Ushering in Change with the Power of Empathy this Midterm Election

By Emily Russell

For American University senior and Venezuela native Andrea Carrasquero, 21, there’s devisively distinct difference between the 2018 midterm candidates who support President Trump and those who do not

“He’s not just a president, he’s Donald Trump,” Carrasquero said.


Touting President Trump’s backing or openly supporting his policies is a deal breaker for receiving Carrasquero’s vote as a Democrat. She believes the president’s “extreme” policies and surrounding rhetoric are the cause of what she feels is this midterm election’s biggest issue: lacking bipartisanship.

“The left is way too far left and the right is way too far right,” Carrasquero said, pointing to the ideological disparities between Democrats and Republicans as the source of inability for Congressional policy action.

Carrasquero knows a bit about the matter, having been an intern for Florida’s U.S. Representative Stephanie Murphy (D) for the past two years. As she continues campaigning for Murphy in her home state, Carrasquero also considers the issues affecting her voting choices on November 6, such as immigration policy reform.

Despite being raised in Orlando, Fl., Carrasquero’s family still resides in Venezuela. Trump’s immigration rhetoric and policy pushes concern Carrasquero, and are a central motivation behind her decision to vote for Florida’s first black Democrat candidate for governor, Andrew Gillum, in the midterm election.

“He’s not an immigrant, but he’s very supportive of immigrant rights,” Carrasquero said about Gillum’s immigration policies. “The other candidate, he is a white male, so he doesn’t care too much about immigrants’ rights.”

Being supportive of those belonging to different racial and ethnic groups “even if that is not represented in yourself” is a crucial factor in Carrasquero’s support for Gillum.

“It’s something that’s very, very important to me,” said Carrasquero. “It sounds kind of of cliche and not realistic, but just the empathy of candidates.”

She isn’t alone in her belief that empathy for groups unlike oneself is the key to both a successful midterm candidacy. Gillum’s platform for immigrants and women alike has already attracted 47% of Florida’s primary voters, according to a recent Florida Chamber of Commerce poll.

Carrasquero believes empathy for each other, including members of the opposing party, will allow for progress, because without bipartisan empathy “nothing going to get done.”