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My Voting Decision Now That Bernie Sanders Suspended His 2020 Primary Campaign

I remember the night of the 2016 election very clearly. I was only 16 years old, so I couldn’t vote, but I still felt very strongly that a Trump presidency would be one that I wouldn’t like. I watched the news intensely until it became clear that a winner wouldn’t be decided until overnight. I woke up at 5 AM — my high school started very early, sadly — and read a text from my cousin that Trump had won the election. I felt like my heart had jumped out of my chest and going to school that day was a nightmare. I went to a predominantly republican school, which is an entire story in itself, leaving me sometimes as the only person of color in my AP classes while many kids were cheering in the parking lot with their MAGA hats and flags on their trucks. I wasn’t old enough to vote, which probably angered me even more given that my early adulthood years would now be a time where I stood against what our executive office stands for.

If I were 18 in 2016, I would’ve voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary. Now that I’m 20 in 2020, I did vote for Bernie Sanders in the primaries. By the time it had come for Florida to have its primary, the self-quarantining had already begun and I left my house for the first time in days to vote for Sanders. My parents were voting for Joe Biden and told me there was no point in voting for Sanders, due to the fact that Biden already was winning by a landslide in Florida. Just like I did for the 2016 election, I watched the TV and saw that Joe Biden had won Florida. I began accepting the fact that Sanders would not win the Democratic nomination. On April 8, Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign stating, “I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth,” in a live stream.

My social media feed instantly became people talking about if and who they were going to vote for now that Sanders had suspended his campaign. I’ve had talks with my friends, most of whom share a lot of the same political ideas as I do, and one in particular explained to me that despite the fact that every vote matters, they just cannot vote for either Biden nor Trump. At first, this didn’t make any sense to me: I felt as if not voting for Biden might as well have meant voting for Trump. But this friend of mine obviously would not mean it that way, as he’s an LGBT Latino who has always been vocal in his anti-Trump sentiment.

There then began the phrase “Vote blue no matter who” that sparked from many famous celebrities, including Tyler Oakley and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Just like every single other thing on the internet, it was either chastized or highly supported.

I’ve thought about this phrase a lot. One time in high school my class took a political ideology quiz in our senior AP government class and I scored that I was a solid liberal, while most scored in between liberal and conservative. Our generation has been one to be more open-minded and to think for ourselves when it comes to politics. I know people who are registered as independent because they don’t want to align themselves with a particular party. Even though I’ve always seen myself as a democrat, I’ve always had the stance that if the Republican candidate was one that I believed would be the better fit, I would vote republican. Many people fall blindly to political parties and do no research about who they’re voting for; they just look for who’s with their political party and shade in the circle.

Ever since Joe Biden won the first Super Tuesday in a landslide victory over Bernie Sanders, my cousin and I made jokes that we’ll be sniffling as we cast our ballots for Biden in November. There was never a question of who was I going to vote for had Sanders lost, but just a sad acceptance. There were a lot of funny posts on the internet as well with the same hilarious sentiment. Trust me, Twitter killed me with all the different tweets about people voting for Biden in November.

All jokes aside, there’s just something different about this election. The past three years of Trump’s presidency have been filled with polarizing decisions that I just can’t justify. With the global pandemic going on right now, there are a trillion more reasons why I believe any candidate would be a better fit than our current president. I could sit down and write a book about the things I don’t like, but at the end of the day, it won’t help. For years I’ve wanted to “Feel the Bern,” but as Sanders suspends his campaign, I’m turning to Joe Biden to beat the presidency that has proven to me over the years time and time again that they’re not in it for the people. Every election is different and for this one, I think voting blue — no matter who the candidate is — is the way to go.

Steph is in her third year studying biomedical science and neuropsychology at the University of Central Florida. She is very much into going to the theme parks in Orlando and spends her day loving dogs and hyping over Harry Potter. When she's not writing, she's dying over MCAT prep, volunteering, research, or binge watching the latest Netflix show. Instagram: @stephaaniejimenez
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