“I voted in 2020 when it mattered.”
“Why should I vote here when I’m not from here?”
“The Democrats are going to win in Maine, so my vote doesn’t matter.”
We’ve heard it all. Throughout the country, Democratic candidates have been dragged down by an enthusiasm gap following record turnout and engagement in 2020. Volunteer numbers, donations and people’s desire to vote are down nationwide. Nevertheless, although Donald Trump’s name isn’t on the ballot, the country continues to tout his treatment of others and way of leading the nation.
Voters turned out in droves in 2020 to prevent another four years of our nation’s most divisive, disrespectful and destructive president in recent memory. As a result, we elected a president who has made good on countless promises that he made to the American people on the campaign trail. Over the past 21 months, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the Democratic-led House and Senate have made impressive strides toward a more just, equal, democratic and green America. Despite the challenges facing the country today, we can find hope in the many hardworking people moving our country towards a future that uplifts everyone, not just a wealthy minority.
Although national elections tend to get most of the attention, the most important elections for many Bowdoin voters this November are at the state level. The College is located in Maine’s solidly Democratic first U.S. House District, where Rep. Chellie Pingree looks poised to beat out her Republican challenger—as long as people like you turn out to vote. Bowdoin students will also see State Senator Matthea Daughtry, the owner of Brunswick’s Moderation Brewing, on their ballot, along with either Poppy Arford or Dan Ankeles for State Representative. All of these excellent candidates have the endorsement of the Bowdoin Democrats.
However, the most consequential race on this ballot for Bowdoin students voting in Maine is the gubernatorial race. Incumbent Governor Janet Mills is facing former Governor Paul LePage, who has called himself “Trump before Donald Trump became popular” and claimed that people of color are “the enemy.” While Governor Mills has invested in renewable energy, energy efficiency measures and other environmental protections, Paul LePage has advocated against building electric car charging stations and doesn’t think solar energy is worth the investment. When pressed during the first gubernatorial debate whether he would support further restrictions on abortion as governor, he spent three minutes pretending not to know what a restriction was, while Governor Mills firmly stated that she would oppose any further restrictions on Maine women’s right to choose.
In short, this gubernatorial election is a decision about the future that we want for our home and adopted state. Whether you will be here for the next seven months, the next three and a half years or the rest of your life, the outcome of this race impacts you more directly than you may realize. With Mills elected, we get a future that protects our coastline, forests, mountains and people from devastating climate change; a future that protects our students’ right to learn; a future that protects Mainer rights to affordable health care, including access to abortions and government services.
With Paul LePage, we would be going against the science on climate change issues, risking possible restrictions on voting processes and reproductive healthcare and inviting blatantly xenophobic immigration policies. For us, the decision seems obvious: the Bowdoin Democrats endorse Janet Mills to be Maine’s next governor.
While recent polling may lead Democrats to believe that Mills is a shoe-in and that they do not need to vote, polls have been notoriously unreliable in recent elections. Maine has one of the most dramatic examples of this: in 2020, polls predicted Sara Gideon would beat Sen. Susan Collins by two points, but Gideon lost by nine. Voters should know now more than ever that we cannot afford to be complacent. Voters should not let apathetic feelings around the election and voting in general get in the way of ensuring an outcome for this election that directly impacts your life.
So please do yourself a favor and go vote on November 8. Vote like your life depends on it. Vote Blue. We won’t go back!
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Brunswick Junior High School. You can register there with your student ID. Bowdoin Votes is running shuttles to the polls every 15 minutes, all day long.
Ryan Kovarovics, Julia Katherine Fiori, Eliza Schotten, Gracie Loney and Gwen Gleason are leaders of the Bowdoin Democrats. This piece reflects their views and does not represent the views of Bowdoin College or the Bowdoin Orient.