A tale of a conflicted young voter: Why I still have not made a choice

Illustration by Casper Pierce

I have been registered to vote since I was 16. As a woman and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I deeply understand the importance of paying attention to policies that have the potential to impact my rights in this country. However, even though I am by no means uninformed, I am still intimidated when it comes to politics.

I am hesitant to dedicate support to any of the Democratic presidential candidates at this point in time. There is still a year left until the election and so much room for both growth and error on the candidates’ parts. 

It is also difficult to have unwavering support for any candidate when every day on Twitter I see reasons I should not be supporting many of the Democratic candidates, such as the controversy over Elizabeth Warren’s Native American ancestry or Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders simply being too old for the job. Still more people on Twitter complain that each candidate is not “liberal enough.” There are undoubtedly more complaints, but I am afraid to search up the contemptible things each candidate has done in fear that I will find lists raking each across the coals. I find it ridiculous that simply Googling Pete Buttigieg brings up an article criticizing the way he ate a cinnamon roll, which is extremely irrelevant to his potential presidency and just goes to show how overly critical the media is of the presidential candidates.

White liberals, in particular, like to focus heavily on what is problematic with each candidate. This results in overly harsh criticism of every person running for president. The media, too, provides us with almost too much information. Do we really need to know every single detail of a candidate’s personal life in order to deem them worthy to be president? We should be paying more attention to whether or not they could do a good job of running this country. People who did not vote in 2016 because they “did not like either option,” especially those who disliked Hillary Clinton, focused too much on small details about both candidates and did not seem to understand the importance of voting for the lesser of two evils.

I have considered supporting Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana and U.S. Navy veteran, as his plans include eliminating the Electoral College and stronger background checks for gun purchases. But knowing that a gay man has a small chance of gaining enough support to win the primary election is just another reason I am hesitant to devote support so early. What am I doing supporting someone who has no chance? Am I a good enough Democrat if I support someone who has little to no chance of winning against Trump, or should I perhaps instead be supporting whatever Democrat does have this chance?

I have spent every year since 2016 looking forward to finally getting my chance to vote in 2020. Even though the mess that is the Electoral College and the fact that Oregon consistently votes blue will cause my vote to have little impact, I understand the importance of making my voice heard. This is why I do not know who I am voting for yet. I do not think I will know for several months, at least until we get into the primary elections and I can see who actually has a chance. I will vote for whichever Democratic candidate wins the primary elections. Because in the end, any Democrat who can defeat Trump, even if they are not the most perfect candidate, is who I want to be our next president.

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