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After every Election Day, one side is left bitter and recuperating. Yet after Nov. 8,  no matter who wins, I think all Americans will be licking their wounds and reflecting on what a disastrous election season this has been for our country.

This election cycle has seen our civil society’s dialogue sink to previously unimaginable levels. The most brutal of insults are hurled with ease. Accusations of corruption, racism and treason are batted back and forth without batting an eye between Trump and Clinton as well as between their supporters. The contest in 2012 between President Obama and Mitt Romney looks truly snooze-worthy in comparison.

In recent years, many have pointed out the coarsening of our politics. There are many factors to blame that range from a 24-hour news cycle focused on the “he said, she said” to a disdain by elites for the people they are meant to serve. These lead to demagogues running amok and hyper-partisanship that overtakes problem-solving.

As a statewide Electoral College nominee for the Republican Party of Virginia, a member of Governor Kasich’s Virginia team this cycle and before that an active youth leader in the Democratic Party, I’ve seen my own fair share of political battles. And I have to say, that since I first became significantly involved back circa 2005, things have sunk relentlessly further.

This mud fight only takes place because we citizens allow it to. When citizens take a greater responsibility in rewarding those who stand upright, and punish at the ballot box those who exploit simplifications and our vulnerabilities, we will see a better country.

And do we need it. The challenges of the 21st century will challenge us like never before. Whether it be our increasingly automated economy or the coalescing “evil empire” alliance between Russia, China, Iran, etc., we need a government and society ready to discuss, plan for and confront those challenges head on.

Erich Reimer

Republican Party of Virginia Electoral College nominee

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