday. Elections officials in some states such as Georgia and Kansas have taken steps to make it harder for low-income and minority voters to participate, such as purging voter rolls, delaying new voter registrations and relocating polling places. California’s lawmakers and elections officials have gone the opposite way, working to remove obstacles to voting by waiving postage for mail-in ballots and allowing those who miss the registration deadline to sign up and vote as late as election day.
Voting by mail now or turning out on Tuesday, instead of sitting out the election as many did in 2016, could avoid a repeat of the disastrous 2016 results.