Sam Rigante

In recent days, the reasons for protest votes — especially from the moderate and more progressive wings of the Democratic Party — have gotten increasingly louder and stronger, with many voters threatening to not vote for President Joe Biden because of his stances on the Israel-Hamas war. In Michigan, home of one of the largest Arab-American and one of the largest Palestinian communities in the United States, grassroots organizations encouraged voters to vote “uncommitted” in the Democratic primary election to show Biden their disagreement with the lack of ceasefire, leading the “uncommitted” vote to be 13.2 percent. The movement plans on continuing to push voters to not vote for Biden in Democratic primaries to pressure Biden into changing his policy in regards to the war.

In addition, fellow Democrats have accused Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar of making offensive statements toward Jewish people. Tlaib’s support of the phrase “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free” has upset more moderate Democratic voters and fellow politicians, who believe that the phrase is antisemitic. While Tlaib defended the statement as a call for “freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence,” many Jewish activists take issue with the phrase as they believe it intends to dismantle the State of Israel and replace it with a Palestinian state.

What these more moderate and more progressive Democrats have in common — beyond their unhappiness with Biden’s perceived lack of action — is that their motives are, simply put, selfish. Voters who feel that Biden’s support of Israel is wrong or that more needs to be done to help Palestinians in times of war can campaign for their chosen advocacies in a way that will not have a drastic negative effect on the future of our country. Protesting in the way of not voting may send a message, but it will get lost when former Republican President Donald Trump inevitably wins as a result of uncommitted voters whose sole issue with Biden follows in a Trump presidency in which every other ideal they hold gets overturned.

Single-issue voters are not new, but, in an election as consequential as this, the dangers of not voting are stronger than ever. Additionally, while farther-left groups may believe that not voting for Biden because of his views on Israel may be a worthwhile cause, the truth is that if Trump wins, they will be even unhappier — Trump is decidedly even more staunchly pro-Israel and fosters far more hateful rhetoric surrounding minority groups than Biden, and this campaign to vote uncommitted will lead to electing a president both groups have far less common ground with and influence over. This includes moderate Jewish voters who find themselves compelled not to vote while doing themselves a disservice by inactively electing someone who has made and supported antisemitic statements and comments.

Trump recently made comments about how “Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion. [Democrats] hate everything about Israel, and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed,” in response to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) comments about voting Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, out of office. Trump’s comments are plainly antisemitic, speaking over the Jewish community and creating false stereotypes that only further contribute to rising antisemitism in the United States. While Trump may be pro-Israel, his comments have been extremely harmful to the Jewish community and not voting, leading to his potential win, is simply an uncaring and uninformed trade-off.

For young voters too, they may feel disillusioned with Biden because of some of his policies and even because of his age. However, every policy they want to see implemented will certainly not get accomplished if they don’t vote and Trump eventually wins. What they will see, however, is a reversal of the policies they care about — gun control, abortion rights, LGBTQ+ rights and more — and almost no chance in successfully enacting the laws and policies they think will better this country and Palestinian people.

Democrats not voting in the upcoming election will result in more conservative judges being appointed, the reversal of more abortion rights across the country, looser gun control and an increasing number of problematic policies. Abstaining from voting for Biden because of disagreement over one issue — even if that issue is incredibly important — does not justify the consequence, which will be another Trump presidency full of lies and harmful rhetoric used by the most prominent leader in the country. While the verbiage “voting for the lesser of two evils” may feel tired and overused, in this case, unfortunately, it’s true. Where this will lead — if no one votes — is a dictatorship that nobody wants. The future of America is at stake.

Sam Rigante is a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law.

Views expressed in the opinions pages represent the opinions of the columnists. The only piece which represents the views of the Pipe Dream Editorial Board is the Staff Editorial.