Beyond Trump and Clinton – Ballot Measures as True Change Agents

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Beyond Trump and Clinton – Ballot Measures as True Change Agents

people voting

While US Elections Capture Public Attention, Important Issues are Being Decided Locally

Ballot Measures: The Ultimate Power Play

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, WikiLeaks, FBI, emails, at times it seems like the 2016 US Presidential election has become as surreal as a movie script. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if Hollywood was already working on its next election-themed blockbuster.

The US Presidential election has become one of the most contentious elections in American history. Former friends have become enemies; family members are engaged in a mini civil war and each side is threatening to “burn down the country” if they lose. It is enough to make a US citizen want to pack up and head out to some exotic, deserted island until the dust settles. However, if we consider the 157 ballot measures awaiting approval, we can still catch a glimpse of the eternal flame of self-determination that has shaped America since its founding.

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. (Image: Caricatures by DonkeyHotey on Flickr through Creative Commons)

Potentially Life-Changing Ballot Measures

1. Marijuana
In 2012, Colorado and Washington were the first states in America to legalize recreational marijuana. The results have been hugely successful, especially in Colorado which reaped so much in tax revenue that the state had to turn to the voters once more to decide how to allocate the excess funds. This year, Maine, Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada will seek to join the ‘legalization club’, and North Dakota, Arkansas, Montana and Florida will ask voters to approve the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. If all ballot measures pass, recreational or medical marijuana will be legal in a total of 25 states, half the country.

2. Carbon Tax
While various nations continue to argue and make declarations about how to save the environment, Washington may become the first state to actually implement its own carbon tax. As proposed in this ballot, companies would be taxed according to the amount of carbon dioxide they emit. Surprisingly, this ballot measure isn’t sailing through smoothly, which is odd for a state known for its commitment to environmental sustainability. The difficulty seems to be centered around the question of how to spend the tax revenues, an issue which has created more opposition than support.

3. Animal Rights
The US Humane Society, as well as local animal rights activists have devoted considerable amounts of resources to ensure the passage of a specific Massachusetts ballot measure. This law would essentially ban farm operators from confining animals and fowls by requiring the provision of a basic minimum space for each animal. According to this proposal, each animal should have enough room to move around, lie down, stand up and turn around. To many, this may seem like a minor issue, but producers and manufacturers are fighting the measure, claiming that it will make food more expensive.

Taking a Closer look at the Big Picture

While the tension between political candidates and parties is reaching its peak, and stress levels are running high, it’s important to remember that the ‘big picture’ is made up of smaller details. These details too can be influenced by US citizens and affect their everyday lives.