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Voting for the first time is an exciting feeling. You finally have a voice in the future of the U.S., but, who are you going to vote for? Are you going to vote for the party your parents are voting for? The one your friends and family peer pressure you into voting for? Are you going to do your research and think for yourself?

Something that I have noticed as the elections are coming up is that most people focus on voting for the party itself rather than the leader. But, since people’s values are so set on the party itself, some feel like they have no choice but to vote for the leader running with their party of choice. 

I am not saying that nobody likes Donald Trump or Joe Biden; what I mean is that some people are not thinking of the bigger picture. There are many democrats and republicans who don’t side with the candidate of their party. As I read about why people don’t side with the leader for their party chosen by the majority, I encountered the website of Republican Voters Against Trump, which has astonishingly risen to popularity, and it has left me speechless.

“Donald Trump is not representative of the Republican Party that I fell in love with,” is one of the quotes posted on RVAT. That page is flooded with stories about Republicans, ex-Republicans and former Trump-voters who will not vote for him this November.

As I read some of the stories, one that stood out to me the most was one by Eduardo from Michigan: “Right now, being liberal, conservative or Democrat isn’t that important. What matters right now is that we are all American, desperate for leadership to survive together as a nation.” 

What the United States needs right now is a leader with values. The President you did or did not vote for in 2016 is not the same one that is running for the presidency again in 2020. And the Joe Biden that was Barack Obama’s Vice President from 2009-2017 is not the same person today. Inner growth and experiences change people– some people change for the better and others change for the worse.

What voters need to focus on right now is how these candidates are responding to current issues such as COVID-19, climate change, and basic human rights and their plans to tackle them. Being a Democrat is not the same thing as being pro-Biden, and the same applies for Republicans with respect to Donald Trump.

Blue and red states are more divided within themselves than ever– this is why I urge new or returning voters to do their research about these potential leaders for the U.S. in this moment. What problems in society today bother you the most? Which candidate will potentially help eliminate those problems?

Whether you end up voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden, don’t vote based on what is expected of you, or feel obligated to vote for the party whose ideology you usually align  with. Vote for the leader you think will efficiently represent and save the future of the United States and fight for its rights to the best of their capacity. Don’t think in terms of red or blue, think Trump or Biden– because it is not the same thing. 

Lai is a sophomore International Studies major who loves writing about gender stereotypes, current issues, and advice. In her free time, she likes to go to the beach and watch Netflix or youtube videos.
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