They hate Trump, but “it’s going to be hard to vote for Biden”

Biden or Trump? Hans and Hannah, two Americans from Switzerland, wonder.Image: watson

Joe Biden may pose as the guarantor of democracy against Donald Trump, but his candidacy remains unattractive for many Americans. This is the case for Hannah and Hans. This couple living in Switzerland wonders, sometimes painfully, about the right decision to make. An exercise that is anything but easy. Testimonials.

On November 5, the United States will elect the 47e president of their history. Everything suggests that we are heading towards a duel between Joe Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump. A fight between two elderly men, the outcome of which will have very profound repercussions on a global level.

The potential victory of Donald Trump worries and is described as a danger for the rule of law and global stability. That, at least, is what Joe Biden says, who poses as guardian of institutions and democracy, facing the chaos embodied by his rival. Who, moreover, has just been found guilty of 34 counts.

The choice may seem easy, but it is not. “I find that every presidential election in the United States is difficult,” says Hannah, a young American who has lived in Switzerland since 2015. “This time it’s even worse”. For her and her husband Hans, also from the United States, the choice of name to put in the ballot box will be anything but obvious.

The couple, who do not adhere to either the Republican or Democratic parties, voted for Biden in 2020, without much enthusiasm. Today is different, although their opinion of the GOP nominee is very clear. “Trump is an autocrat, a dictator, a tyrant,” summarizes Hans. “This time, he will have absolutely nothing to lose. He is very dangerous, he has already destabilized our democracy and confused the Republican Party,” he declares.

Not enough to automatically push them to vote for Joe Biden, however. “He is not a person who inspires confidence or who has a vision that I can attach myself to,” Hans continues.

“Biden is old, we have the impression that he crystallized 20 years ago”

Hans

“It’s going to be really hard to check Biden’s name on the ballot,” says his wife. For her, this rejection has deeper roots. As a Muslim woman of Egyptian descent, Hannah says she had a lot of trouble being accepted by other Americans. “I have had many negative experiences linked to my identity,” she adds.

Consequently, everything that is currently happening in Gaza – “a massacre perpetrated with the approval of the United States” – affects it very closely. “I feel like Biden hates me, that he hates people like me,” she says.

“This not only concerns Palestinians, but also the lives of Arabs in the United States. Washington’s actions in the Middle East impact the mentality of Americans. Since September 11, we have had to be careful when we expose our identity in public.”

Hannah

Not sure, according to her, that Trump would be worse than the current tenant of the White House on this point. Yet during his first term, the Republican expressed his unwavering support for Israel on numerous occasions. In 2018, he even recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, marking a major diplomatic break. “The problem with Trump is that he is unpredictable,” analyzes Hannah. “That’s why I say he’s dangerous, because we don’t know what he’s thinking or what he’s going to do. With Biden, at least it’s clear.”

“I considered not voting”

For these reasons, she adds, “voting for Biden will be emotionally very difficult for me.” To the point where she even wondered if she was going to vote at all. A first. “I think about it every day, and I considered not doing it,” she confides.

“I think that many Americans ask themselves the same questions, wondering whether to vote or not,” explains the young woman. Hannah says she’s talked about it with a lot of friends who, despite their different identities, have “similar thoughts.”

Her husband doesn’t see it that way. For him, voting is “a civic obligation”. “I’m going to have to vote,” he emphasizes. When his wife told him of her hesitation, he “tried to understand how she experiences what is happening.”

“We have different experiences. Unlike me, Hannah faced discrimination in the United States. I think his doubt is well-founded,” he adds. Before adding:

“I tried to convince her that voting is a privilege that most humans have not had for most of history.”

Hans

“I think we’re more or less in agreement now,” he continues. “The more time passes, the closer we get to November, the more I tell myself that it is necessary,” his wife echoes. “I’m more and more convinced that we have to vote, but I know it’s going to be a really difficult time.”

Hannah and Hans received instructions on how to vote remotely.

Hannah and Hans received instructions on how to vote remotely.Image: watson

What changed his mind was the fact that Trump is “really dangerous.” “Not only for me as an Arab, but for the future of the United States,” said the young woman. Who maintains that “choosing the least worst candidate is a risky game”.

“I don’t like voting like that, I find it really hard”

Hannah

“If I only have these two choices, I see myself voting for Biden, despite everything,” concludes Hans. “Writing the name of a third person that you will never see does not do much good.” The couple regrets the absence of “younger and more progressive leaders, in whom a larger part of the population could see themselves”. Yet when asked if they could have supported a candidate who has already withdrawn from the presidential race, the answer is immediate and unanimous: “No.”

“A profound transformation”

“All the candidates are ultimately quite similar, in every election,” says Hannah. According to her, the problem is broader, and located at the system level. More precisely, the fact that it is structured around only two parties.

Difficult, in these conditions, to feel represented. “The Republicans are clearly crazy, but I find the Democrats lazy,” said the young woman. “They just oppose Trump, letting him do all the work.” She adds:

“The choice always comes down to the two parties, which operate like businesses. They base themselves on what their customers want, so to speak, and not on the country’s problems. I believe the United States needs a profound transformation.”

Hannah

Hans shares this observation. “I studied political science, the fact that the system does not work has always been obvious,” he says. “It’s a weird, archaic system. And, unfortunately, I don’t think we’re going to change it anytime soon.”

Probably not before November 5, anyway. Asked how they imagine the outcome of the vote, Hans suddenly becomes circumspect. “I hesitate a little to answer because in 2016, we all said to ourselves that there was no way, that no one was going to vote for him, that he was crazy,” recalls -he. “The next day, we were all in shock.”

“It is for this reason that I prefer not to comment, but we remain hopeful. If he is not elected, it will probably be thanks to the ongoing trials.

Hans

Hannah shares this caution, and says she also prefers to avoid predictions. Which will not prevent them from following the elections, but not minute by minute. “With each election, I am less and less interested,” notes the young woman.

“Maybe it’s because I’m mentally far from the United States”

The general observation remains bitter. “I don’t have much hope whatever happens,” Hannah sums up. “If Trump is not elected, we might be happy, but for me, it’s still sad.”

It remains to be seen in what state of mind the two Americans will follow the events. After a long silence, Hans responds: “With fear.”

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