Though we’ve known for four years that the 2020 US election cycle would be even more fraught than the strange and painful fall of the 2016 elections, most of us still find ourselves a little disoriented these days. For some, the urgency to remove Trump from office has immobilized us. For others, it’s fortified us into action to get out the vote and to sway those who are undecided, apathetic, and reluctant.
In the final five weeks before the election of a lifetime, we asked writers to consider the undecided voter and contribute compelling arguments and ideas for making the world right. Some contributors sent us work that takes on issues with precision and gravity. Others sent us different work, perhaps an even more visceral snapshot of this alarming moment — a one-act play, an open letter, a story of exile. New writing will be published weekdays; we believe its wisdom and strength will help us all navigate the uncertainty ahead.
Undecided voters, I hear you.
I can imagine that it is a great philosophical challenge whether to vote for Joe Biden or to vote for a third-party candidate who more accurately represents your values and desires (the only reason I can imagine someone being undecided).
Of course, Joe Biden might not EXACTLY represent EVERYTHING that you stand for and believe in. (Me either!)
Perhaps you are a fan of Howie Hawkins and his ecosocialist Green New Deal, pledge of no first use of nuclear weapons, and plan to cut the military budget by 75%. (Very good reasons to be a fan of someone.)
Maybe you are more in the camp of Dario Hunter, who supports reparations, ranked-choice voting, and democratizing monetary policy. (Other fantastic reasons to like a candidate.)
Or is it that you are possibly most attracted to Jo Jorgensen’s policies, like abolishing drug laws, the withdrawal of US troops from abroad, and non-interventionism? (On these issues, once again, I get it!)
Whichever third-party candidate is your favorite, I can understand the attraction and why it might be hard for you to choose between Joe Biden and any one of them. (Again, the only reason I presume you are undecided).
I don’t want you to give up your passion for what you believe is right. (Why would I?)
I want you to continue to strive for the positive change that you want to see in our country and the world. (You’re doing it!)
I’m excited for you to be active on these issues. To spread the word far and wide. To vote in local elections and support grassroots organizations that care about your community. To encourage other folks to learn and act, so we can all head towards a more equitable system with a multitude of valuable voices expressing thoughtful and caring ideas. (You’ve got so many great ideas, I wish YOU were a viable candidate for president.)
But since you’re not running, of all the candidates who are, Joe Biden is the major-party candidate expressing the most caring and thoughtful ideas. If you compare his chances to whichever third-party candidate is your favorite, I believe you’ll find that he is the only one who can win against Trump. I hope that helps you decide your decision. Decidedly!
(Oh, and I assume you can’t be undecided about whether you should vote for Trump, because that guy seems like a real asshole.)
If you enjoyed this essay, please share it with an undecided voter in your life, and please consider contributing to GiveWell.
Myq (Mike) Kaplan is a comedian who has appeared on Conan, Letterman, Comedy Central, AGT, and his one-hour special, “Small, Dork, and Handsome.” The NY Times called his newest album, “A.K.A.,” “invigoratingly funny.” He lives in Brooklyn with his girlfriend and several podcasts (The Faucet and Broccoli & Ice Cream).