by Marcia Hunt
As the 2020 election nears its close, voters from across the political spectrum are voting for democratic nominee Joe Biden to avoid re-electing Donald Trump.
The Instagram account “Settle For Biden” has 270k followers and over 300 posts. But is it really Biden or bust? Alex Belyaninov, a history major at SUNY Purchase, thinks so.
“Well, first, people should vote for Biden because he’s not Trump,” he said. “Even in Democratic stronghold states, every state is purple: every vote counts for Biden.”
Biden and Trump represent vastly different policies according to Belyaninov, and this contrast that makes Biden the candidate to vote for in his opinion.
“I’m also voting for him because he has coherent plans for what to do about issues like COVID and climate change,” he said.
According to New York Times political analyst Adam Nagourney in a conversation with the Purchase community, this election revolves around the COVID-19 pandemic. He claims that President Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic played to Biden’s advantage.
“People expect their leaders to protect them,” Nagourney said, “A lot of Americans are getting fatigued by the President.”
This fatigue has caused voters to seek a candidate with more political experience than Donald Trump, making Biden the only answer.
“Biden has had 40 years in Washington,” Belyaninov said. “Biden has the experience that is necessary to lead this country and I trust him.”
Trump’s lack of experience in politics and shortcomings during his four years as president has also caused people who opposed Hillary Clinton in 2016 to cast their ballots for Biden this election. According to a poll from Morning Consult, 53 percent of voters who chose a third party in 2016 are backing Biden.
All things considered, there are few third-party and undecided voters this election, with many opting to pick a side.
Delana Thomas, a communications major with a concentration in broadcasting at SUNY Fredonia, is one of them.
“First off, I don’t like to talk about politics,” she admitted with a chuckle. “The only vote I casted in my absentee ballot was the Presidential one.”
Thomas was hesitant to vote in this election, but President Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nomination of Amy Coney Barrett was the last straw for her.
She cited a video from GLAAD’s Twitter account, which exposed some of Barrett’s shortcomings as a judge. The video shows a track record of anti-LQBTQ+ sentiments and claims that she is backed by anti-abortion organizations, which may mean that she will actively try to strip away rights and federal funding, such as Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood isn’t just abortion,” said Thomas. “If you defund Planned Parenthood, people are going to be missing out on affordable healthcare. If I had to pay for my birth control, I’d be paying like $300 a month for it.”
With the increasing concern about Trump’s leadership, is there really anyone who will be, in a sense, risking voting third party?
Darryl Rojas-Taylor, a Purchase journalism alum, said he plans on voting third party. He predicts he’ll never vote for a Democrat or a Republican, which he claims are not even separate parties. In 2016, Rojas-Taylor voted for Jill Stein, the Libertarian candidate who many blamed for Hillary Clinton’s loss
“Joe Biden is a Republican but with a D [for Democrat] next to his name,” he said. “And my principle is that there’s a 99 percent chance I’ll never vote for a Republican.”
Rojas-Taylor explained that with so many years in politics, Biden hasn’t proved that he deserves his vote. One example he gave was that Biden was Vice President under Obama, who used armed drones on non-battleground, civilian heavy areas in Pakistan and Yemen.
He also pointed out that Biden worked with segregationists and supported anti-integration laws. When Senator Cory Booker criticized these actions, Biden claimed that Booker should apologize for assuming he’s racist, according to an article from NPR.org.
Senator Booker is one of 10 African Americans to have served on the United States Senate.
“You don't need to convince a Black man in New York that Trump is bad, but I'm not going to reward [Biden] for bad behavior,” said Rojas-Taylor, who is a Black man.
Believing that Trump is a racist is not an uncommon belief. During the first 2020 Presidential Debate, Trump was hesitant to condemn white supremacist groups.
Americans see Biden as a lesser of two evils. This leads to the idea of defensive voting, which is the act of voting against one candidate. In 2020, this means voting for Biden to vote against Trump.
This idea perpetuates the thought that a vote for a third party is a vote for Trump, as it is believed to take votes away from Biden.
Rojas-Taylor believes this is not true. After Clinton loss the 2016 election, many people shifted the blame on third-party voters. According to an article in Politico Magazine, Libertarian Jill Stein claimed that exit polling proved that third-party voters wouldn’t have voted at all if they couldn’t vote third party.
Rojas-Taylor said, “People always want to blame the voters and not the corrupt politicians. People have the right to vote for whoever they want.”