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Voting is Power

Opinion, Politics

Written and submitted by: Gilmer GOP – Reece Sanford

On November 3 rd , 2020, Americans will go to the polls to vote for the President of the United States.
Election Day is an event that has occurred every four years in our nation since the first Presidential
election in the winter of 1788-1789. Through world wars, pandemics, civil unrest, recessions,
depressions, and even the Civil War, Americans have gone to the polls every four years to elect a
national leader. After so many elections, it might be easy to view this event as routine as the changing of
the seasons. However, we should not take the right to vote for granted. Our Founding Fathers revolted
over “taxation without representation.” They understood the importance of having influence over those
who governed them. Throughout time and history, millions, perhaps billions, of people have not had a
say in their government. But in America, every citizen regardless of gender, race, religion, education, or
income has a right to select their representatives. This right should not be taken lightly. As the human
rights activist Loung Ung once said, “Voting is not only our right – it is our power.”

This summer I read “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty” by Daron
Acemoglu and James A. Robinson. The book theorizes that a nation is on the path to failure when its
political institutions fail to include large groups of the nation’s people. When the politics of the nation
are controlled by the elite, then inevitably the economic institutions will eventually cater to the elite at
the expense of those who are excluded from the nation’s politics. When politics exclude the average
person, eventually the elite, whether they be nobles or simply bureaucrats, will use their power to take
economic resources from the common man. This taking is called economic extraction. Economic
extraction has played out time and time again throughout history. Today, the US is exceptional because
it has been the most politically inclusive nation in the history of the world. As time has passed, the
nation has become more and more inclusive. When people are permitted to participate in their nation’s
politics, they will find themselves able to succeed economically. If you can count on the government to
protect your property rights, you can have confidence to take economic risks. This form of government
is why the US has found so much economic success. We are truly blessed to live in a nation like America.

While everyone has a right to vote in America, not everyone exercises that right. A vote is a horrible
thing to waste. A vote gives you a voice, but when you choose not to vote, you choose to silence
yourself. History has shown how the powerful can abuse the voiceless. Our Founding Fathers revolted
from a nation with a poor history of protecting the weak from the powerful. For centuries, English
peasants were the majority population, but they found themselves voiceless and defenseless against the
powerful English royals and nobles. The common people suffered under centuries of high taxes and
flimsy at best property rights. Without a doubt, English peasants suffered from economic extraction.
This system was forced upon them by a government empowered by force, not democracy. These people
would have held the right to vote in great esteem, but their political system was not inclusive. If millions
of people choose not to vote, our political systems become exclusive by choice. If you do not vote, you
are unable to ensure that your elected officials represent your best interests. If this happens, you too
could experience economic extraction.

If elected, Joe Biden and the Democrats will practice economic extraction and make our political system
less inclusive. Mr. Biden’s economic plan calls for a radical increase in corporate taxes and dividend
taxes. In many cases, the combined effect will be the government laying claim to 56 cents of a dollar of
profit earned. You need to understand that taxation is not creation. New money is not created when the
government taxes. They are simply taking a dollar from your pocket and placing it in their pocket. They
do this because they believe they can spend that dollar more efficiently than you can. This is economic
extraction.

The Democrats will not stop at economic extraction. They will move to practice political exclusion. For
years, Democrats have expressed their desire to abolish the Electoral College in favor of a nationwide
popular vote. Our Founding Fathers opposed a nationwide popular vote because they understood that
the Electoral College was the only way to protect the voice of citizens in small town America. If a
nationwide popular vote determined the President, a candidate could strictly campaign to the major
population centers in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Seattle, and San Diego. The
population is so large in these cities that the people in these metropolises could determine an election
on their own. If this were the case, politicians would cater to these communities and ignore the needs of
small towns across the country. If the Electoral College were abolished, small town America would lose
its voice. If small town America lost its voice, how much more economic extraction would we face?

This election is very important. Do not think that you are just one person in a nation of 329 million
people. Your one vote has more value than you think. In America, we effectively do not have a national
Presidential election. Truly, the Electoral College is the sum of 50 statewide elections. Electoral votes
represent points earned across 50 statewide elections. Realizing this, Georgia’s conservatives must focus
on the outcome in Georgia. We cannot fall into the trap of believing that Georgia is a lock for President
Trump. For the past decade, Georgia’s elections have been trending in the wrong direction for
Republicans. Early in the 2010s, Republicans could count on 53% of the vote in Georgia. Nathan Deal
(2010 and 2014), Mitt Romney (2012), and David Perdue (2014) all won 53% of the vote across the State
of Georgia. This was a sharp drop off from the 2006 Governor’s race where Sonny Perdue won 58% of
the vote. By 2016, the gap had closed even more. Four years ago, President Trump won Georgia with
only 50.4% of the vote. In the 2018 Governor’s race, the election was even closer. Brian Kemp won the
Governor’s Mansion with only 50.2% of the vote, with a winning margin of just 54,723 votes. In Gilmer,
Fannin, Pickens, Dawson, Lumpkin, and Union Counties alone, Governor Kemp received 60,117 votes. In
each of these counties, he received at least 79% of votes cast. Kemp won similar amounts of the vote
throughout the counties that make up the 9 th and 14 th Congressional districts – the rural north Georgia
districts. Conversely, Fulton and Dekalb Counties alone cast a combined 567,991 votes for Stacey
Abrams representing 30% of her total votes. To overcome the Atlanta vote and prevent the Democrats
from overtaking Georgia, it is going to take the combined efforts of every small town in this state.

Sadly, Georgia has become a battleground state. If people in rural north Georgia stay at home, Georgia
is an attainable victory for any Democrat. This year’s election is projected to be very close. If President
Trump loses the Peach State, Georgia’s sixteen electoral college votes very well could be the reason he
loses the election. Moreover, we have two US Senate seats currently held by Republicans up for election
this year. Republicans have a slim majority in the US Senate but losing the two Georgia seats could hand
the Senate to the Democrats. It is possible that the State of Georgia could hand control of the White
House and the US Senate to the Democrats. North Georgia, we cannot let that happen.
It is my hope that you understand how important it is that you vote this year. You do not need to stop
there though. Once you vote, you need to make sure your friends and family vote. North Georgia
conservatives need to realize that a Republican victory in Georgia is no longer a given. Do not assume
everyone votes. We must be more active as our counties could very well decide who governs our
country for the next four years. Our community must have a strong voter turnout. Early voting will last
until October 30 th . Saturday voting is on October 24 th . If you would like to vote by mail, you must apply
for your ballot by October 30 th . This should be done as soon as possible and can be done online or
through the mail. Finally, in person voting on Election Day will take place on November 3 rd from 7 AM to
7 PM at your assigned polling station. To find your polling station, please visit  mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.

Please share this information with your friends. Voter turnout in our community could determine this election.
The Gilmer County Republican Party is ready and willing to help you feel comfortable voting this year. Should
you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the party through our website or Facebook page.
This year, our nation is given a choice between the party of freedom and the party of economic
extraction. Elections are determined by those who show up. North Georgia, can we count on you to
show up for Republicans this fall? God Bless!

Reece Sanford

Chairman of The Gilmer Trump Campaign, a subcommittee of the Gilmer County Republican Party
Reece Sanford, CFA is the Chairman of The Gilmer Trump Campaign, Assistant Secretary –
Communications of the Gilmer County Republican Party, and a native of Ellijay, GA. He holds a BBA in
Finance from The University of Georgia and an MBA from Kennesaw State University. Mr. Sanford also
holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. He is a career community banker currently
working in small business lending. He has served on the boards of several non-profits throughout north
Georgia. He has served as Youth Engagement Director of the Gilmer County Republican Party, holds an
advisory role with a trade association Political Action Committee, and has consulted on multiple political
campaigns. He and his wife, Kerri Ann, enjoy spending their free time exploring north Georgia, running,
traveling, and cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are strictly those of the author. They do not necessarily
reflect the views of the Republican Party, its members, any other organization the author may be
associated with, nor his family members.

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