Former World Editor-in-Chief and Political Journalist Gabe Fleisher Talks About Why You Should Vote

Former World Editor-in-Chief and Political Journalist Gabe Fleisher Talks About Why You Should Vote

Sara Cao, A&E Editor

This year has thrown the whole country off of its tracks with simultaneous public health, social, economic, and environmental crises, as well as the upcoming presidential election, which could dramatically change the country’s course as the two very polar candidates face off. JBS ‘20 graduate Gabe Fleisher, now a freshman at Georgetown University, is working hard to accentuate the importance of voting in this election, especially to young people, as we near one of the most crucial turning points in American history on November 3rd.

Fleisher, an experienced voice in politics, has been active in increasing awareness of the political world since 2011, when he started his newsletter, Wake Up to Politics, which has garnered over 50,000 readers from across the country and the world as of now. Since establishing Wake Up to Politics, Gabe has, according to his website, appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR, and has been profiled by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, NBC News, Politico, Columbia Journalism Review, and other news outlets.

Fleisher is still the sole staffer of his newsletter and he has started a podcast on the St. Louis Public Radio. He emphasizes that “a big focus of my newsletter and podcast is helping voters understand the election process and have a sense of the candidates and issues that will be on the ballot in November.” Fleisher’s role has not only remained as a consistent reporter of relevant news and stories, but has also adapted to inspire the younger generation to cast their ballots for the elections. He believes that this election is especially vital due to the multitude of issues that the country is currently facing and he acknowledges the polarity and decisiveness of both the presidential and statewide elections, stating: “On the presidential level, there are two candidates with pretty diametrically opposed philosophies, and the winner will determine which of two fairly different paths the U.S. will go down for the next four years to come. Down the ballot, there are also quite a few races that could be decisive in Missouri: there are some signs that the governor’s race is heating up, while the congressional race in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District is one of the most closely-watched in the country.”

With the coming election exhibiting utmost importance, Fleisher has become involved in multiple new projects alongside his newsletter to urge young voters to turn out at the polls. He has appeared on Jaden Smith’s Snapchat show, “The Solution Committee,” “to talk about the importance of young people voting and taking part in the political process.” He has also, since moving to Washington D.C., been reporting from the Capitol, and as he put it, “interviewing senators and House members on the last dash of legislation they’re attempting to pass before facing re-election, and from the Supreme Court, especially in the days after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.” More recently, Gabe was at the White House for the announcement of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, where he was able to interview several Trump allies on how they expect the nomination to impact the 2020 race. (That ceremony was later identified as a “super-spreader event” for coronavirus, but he tested negative afterward.) Working on these projects has given Fleisher an opportunity to dive inside the heart of today’s politics and to really consolidate his belief surrounding the imperativity of voting and having a voice in politics, especially for young Americans.

Even if one does not meet the voting requirement of being 18 years old, Fleisher stresses the fact that young people “can certainly have an impact on a campaign by taking small steps like those to help persuade voters or boost voter turnout.” He states that “There are tons of ways people who aren’t eligible to vote can be politically active. Anyone has the access to do research on the candidates and issues they believe in, and once you’ve found a campaign that aligns with your beliefs, there is no age minimum to knocking on doors for them, or phone banking, or volunteering at campaign headquarters.” Specifically on Election Day, Fleischer says that being a poll worker is a great opportunity to be politically active, as “a lot of election authorities need extra help since some seniors who normally work the pools are less likely to do so amid the pandemic.”

Wake Up To Politics

The importance of taking political action and exercising one’s right to vote is vital now more than ever in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other pressing and contentious issues. Even after the election, it is crucial to keep on being politically active, as “there are always opportunities for young people to make their voices heard, whether it’s by writing letters to your lawmakers or attending protests or marches.” For now, Fleisher continues to stress how essential voting in this election is, as he states, “Young people are especially impacted by the elections taking place in November: whether it’s the air we breathe, or the education we receive, or the economy we’ll be left with — all of those issues are on the line, and if people have strong opinions on any of those issues, the biggest thing they can do to make an impact is cast a ballot on (or before!) Election Day.”