Like many of my fellow Democrats, I was thrown into a tailspin on election night 2016. Like a rocket built with Trump steel struggling to reach orbit, the worldview I had constructed crashed. My news obsession peaked, and the severe consequences of the Hillary Clinton loss materialized into some ugly truths. How painful that tiny finger has become that Trump masterfully pokes into the eye of every progressive across the country with each Tweet, each policy brief, or each rambling interview on the nightly news.

But, while we agonize, there is also a deep sense for many people, here and around the country, that someone at the top is finally looking out for them. Even some long-time Democratic voters feel this way. I’ve spoken to a couple people who really hear Trump. They understand his logic, his vernacular, and his faux populism. The policy agenda that to me appears to be hurtling America toward a seventh Trump bankruptcy, feels to others like a righteous smite upon the bastions of power–those who relish political correctness, redistribution, and high taxes.

The release from my agony, I decided, was to divorce myself from the daily news cycle, to use my time more wisely by reading history and learning more deeply about the America that surrounded me. To hunker down, for a long, long winter, as we Minnesotans are forced to do.

Yet signs of spring began shortly after the election. Indivisible and other organizations broke through a horrendous Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and the Women’s March inspired my wife (typically an apolitical being) and millions more to action and into the streets.

And now, more effective than dissent in action, or a good book, votes are being cast! The caucus introduced me, in my thirtieth year, to the Fighting 41st and has broken down some of the barriers that I felt to voicing my politics.

My introduction to the nuts and bolts of the Democratic Party has been enlightening and fun. I don’t see people fretting and fighting about Bernie vs. Hillary, or obsessing over the Russia probe, I see a grassroots drive to elect people with progressive ideas that help everyday Americans. The choice to me is simple: the Democratic Party hears the American people.

Issue by issue, it’s clear: 74 percent of Americans want to raise the minimum wage, 63 percent support tying it to inflation. Fully 62 percent of Americans say it’s the federal government’s job to provide healthcare for every citizen. And 76 percent of Americans want the government to step up action on climate change.

Because of the chaos into which our current political arena has deteriorated, many young people see the dysfunction riddling American politics, and it scares them from interacting with the system. The Democrats have a chance to introduce a couple generations of young people to success at the grassroots and in their own lives. Just as the New Deal solidified many Democratic voters for a lifetime, I hope Democrats can solidify today’s young voters for their lifetimes. Personally, I have come to believe that change is so much less intimidating when you show up to the Fighting 41st.

Author: Nathan West