Finding Your Political Compass

If you hadn’t heard, we’re in the middle of a presidential race. Oh you had heard? Yeah, that makes sense since IT’S ALL ANYONE HAS HEARD FOR THE LAST 18 MONTHS. Ahem. So yeah, that’s happening. But at the end of the day, it’s really not about voting left or right. It’s not even about the current Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. It really should be, quite simply, about the issues. Yeah that might sound a little naive and simplistic, but at the end of the day hopefully that’s what you’re voting for. Maybe you’ve figured out a way to tune out the noise (and there’s a hell of a lot of noise) and focus on what’s important. But if not, hat’s what we’re here to help you out with.

Some of the issues may be very important to you (and you mention them whenever you can), but maybe others of you haven’t quite figured out yet where you stand. Maybe, some of you haven’t even given a moment of thought to where you stand and why. That's cool too. But, in an election year that has surprised, possibly disgusted, and at the very least engrossed the nation (and the world), we now have a handy way of figuring out where we stand, literally, issue by issue.

Say hello to I Side With.

To date, just shy of 41 million people have used the website to find their perfect (ok, sort of perfect, or maybe imperfect) presidential candidate or, at the very least, some kind of voting guide that goes beyond who they are actually putting a mark next to on November 8. All it takes is less than 20 minutes to complete an easy quiz. A rather small investment of time if you care about who’s in the White House next and what sort of impact he or she could have on your life both now and in the future. Plust, it’s not a bad thing to have a few informed-sounding opinions when you’re out and about chatting it up with friends or potential female “friends”.

The I Side With website insists that it is not affiliated with any political party or interest group - and so we’d like to think it’s out to educate you and, of course, to encourage you to actually turn up to the voting booths. In Australia if you don’t vote, you get fined. In America, well, it looks like it might be important to have an opinion on election day - especially with the two candidate cards we’ve been dealt. So even without the fine, let the games begin.

And let’s face it, how much do you really know about campaign finance reform, fracking’s real effects, whether it is important to vote in midterm elections, the non-profit Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission or that Trans-Pacific Partnership you’ve been hearing about? Ok, ok, we agree, that’s a lot. But, it’s easy to boil it down and now’s the time to get clued in.

The quiz has less than 90 questions it spans 11 core issues: Social, Environmental, Economic, Domestic Policy, Healthcare, Electoral, Educational, Foreign Policy, Criminal, Immigration and Science. You can answer a simple yes or no (with more subtle answers also available). If you’re unsure about the category - and want to learn more so you can actually contribute at that dinner party or at the proverbial “water cooler” at work - click on “learn more.” It will spell it out for you perfectly.

The real trick, especially in this election, is to educate yourself on the core issues. The system is basically broken into two big parties, the Republicans and the Democrats with other fringe parties like Libertarian and Green on the outskirts. But, as so many millennials report, these two main tents might not represent you at all. Sometimes the Green Party or the Independents might actually be more up your alley - and so it’s up to you to find out what they believe in and whether you want to align yourself with them, or nobody for that matter.

For example, let’s take health care - how much do you really know about Obamacare? It’s ridiculously complex, don’t you want to know whether or not you want to pay more money? Do you want the state to pay more money? Because in the end it all comes down to how this election will affect your pocket. What about marijuana legalization? Outside of a nice buzz, i’s got huge fiscal impacts, so do you think it should be legal in your state? What we’re trying to say is, knowledge and informed opinions matter. Your vote, whoever it goes to, matters. So here’s your chance. Get political.

I Side With is the most comprehensive portal online, but there are a ton of other great resources that are equally useful:

Rock The Vote - The perfect place to figure out how to register to vote, where to find your nearest polling place, or just to see Kendall Jenner talking about it. Maybe hit the mute button though.

270 To Win - Named after the amount of electoral votes needed to win the election, this iste is great if you’re a visual person. It’s got an interactive map showing how the country is voting state by state as well as curated news and other informative tools.

Your Fucking Polling Place- A super easy (and hilariously named) site where you type in your address and it will tell you (in no uncertain terms) where to cast your vote.

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