With a mere two weeks remaining until November’s midterm election, Lizzy Diaz admits she has some research to do.
While she spends much time vetting presidential candidates, those serving in other offices — including city, state and congressional seats — aren’t always on her radar, the 27-year-old Goshen resident said.
“I’m realizing, especially with this presidency, how important it is to learn more and be more responsible with elections at the local and other levels,” she said.
Were she to head to the polls tomorrow, Diaz worries her vote might not represent her knowledge of the candidates, but rather her views on what she’s overheard in conversation.
Take the upcoming Senate race pitting Democrat Joe Donnelly against Republican Mike Braun, for example. Diaz said she’s most likely to skip past both well-known names and vote instead for Libertarian Lucy Brenton.
“My gut reaction without knowing them … I would probably vote for the woman, but I don’t have any understanding of her, what her policy is, and that might not be a good way to vote,” she said. “But there’s lots of people who vote that way.”
Although she’s not well-informed about Mel Hall and hopes to learn more before Election Day, Diaz said she does plan to support him over longtime Rep. Jackie Walorski.
“I feel like she’s a very difficult person to interact with,” Diaz said of Walorski. “I know in a lot of groups that I’ve been a part of over the past few years while working on immigration issues and other things, there’s been quite a few times where people have wanted to meet with her and she hasn’t made herself available.
“She doesn’t seem accessible, especially on issues that she’s not in favor of, and I don’t think that’s a good quality in a representative.”
As she considers which candidate to select, Diaz said she’s likely to ask the same questions of congressional and local representatives as she does of presidential candidates.
Who is most focused on equality? Whose education policy best aligns with hers? And most importantly, who will defend the rights of immigrants who, like her Mexican parents, sought a better life in the United States?
“I’d definitely say immigration is on the top of my list with everything that’s happening now,” she said, pausing the clarify that the issues surrounding immigration are nothing new. “All of these injustices have happened because of a broken immigration system have been happening forever and people are just starting to notice.”
And President Trump isn’t making that better, she added.
Diaz said she’s hopeful that the so-called Democratic “blue wave” will result in a power shift in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
“I struggle with voting by party, but I do feel like at least right now my values and my thoughts on different things align more with Democrats,” she said. “It might be that Democrats are becoming more progressive or more liberal as a consequence of the conservativism of Republicans.”
A movement like that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Latina who ousted 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District, gives Diaz hope.
“There are more young people who are going out to run for positions that I think are important. I’m not just going to vote for them because they are young people, but because they are coming out with fresh ideas,” Diaz said. “It’s not even just that they’re young, it’s that they’re people of color which we also need more of in politics.”
While she’s eyeing a change, Diaz said she won’t be bothered if it isn’t in the form of a party shift.
“More than a ‘blue wave,’ I’m hoping for a new wave of thought coming in.”