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Actress Allison Janney, left, and director and writer Sian Heder, right, pick up and swing actress Ellen Page, center, as they pose at the premiere of “Tallulah” during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival .— AP
Actress Allison Janney, left, and director and writer Sian Heder, right, pick up and swing actress Ellen Page, center, as they pose at the premiere of “Tallulah” during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival .— AP

Sundance film review: Ellen Page in 'Tallulah'

KANSAS CITY: Young US voters have been through graduations, new jobs and the end of COVID restrictions since the last presidential election, but next year’s likely Trump-Biden rematch has left many Americans in their early 20s with an uneasy sense of deja vu.

As a university student dealing with pandemic life, Olivia Besgrove felt so demoralized by the 2020 political environment that she opted out of voting altogether. “I remember thinking ‘I feel like if anyone finds out who I voted for, somehow, someone’s going to have a problem and try to argue,” said Besgrove, who said her views usually lean Republican.

“So I literally just didn’t vote,” she said. “I was overwhelmed and scared of it.” Now working overnights as a nurse and with a degree under her belt, the 23-year-old from Missouri is potentially facing an identical presidential choice in 2024 — though this time she has already seen how both Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump handle themselves in the White House.

“Now four years forward, I still kind of see myself in that same position,” she said. “I would be more leaning towards voting for Trump, but I also am in the same position where I can see where they both have had their flaws,” she said, explaining she thinks 80-year-old Biden is better on foreign policy but prefers 77-year-old Trump on the economy.

“But I just feel like with everything going on in the world as of late, it makes me scared for Donald Trump to be in office,” Besgrove said of the real estate tycoon, who is facing several criminal trials over his conduct before, during and after his time as president. “He has a loud mouth,” she said.

Muhammad Rahman, who was also a college student at the time, did cast a ballot in 2020. He opted for Biden — as did 59 percent of voters under age 30, according to data from Pew Research — as his “only option” as a left-leaning voter. But now he’s second-guessing that choice.

“It’s safe to say I kind of regret that decision,” said the 23-year-old from Illinois, who recently started at his first full-time job, working in hospital-patient relations. Rahman said he plans to skip the 2024 Oval Office race, if confronted with the same choice. — AFP

“Assuming it is Biden and Trump, I think I would sit out the election,” he said. “It’s essentially picking the lesser of two evils, in my opinion, and the hard part is finding out which one is the lesser evil.”

Rahman, who is focused on issues such as gun control and student loan forgiveness, has in recent weeks also soured on Biden over the United States’ role in the Zionist entity’s fight against Hamas in Gaza. “I don’t like how the president has handled it so far,” he said.

‘Very worried’

Rahman “definitely, 100 percent” has concerns about the candidates’ ages. “Trump is more old-fashioned, the way he thinks and the way he handles the country,” he said. “I think (Biden’s) weaknesses are more of a capability” question, Rahman said. “He, half the time, doesn’t know what’s going on.”

Andrew Holcroft, a 24-year-old product designer living in Florida, said he is “very worried” to see Trump and Biden on yet another presidential ballot, especially since they are both more than 50 years his senior. “One has a huge legal battle and can’t keep his mouth shut,” he said. “And another one is struggling to pull everything together,” he added.

Biden’s age in particular makes Holcroft wonder “what his mental capacity and awareness and ability to serve really looks like,” he said. “I love having people with experience,” he said. “But there comes a time when folks have to be able to step aside.”

Holcroft, who is focused on issues such as reproductive rights, climate change and Ukraine and the Zionist entity, ultimately picked Biden over Trump in 2020. And if it comes down to the same choices again? “With those two, I would vote for Biden and hope for the best for the next four years,” he said.

But according to an Emerson College poll from last month, more US voters aged 18 to 29 said they would vote for Trump over Biden in 2024 by about two percentage points, around the same margin Trump led Biden in the poll overall. Holcroft said he wants to encourage his friends to vote and make their voices heard — though according to the Emerson poll, young voters are among the most likely to remain undecided. “Who knows what a year from now looks like compared to today,” Holcroft said.

Rahman said he would try to go into 2024 with an open mind. “If one of them presents a better argument than the other, it’s likely that they could convince me,” he said — but then quickly reconsidered. “Still, thinking about it now, I really wouldn’t want to vote for either.” – AFP

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