Take advantage of battleground status
America’s two main presidential candidates visit Minnesota on the same day that early and absentee voting begins.
Welcome to the official sign that Minnesota has gone from blue/purple to a legitimate battleground state, at least in 2020.
Last week’s dueling visits from Democrat Joe Biden (in Duluth) and Republican Donald Trump (in Bemidji) show both parties see Minnesota as vital to collecting the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.
Based on the roughly century’s worth of experience this editorial board has watching Minnesota politics, it’s the first time in living memory that Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes are truly up for grabs.
As a state, let’s not waste this opportunity.
No, that does not mean make sure the state goes (insert your favorite color here.) Rather, it means making the most of the opportunities to shape the future when presidential tickets come to our state. That means doing more than waving placards and commenting on Facebook.
While always at or close to the top of the nation in voter turnout, Minnesota now has its first real chance in a long while to show its residents are about more than just pulling a lever and collecting that “I Voted” sticker.
Ask real questions, if you get that chance. Put campaign staffers on the spot – even your side. Make sure they earn your vote by some virtue other than being on the “right” (or left) side.
Minnesotans should dig into actual information, not slogans or memes, about the presidential race. There’s much to learn beyond the top-level “I love/hate him” rhetoric. And not just about their favorite candidate, but their opponent as well. Open your inputs to new, credible sources of information and learn in detail about the candidates’ past actions as well as how those match up with the promises they’re making in the next 40 days.
Don’t just learn where Trump and Biden stand on specific issues. Learn why they take those stands — and then check their recent records to see if their actions follow suit.
With this new status as a battleground, we’ve gained the attention of the major parties’ tops-of-the-ticket. With that attention comes a responsibility to ask all the questions and demand all of the details we have for years wished voters of other states would ask on our behalf.
And while you’re at it, you might as well do similar research on the many other races on the ballot. From school board seats to state legislators, the 2020 Election Day ballot is loaded with decisions for you to make — the impacts of which will last from two to six years.
Only then should you cast your ballot.
— St. Cloud Times