The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

OPINION: We Deserve Better Candidates than Trump and Biden

Blake Amis

In 1964, far-right Republican candidate Barry Goldwater lost in a landslide to incumbent President Lyndon Johnson. Goldwater ran a campaign appealing to white backlash over the Civil Rights Act and defended right-wing extremism on the campaign trail.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan following a presidency of internal party backlash, high energy costs, and foreign policy blunders.

If Joe Biden or Donald Trump were not facing each other, it is likely they would be treated like Carter and Goldwater, respectively, and be tossed aside by the voters, as most Americans are dissatisfied with both candidates including over 60 percent of independent voters, according to an AP-NORC poll.

But somehow in this cursed period of American history, it seems the historical equivalents of Goldwater and Carter have found themselves competing against each other.

How is this even possible? 

Trump is facing 91 criminal charges with a possible 700 year combined sentence. Yet he has embarrassed his main opponent, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, in all GOP state primary contests as of this writing — even in New Hampshire, where the constituency of moderate independent voters seemed hand-picked for Haley to win.

Biden is currently seen as public enemy number one in the eyes of many progressives, as his administration has given Israel its unfettered support — not that Trump would do any different — despite the fact that 50 percent of Biden voters from 2020 believe Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians, according to an Economist/YouGov poll.

Not to mention that a large portion of the public and the press have questioned Biden’s memory — including in an official report issued by the Department of Justice on Feb 5. — after he repeatedly mistook world leaders’ names in press conferences, such as referring to Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah El-Sissi, as “the president of Mexico.”

Biden has faced no serious opposition in the Democratic primary, even though he seems to be the most vulnerable incumbent since Carter. 

Both Biden and Trump — unless they face the doom that comes with their old age — will likely walk into their respective party conventions and give their same-old speeches. Trump will attack racial and religious minorities, as well as the “elite” that he is a part of. And Biden will preach “unity,” even though neither side wants that. 

The reason Biden and Trump will be our nominees is because of the pessimism that haunts both parties.

Republicans — especially Trump’s base of rural white non-college graduates — have an innate nihilist ideology of paranoia, fear, and greed. The reason self-described moderates like Nikki Haley cannot even put a dent in Trump is that their get-things-done style of politics simply has no appeal to the average Republican voters. Trump, on the other hand, perfectly harnessed the rage of his white working class base.

That doesn’t seem too hard for the Democrats to counter. Most people are not hateful, after all. But no, Biden is losing in the polls to Trump and Haley. Despite this the Democratic establishment is rallying behind Biden like everything is alright, even though he suffers from dismal approval ratings.

It is not surprising that the Democratic establishment is backing their right-hand man, but what is somewhat shocking is that there has literally been no effort to draft a legitimate challenger to Biden. 

Gen-Z and Millenials, the generations most likely to back a Biden challenger, have never seen a political movement that manifests in actual policy change. Gen-Z saw 2020 bring upon a wave of progressive activism as Trump lost the election, only to see Biden support Israel, which most of them believe is an apartheid state and is currently committing genocide.

These voters do not know what it means to gain rights and freedoms, only to lose them. How could most of them have enough hope to bring the energy that is required for a grassroots dark-horse presidential campaign? And besides, there aren’t any big names in Congress willing to step up to the plate.

Hope for a better future is lost in most Americans. We have no leaders.

But it does not have to be this way.

While there is a vacuum of hope as of now, the young people around the country have been organizing at unprecedented levels.

In the past few years, young people all across the country have brought a new wave of labor activism, which has resulted in them unionizing their workplaces in food service and retail jobs, such as Starbucks, which have previously never been considered union jobs.

Right now young people are in the streets demanding the federal government not give weapons of war to countries that indiscriminately attack civilians. 

And in voter referendums all across the country — even deep red states — voters are turning out to protect abortion rights in their communities.

There are issues that people are willing to turn out for. While the people in power ignore it, a movement is brewing in this country. A record number of labor strikes occurred in 2023 — for blue collar and white collar jobs alike.

The people are tired of business-as-usual, and it may not be long before all these movements culminate into something that will be impossible to ignore — and maybe even a candidate that the people actually want for president.

Perhaps the people could have a candidate who fights to end the systemic poverty that was growing even before the pandemic, as the rich become even richer while average families are struggling to put food on the table.

Perhaps the people could have a candidate who fights a corrupt Supreme Court that is forcing women to go through with unwanted pregnancies, and allowing state governments to execute people on death row with nitrogen gas.

Perhaps the people could have a candidate who welcomes immigrants with love and compassion, instead of exploiting them for political power.

This is not wishful thinking, it is an inevitability. The power to determine whether or not this country should work for all relies on the people, and only the people.

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About the Contributors
Cam Lippincott, Managing Editor
Blake Amis, Graphic Artist

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