CANDIDATE CONUNDRUM With the presidential election coming up in November, new voters are presented with two choices: Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Unfortunately, due tot he issues that both candidates pose, many voters feel dissatisfied with the choice they are going to have to make and wish they had better options instead.
CANDIDATE CONUNDRUM With the presidential election coming up in November, new voters are presented with two choices: Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Unfortunately, due tot he issues that both candidates pose, many voters feel dissatisfied with the choice they are going to have to make and wish they had better options instead.

Lack of candidate choices concerns student voters

The 2024 election is driving young people to the polls, forcing them to choose between two candidates that aren’t fully up to the task.

History seems to be repeating itself as we approach the 2024 United States presidential election. Once again, the leading candidates appear as though they are going to be Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. 

The last time these two politicians faced off was in the 2020 presidential election. They are now preparing to go up against each other for the second time, making the 2024 election the first election rematch in over 70 years.

Another facet that makes this election so unique is the fact that both candidates have held the presidency before.

“It’s interesting that these two possible choices have done the job before so that people can now look at what they’ve done while in office and base their decision on that,” AP Government teacher Mr. Robert Docter said.

Their infamy provides both candidates with an incumbent advantage, making them extremely popular amongst the American public.

“No matter who the media focuses on, the two candidates are going to be Trump and Biden unless something substantial happens between now and then,” Docter said.

As the date of the election approaches, multiple students are getting ready to cast their ballots as they are now of legal voting age. However, many student voters, such as senior Nancy Guerrero, are disappointed by the lack of options they will have to choose from.

“It hurts knowing I am going to have to choose between two candidates that both have these huge unignorable issues,” Guerrero said. “Although neither would be my first choice, the electoral college doesn’t really allow third parties to win so, there is no point in wasting my vote on a third-party candidate.”

According to The Mirror’s survey, 14% of student voters are planning to vote for Trump in the upcoming election. In contrast, 45% are going to be voting for Biden, and a whopping 40% of student voters are choosing not to vote at all. 

The prominent two-party system in the U.S. makes it hard for a third-party candidate to step up and win the election. The Republican and Democratic party candidates always garner the majority of a state’s votes, leaving third-party candidates unable to do much more than throw off the number of votes these candidates receive.

“The U.S. population is so polarized to either the Democratic or Republican party that any deviation from the norm is met with ridicule or just plain disinterest,” senior Jerry Garcia said.

In this upcoming election, the third party candidate is going to be Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is running as a third party and is trying to argue that we need another candidate in the mix that is not a part of either party,” Docter said. “Odds are, he will not make any big moves. But he is going to take votes away from Trump and Biden and throw off the numbers there.”

Although Trump and Biden will almost undoubtedly be the two leading candidates, both are facing a considerable amount of scrutiny from the public and the media.

Trump is currently dealing with 91 charges across four criminal cases, with the cases touching on issues such as the former president’s mishandling of classified documents and his involvement in the events that took place at the nation’s capital on Jan. 6.

Some of the charges he is facing include conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to obstruct justice and fraud under campaign finance laws. 

These charges make Trump the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges. Since he has not yet been found guilty, he is continuing his presidential campaign.

Trump’s actions have left many across the country extremely frustrated.

“A man that has been impeached twice and is in court for fraud should be barred from holding any public office in the U.S. government,” Garcia said.

Guerrero shares a similar sentiment, explaining that Trump has been able to evade consequences for his actions in a conniving manner.

“He has so much power in the political world that there are no consequences for him,” Guerrero said. “It makes me think about what is happening in the government that they are unable to prosecute him.”

Both Trump and Biden are facing criticism for their age. With Biden being 81 and Trump 77, many believe they are too old to be running a country.

“Being president involves a lot of moving around,” Mr. Doctor said. “You are constantly on airplanes, you’re constantly giving speeches and you’re making some pretty tough decisions, so age is something that matters.”

Outside of whether or not they are physically and mentally able to do their job, the candidates’ ages have also brought about the concern that they are unable to relate to younger generations. 

“When Trump and Biden were growing up, everything was very different from how things are now,” Guerrero explained. “Given their age, they might not be fully aware of the interests and problems of the younger citizens in this country.”

Garcia is among the many that are disappointed by how old the candidates are.

“Neither candidate is a good choice in my opinion,” he said. “It is incredibly disappointing that our government has become so lazy that the only remaining candidates are two people who should have been in retirement homes years ago.”

Issues regarding these two presidential candidates have sparked the question of whether new restrictions should be put in place to determine who has the right to run for president.

“When I became a teacher, I had to get a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential,” Mr. Docter said. “I had to go through a background check. In an ideal world, I would like to have similar safeguards for presidential candidates as well.”

Currently, the only restrictions listed under the Constitution are that candidates must be at least 35 years of age, citizens born in the U.S. and have lived in the country for at least 14 years. 

These restrictions seem minimal considering the extreme amount of power and influence the president has over the country.

“There should be increased restrictions because the president has complete power over the military and has the ability to appoint people for things like the Supreme Court,” Guerrero said.

It is extremely important that people of voting age utilize their rights and vote for who they think will be best fit for the presidential position.

Guerrero agrees with this statement and believes that the school should be doing more to get students to vote.

“I have asked others in my grade if they are planning to vote and many said no,” Guerrero said. “In my opinion, the school should bring more awareness of the voting process to students and explain to them the importance of voting.”

The abridged version of this article appeared in the Spring 2024 print edition. This is an uncut version.

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About the Contributor
Mia Ramirez
Mia Ramirez, Staff
I never thought that one day I would sit and write news stories all the time. When I was little the only thing I liked to write about was fairytales and popstars. Now that I am older the focus of my stories have shifted. As a staff writer for The Mirror, I write stories that focus on real people and what they have to say.  I have written multiple stories for the paper and I continue to search for new stories wherever I go. Outside of journalism, I am the captain for Van Nuys’ cross Country team and am constantly looking for new ways to make people smile.
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