The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Trump victory in Iowa caucus sparks Gen-Z interest in independent voting options

Matt Rourke via AP
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures after speaking at a campaign event in Portsmouth, N.H., Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024.

After former President Donald Trump swept the Iowa Republican caucus on Jan. 15, many people in Generation Z — people ages 11 to 26 — want to avoid voting for incumbent President Joe Biden and Trump by either voting third party or not at all.

Trump received 51% of the votes in Iowa, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 21% and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley with 19%, according to The New York Times

Many college students who intend to vote in the upcoming presidential election, like DePaul sophomore Fajar Malik, will choose any candidate other than Trump or Biden. This means considering independent candidates. 

“We have been pushed towards this narrative that you can either vote red or blue,” Malik said. “And if you vote for anything else, then you might as well just not have voted at all. It’s like you have zero contribution to the system that’s going to place all these regulations and rules for you.”

Reagan Nagel, a freshman in political science at Butler University, believes there will be a rise in votes for independent candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of America’s 35th president, John F. Kennedy, because she has heard many republicans and democrats saying they want new candidates in the race. 

Even with 43% of Americans identifying as Independent, according to Axios, Nagel said that she worked on a project based on third-party candidates and their success rates. She determined that the odds of a third-party candidate winning are low. 

“It’s difficult to say who you should vote for,” Nagel said. “However, at the end of the day, as a U.S. citizen who has the right to vote, I believe it is still important to express my opinion because this person will be leading the country for the next four years.”

 It didn’t come as much of a surprise that Trump won the Iowa caucus, according to Isabelle Woodward, a junior at Iowa State University — where the caucus was held. Woodward said hearing the voters’ talk surrounding Trump in Iowa for the past couple of years let her know the next election would be a Trump vs. Biden rematch.

“I personally wish I wasn’t eligible to vote,” Woodward said. “Because no matter the outcome, people are going to blame those who voted for the winning party for any and all problems that occur while (the winning candidate) is in office. It feels like there is no win-win situation whether you vote or not as an eligible voter.”

Malik said while there is a lot of pessimism about the election among people in the 18- to 25-year-old age range, she hopes this election will bring the third party to a position of power it has never had before. 

“We need to understand that we really aren’t limited by two choices,” Malik said. “Once we start to go towards the independent route and once we start to show our political system that we want something beyond this (two-party system), I think people will start to make that choice.”

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