When faced with the choice of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, millions of registered voters chose not to cast a ballot during the 2016 presidential election.
Out of those registered voters who opted out of voting, 25% of them cited their “dislike of the candidates or campaign issues” as the main reason they did not participate, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.
In fact, this jump in Americans shirking their duties and right to vote because they disliked both candidates dramatically increased from the 2012 presidential election.
Today, as the 2020 presidential election grows nearer, several Americans are still refusing to make a decision.
The Democratic Party is banking on former Vice President Joe Biden to unseat President Trump and neither of these men are well-liked.
With racial injustices, polarizing candidates and a virus — 2020 and 2016 mirror each other in several ways — we need to vote to make a change before it’s too late.
Even if you hated, loved or didn’t care about the outcome of the 2016 election, these numbers are disquieting.
There will never be a candidate that is perfect. There will never be a candidate that meets all your standards. There will never be a candidate that thinks the exact same way as you (unless you decide to run for president, of course).
It’s frustrating, but it’s the truth.
No matter how disappointed you are in your options, you still must exercise your right to vote. It is not only your right, but your duty to call for a change in policy.
In the 2016 exit polls, 18% of the voters surveyed considered both Trump and Clinton unfavorable choices. Four years ago, some of the voters who disliked both candidates were still able to push themselves to make a choice and vote.
Today, new voters are pouting and throwing temper tantrums over their options. A large portion of the Democratic party is still mad that Joe Biden is the democratic nominee. On the other hand, President Donald Trump appeals to a specific group separate from the general Republican party. At this point, they just need to suck it up and decide if they are going to keep whining over their options, or take a stance.
For many undergraduate Baylor students, this will be the first presidential election where they actually have a say. And if they opt out of voting and don’t let their voices be heard, they will be doing themselves, as well as the rest of the United States, a disservice. If you’ve found yourself weighing the difference between two evils, maybe make a pro-con list or go with your gut. If you’ve found that you still don’t know where you stand on the political spectrum, do your research and stay informed.
Even though it may feel like you can’t make a difference as one person, you can and you have to. If everyone thought their opinion didn’t matter and refrained from voting, nothing would get done. We, as a collective, must do our part and contribute to democracy.
Remember, by voting for a presidential candidate you are not supporting them, you are supporting your country. So vote for the best option.