Undecided, With Just a Week to Go
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because this small group could swing it all.
By Nick Fouriezos
A helpful reminder: Election night is not the first day of voting, it’s the last. And yet, even though more than 60 million Americans have already cast ballots by mail or at in-person early voting, some people are still deciding between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, or whether to vote at all. As part of our weekly series leading up to Election Day, OZY is interviewing undecided voters about how they’re thinking about their choices. Still undecided yourself? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below, read some of our latest conversations, edited for clarity and space.
Tyler Russell, 34, engineer, Ohio
Past votes: John McCain (’08), Mitt Romney (’12), Gary Johnson (’16)
I don’t want to make such an important decision without having as much data as I can. I’m generally very disappointed with the way that Trump handled the Black Lives Matter protests. And it’s frankly somewhat scary, the way he sent in the National Guard to shut down predominantly peaceful protests, and really just his lack of reverence for the First Amendment. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of things Trump has done for the betterment of the country that have fallen under the radar. No. 1, the standard tax deduction for most families has gone up significantly, so it’s given people a bit more breathing room. I’ve also seen accounts of him bringing the Black community together, although I don’t really know the full context of those meetings.
It’s really between Biden and Trump this time around. Last time, it was a no-brainer for me to vote third party, I was pretty disgusted with both [Trump and Hillary Clinton]. As far as Biden, my main concerns with him are, No. 1, health. A lot of what he has said about letting the Democratic Party lead worries me: Sooner or later, you need somebody in that position who will take a stance. We need somebody who will be able to make a decision. It’s not even so much policy-based, I just think politics has become so much of a machine — and I like having the feeling that one person can ultimately make the decision, that he is not just the figurehead and the machine is running everything.
It’s been a little refreshing having the establishment, stereotypical GOP rocked a little bit. But I think it’s probably gone too far. At this point I’m leaning toward Biden, just because at the end of the day, I don’t know that I can look my son in the face 10 years from now and tell him I voted for Trump. He, as a human being, is pretty repulsive to me.
Dan Rhodehamel, 44, bartender, Illinois
Past votes: Barack Obama (’08, ’12), Johnson (’16)
We need more than two parties. I want money taken out of the electoral process. I feel like no matter who I vote for, it’s just the same two-headed dragon. And it’s the same body of a fucking dragon, you know? There is some dissonance between the two heads fighting each other, but it’s the same animal. Until you get a different animal, a third party, it’s not a winning proposition either way.
I’ve felt this way since I was 18. I would vote for Captain Crunch year after year, over any of these idiots. Give me Vermin Supreme.… I would have rather seen Ross Perot elected than either of these two assholes. It’s endless wars, it’s money. Just take the money out of the system. Give me a viable third party. Stop doing this to me.
I’ve voted in every election that I can. But it’s the lesser of two evils every fucking time. On a local level, I vote for judges, the ones that don’t incarcerate Black people. Everybody says if you vote third party, you’ve wasted your vote. But how do you get out of this two-party system if you don’t? We’re stuck in this two-party system. I feel I’m locked into it. There is no alternative. It’s a never-ending war. Everything is kind of a bummer.
Felix Millan, 64, retired teacher, Oregon
Past votes: Did not disclose
I like Trump’s style. I think it’s more humorous than anything else. But with the other ticket, I have some concerns — age primarily for Biden — and I don’t know really much about [Kamala] Harris other than a few things I’ve read; I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with her being one step away from the presidency. I really don’t know. I’m ambivalent right now. I don’t really know which way to turn.
Kevin O’Connell, 36, stock trader, California
Past votes: Clinton (’16)
If we vote for Biden, then we’re enabling the same groupthink that led to Hillary running, that now has led to Joe running. And at that point, when is change going to actually come? In 2016, I voted for Hillary and it was a very hard choice for me. And that’s even in California, where I knew it didn’t matter. It felt like really bad parenting — your child threw a temper tantrum and you gave him the cake just to shut him up.
I decided a couple months ago I was going to vote for Trump. But obviously every time I see Trump talk, it gets harder. The [first] debate made me consider not voting, as opposed to voting for Trump. Voters are clearly moving: From the last election cycle to this one, all of Bernie’s ideas have been put at the front. Give them another four years of Trump, and hopefully Democrats learn a lesson, then hopefully get a legit candidate.
- Nick Fouriezos, OZY Author Contact Nick Fouriezos