Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. As an Oklahoman, I would define insanity as “keep voting the same officers and expecting change.” Most Oklahomans voice their disapproval of career politicians like Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, and President Joe Biden, but it seems that same sentiment will disappear once the name is on the Sooner State ballot. Officials like retired Senator Jim Inhofe and current Congressman Frank Lucas have spent 26 and 28 years, respectively, representing Oklahoma on the national stage. So how come many of Oklahoma’s legislators have careers spanning decades when their constituents are voicing career politicians?
After discussions with many other Oklahoma residents, it boils down to a common answer: familiarity. Researching challengers can be a daunting task, especially when some primaries can have up to 5+ candidates competing for the same seat. Sure, many Oklahomans might disagree with the views of many of their representatives, but at least it’s a familiar face.
With the June 28th primaries just around the corner, I wanted to give you a few tips to make your candidate search a little easier.
• Actions speak louder than words: Every candidate makes campaign claims and promises that sound amazing, but do their actions reflect that? Every politician who was previously in office has an election record. You can use these records to find out whether MPs kept the promises they made to their constituents. A great site to use is www.govtrack.us.
• Follow the money and see where it goes: The Federal Electoral Commission tracks every donation made to a candidate. Do you want to know who can have power over an agent? Check the FEC database to see who donates to campaigns. Interest groups, companies and political action committees exert great influence on future legislation through financial contributions.
• What does it look like at home: The simplest yet most important measure is self-reflection. During the time your representative has been in office, has the situation in your state, county, county, or hometown improved? If so, then maybe it’s best if they win re-election. If no, it may be time to look for other candidates.
Overall, it hurts the future of our state that Oklahomans are uninformed when they enter the booth in a few weeks. I pray that all Oklahomans will research the candidates on their ballots and be ready by June 28th. Our brightest days are yet to come. I hope to see you at the elections!
Cailby Perez lives in Cheyenne, Oklahoma.