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  • Eliot Fuller

Voting third party: right idea, wrong moment

As the 2024 presidential election approaches, many Americans dread having to choose between two senior citizens with negative favorability ratings. Nobody seems to want a Biden-Trump rematch, but as the two men inch closer to their respective parties' nominations, it becomes more apparent that we will get one. So what now?


I’ve seen tons of people my age express their dislike for Biden, but that dislike– in all likelihood– exists for Trump as well. Does that mean we should vote for a third-party candidate this November? Liberals hate this idea, but leftists are far more intrigued. There are more progressive politicians than Biden on the ballot– like Cornel West– an Independent who supports a ceasefire in Gaza, amongst other stances popular with younger voters on the left. 


I recently observed two potential voters– both of whom appeared to be in my general age range– debate the idea of siding with third-party candidates in this year's presidential election. One person argued that 2024 isn’t the year to experiment with voting third-party because the stakes are too high. Their opponent argued they’re tired of being told “not this year” and that in the eyes of liberal voters, it will never be the right time to vote third-party.


Voting third-party, or at least wanting to do so, is generally understandable. The American political system is deeply flawed for only featuring two major parties when our country hosts a diverse and complex variety of different political beliefs. Anyone who values the lives of innocent Palestinians in Gaza is valid to oppose Joe Biden with every fiber of their being. He’s actively aiding the genocide we’re seeing in Gaza, and a vote for him this November could feel like a betrayal of morals for those following the situation closely. Yet despite his very serious flaws, one of the only people worse than him is his opponent, leaving voters in an uncomfortable situation.


If Biden were running against a candidate who operated within the traditional political realm, the stakes would be far lower this election, and it would be a great time to support third-party candidates who are more aligned with our morals. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. If Biden loses the election, he’s handing the keys over to someone whose entire campaign has been run on vengeance, not issues. A Trump victory would bring fascism to America, with the undermining of our democracy, the corrupting of our institutions via loyalists, and a dark, oppressive far-right leadership that we should all fear. 


The stakes are too high to gamble this November. If Donald Trump weren’t on the ballot, I would support exploring other party options because Biden hasn’t earned my vote. Nonetheless, let's wait until the dust settles in this Trump-era of politics before taking such a significant risk that’s almost guaranteed to doom the Democratic candidate.


If you think America, the world at large, and the situation in Gaza would be better under Trump, then it only makes sense to vote for him. But, if you think he’d make these things worse, you should vote for the only man who realistically stands in his way– no matter how much you dislike him.

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