As a 19-year-old first-year student, this is my first go at a presidential election. That’s not to say I wasn’t politically active as a 16-year-old for the 2016 election, but I wasn’t able to finish the job by casting a ballot. In 2016, I was a huge supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
It is now 2020, and I am completely, 100 percent on Team Pete Buttigieg. I have spent hours volunteering for the former South Bend, Indiana mayor’s campaign as the director of canvassing for Hawkeyes for Pete and was even a precinct team member for Iowa City Precinct 5 in the caucuses.
My political obsessions from 2016 and 2020 are now going head-to-head in primaries across the nation. Sanders is taking much of the left-progressive vote, while Buttigieg is taking the left-moderates. They are neck-and-neck in many of the primaries and polls, and it truly is anyone’s game at this point.
This brings me to my main point: Many of us want our preferred candidate to win the nomination, but no matter who ends up getting it, we need to vote for the Democratic nominee.
I have heard so much talk of people saying that if their candidate is not the nominee, they might vote for a third party, vote for President Trump, or not even vote. Voting for anyone other than the Democratic nominee is a surefire way to give Trump another four years in office. I drew some confused faces when I tried to explain this, so here’s how I broke it down.
Let’s pretend there are only 10 voters in the United States. Six of them are Democrats, four are Republicans. All four of the Republicans plan on voting for Trump. So, as long as all six Democrats vote for the Democratic nominee, they should win, right? Well, unfortunately, not all six did because they didn’t all turn out to vote for the Democrat.
Now, imagine that instead of all six Democrats voting for the nominee, we have three votes for the Democratic nominee, three votes for the third-party candidate, and four votes for Trump, handing him another four years in office.
In all reality, the differences in the Democratic candidates are small. For the most part, they all have similar goals, just with differing opinions on how to get to that point.
So, my question is this: Are any of these candidates actually worse than four more years of Trump?
It’s OK to disagree with or have concerns about certain aspects of a candidate, but try comparing them to Trump. Ask yourself, “Are they going to send us into World War III?” “Are they going to scale back rights for different minority groups?” “Are they going to mock a disabled reporter?” “Are they going to have a pay-off scandal with a porn star?” I fully believe that, for each Democratic candidate, the answer to all of these questions is no.
Any supporter believes that their candidate will make this country better. You wouldn’t support a candidate if you didn’t have a philosophy. But it is a fact that Trump will continue to make this country worse if he serves four more years. At the bare minimum, these Democratic candidates you disagree with might just keep our country at the same level. Not better, not worse, but certainly not on our way into World War III.
I liked Sanders in 2016, and I like Buttigieg in 2020, but whoever gets that nomination this summer will be my new favorite. I can’t do four more years of Trump.
— Joseph O’Kelley, first-year UI Student