Why Voters May Sit Out the Biden-Trump Rematch, Leaving American Democracy in Limbo

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President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are set to face off in the upcoming November election, a rematch that has left many Americans feeling unenthusiastic. A Pew Research Center survey in April revealed that 49% of voters would prefer to replace both candidates if given the chance. Polls consistently show a close race at the national level.

The stakes of this election are undeniably high. Voters face a choice between maintaining the current status quo, potentially with more progressive reforms if Democrats regain control of Congress, and a drastically different vision for America that could include mass deportations and weakened executive power constraints. Some believe that the very foundation of American democracy is at stake.

Despite the high stakes, a significant number of voters are likely to abstain from voting in November, either casting protest votes for third-party candidates or staying home altogether. Voter apathy and non-participation are common occurrences in American elections. In the last six elections since 2000, between one-third and one-half of eligible voters have failed to cast ballots, due to various reasons including deliberate choice, forgetfulness, or external barriers.

both Biden and Trump have served as president, both have faced unpopularity, and their identities are well-known. Importantly, almost every voter, except for recent immigrants, has experienced life in America under either presidency. While a Trump versus Biden presidency carries substantial implications, some Americans may not feel a significant impact on their daily lives based on who occupies the Oval Office.

Beyond pre-existing voter apathy, some voters are actively planning to abstain as a form of protest. The most prominent driver of this protest movement this year is left-wing voters who would typically support President Biden but are protesting his support for Israel's war in Gaza. This conflict has resulted in over 35,000 deaths and dire humanitarian conditions. During the Democratic presidential primaries, hundreds of thousands of voters cast "uncommitted" ballots to express their dissatisfaction. Depending on whether a ceasefire agreement is reached before the election, these voters may choose to abstain from voting in November, particularly at the presidential level. More radical groups like "Abandon Biden" are urging voters to abstain regardless of the situation between now and then.

These voters, many of whom are Arab or Muslim Americans, are aware of the potential consequences of a Trump victory. The former president has repeatedly used Muslims as scapegoats for his political agenda and has vaguely promised to expand upon the so-called "Muslim ban" he implemented during his presidency. Despite this, they are prepared to stay home, arguing, as Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud puts it, that "a genocide outweighs all of this.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09