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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Duda: Dispelling “A non-vote is a vote for Trump” and Biden is “the lesser of two evils” amid war in Gaza

In my last opinion article, I expressed my desire not to vote in the 2024 presidential election. The common rebuttals I have heard are: “A non-vote is a vote for Donald Trump,” and I should vote for President Joe Biden because he is “the lesser of two evils.”

I cannot ignore these guilt trips.

A two-party system means a non-vote may indirectly benefit an opposing candidate. However, let us refrain from mental gymnastics — a non-vote is not a vote for any candidate; It is simply not a vote.

Instead of guilt-tripping me with an oversimplified talking point, I encourage Biden supporters who hold this view to look inward. It is disheartening that Biden supporters cannot build an argument to vote for him without mentioning Trump. The 2024 Biden campaign cannot either, as it is strongly relying on an anti-Trump message to bring victory in November. This worked in past elections, but after working hard to secure these victories, Democrats are exhausted.

In a Yahoo News/YouGov poll that collected voter attitudes toward the 2024 election, 39% of Democrats picked “exhaustion” from the list of attitudes offered. Perhaps this exhaustion is causing Biden voters to sluggishly use the worn-out adage, “A non-vote is a vote for Trump.”

Biden has failed to prove what he will do to strengthen the economy. In his State of the Union address, Biden said inflation dropped from 9% to 3% without providing any context.

This drop does not have real-world implications for middle-class or lower-income Americans because we do not experience inflation in overall percentages.

Buy meat at the grocery store. Fill up your gas tank. Go to a fast-food joint. Buy a used car. All these goods cost more than since Biden took office. Unfortunately for Biden, since consumers have a difficult time recognizing overall trends in inflation, perception matters. Six in 10 voters polled by CBS News described the economy under Biden as “bad.”

Surprisingly, Biden did not offer concrete solutions in his address. Instead, he went after corporations for taking advantage of the economic conditions by increasing prices purely to increase profit margins, a proven driver of ongoing inflation. He could potentially gain a lot of voters by addressing this issue, as a Financial Times-Michigan Ross poll found that 63% of respondents blame price increases on “large corporations taking advantage of inflation.”

Putting this issue aside, there is still an elephant in the room for many voters: the war in Gaza. This brings me to the second cliched quote: Vote for Biden because he is the “lesser of two evils.”

Considering what is going on in Gaza right now and Biden’s complicity in it, this argument is disgusting. He has provided Israel with U.S.-made military equipment, including bunker buster bombs that have been used in Gaza and white phosphorus used in southern Lebanon, both of which could be investigated as war crimes.

Actively arming a genocide that has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians is the very definition of evil.

Biden refuses to use our nation’s leverage to get Israel to change their course of action in Gaza. He has the power to condition military aid or withhold billions of dollars in supplementary funding to Israel.

While news articles are circulating about tension between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the war, this does not translate into tangible policy changes toward Israel.

In fact, the Biden administration just signed off on new arms packages for Israel, including hundreds of 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs. These U.S.-made 2,000-pound bombs were explicitly linked to mass-casualty events in Gaza caused by Israel’s bombing campaigns.

Unless Biden’s policy toward Israel changes, we can expect more of the same.

Biden risks losing the election over his support for Israel. In a recent interview, Biden said the belief that he is overseeing and actively arming a genocide is “not widely shared.” If he genuinely believes this, he is detached from his Democratic voter base.

A YouGov and The Economist poll found that 50% of 2020 Biden voters believe that Israel is “committing genocide against Palestinian civilians.”

He is also detached from Democratic politicians. In a shocking speech, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently stated that Israel is risking becoming a pariah state and even called for new elections in hopes of replacing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultra-right-wing coalition.

Unfortunately, there is no home for voters against the war in Gaza. Former President Trump is not any better than Biden; Trump is strongly pro-Israel and claims Israel has to “finish the problem” in Gaza.

Musician Jerry Garcia said, “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil,” and this quote cannot be more fitting for the 2024 election. When did the bar become so low in terms of presidential candidates that the “lesser of two evils” is someone complicit in what many view as genocide?

I decline to participate in this race to the very bottom of morality.

Melissa Duda is a second-year graduate student in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She 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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