Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Nunes: Just say no to Biden and Trump

We have all seen this show before. No, I’m not just talking about the Biden-Trump rematch that is approaching this November — I am referring to an election where the two major-party candidates do not represent the wants or needs of the American people.

The upcoming election poses a choice to young Americans who are increasingly dissatisfied with our political system: play the game or just say no. I challenge every one of my peers, every one of The Daily’s readers and every single individual who holds the two-party system in contempt to pick the latter and vote third-party or write someone in at the ballot box this November.

From a left of center point of view, one might retort: Isn’t democracy on the line? Aren’t I better off voting for Joe Biden than I am handing the election to an authoritarian bigot? Casting aside the contestable aspersion that Donald Trump is an authoritarian bigot, these questions warrant examination.

Firstly, consider how the threat of losing democracy being dangled over your head since 2015 has been a tool used by the establishment left to prevent you from nominating a candidate who could truly effectuate real change in the progressive direction. In 2016 and 2020, progressive Democratic voters were browbeaten with the idea that Hillary Clinton, Amy Klobuchar or Joe Biden’s electability was far more important than any of the items on the progressive wish list that Bernie Sanders wanted to deliver.

Now in 2024, progressives are still stuck with a $7.25 federal minimum wage, a broken health care system and vacuous talking points when it comes to Israel’s execution of the war in Gaza. After all the compromises, do you really think it’s worth tacitly giving approval to the system that has betrayed you by voting for Biden?

Secondly, I want to challenge the proposition that a Trump presidency means the end of democracy. If you watch MSNBC, you will see pundits nod along as Democratic politicians claim that “if you are not willing to just support the president you might as well just get your MAGA hat.” I understand how Trump’s behavior following his loss in 2020 and recent comments on the campaign trail create the concern that he will precipitate the collapse of American democracy.

But these claims are overblown and minimize the ability of American institutions to prevent such a disaster. The Supreme Court, Congress and the extensive federal bureaucracy would not allow it. Do not be deceived by this apocalyptic hysteria — it is being projected to manipulate you into siding with the status quo instead of fighting it.

Now, for those to the right of center — consider the many ways Donald Trump has turned out to be another big government statist that breaks promise after promise. On the 2016 campaign trail, Trump said he would get us out of foreign wars. He did not. Instead he appointed an architect of the Iraq War — John Bolton — to be his National Security Advisor and used drone strikes more than his trigger happy predecessor.

In his first try at the nomination, Trump said he would build a wall on the southern border. He completed only a small fraction. He said he would repeal Barack Obama’s unconstitutional executive order that granted amnesty to hundreds of thousands. He continued it. He said he would eliminate the national debt. Instead, he grew it by almost 8 trillion dollars. He said he would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He didn’t.

His biggest accomplishments: a tax cut for Wall Street, the COVID-19 vaccine and the moving of the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. I do not recall anyone chanting “cut corporations’ taxes” or “move the embassy” at a single one of his rallies, but those were his priorities.

So many Americans of all ideological inclinations are politically homeless. They may feel helpless in the face of a powerful establishment. But the power the American people possess is that of their vote. If every Gen Z voter deviates from the two-party norm, imagine the magnitude of the message this would send to the consultants and donors.

In the days following the election when the winner is determined, when the exit polls are released and when the dust settles, the political and consultant class will look around and see that we put principle over party and kept our hands clean from what may be one of the worst elections in American history.

Caleb Nunes is a McCormick sophomore. He can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.

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