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BECK: Vote for best candidate, not who’s most likable
Beck column
President Donald Trump prepares to speak at a recent rally. Voters decide Tuesday if he’ll get four more years. — Wikimedia Commons

I’ll never forget the first time I voted. It was difficult, really. Going into the day, I thought I knew how I would cast my ballot. I thought I had decided exactly who I would choose. But once the ballot was in front of me, it’s like everything went blank.

My best friend was running for sixth grade class president of Douglas Middle School, but so was a girl I really liked. My name was also on the ballot — for a lower “Cabinet” position, if I’m not mistaken.

So how do you cast your vote in such a situation? Well, in those days it seemed simple. You just picked who you liked better, right? Those kind of elections were just popularity contests, as I soon found out after getting demolished by my opponent that year. 

Thank God life goes on and times change… Or do they?

This year, voters will decide who becomes the next president of the United States, among other positions. 

Each candidate has an agenda. Each candidate has loudly voiced their stance on hot-button issues. Each have their accolades. But what if I told you none of that matters?

You see, most people aren’t going to read about each candidate’s plans for the next four years.  Unfortunately, many voters make their decision based on likability. In other words, someone may cast their vote for Joe Biden because they’re tired of President Donald Trump’s antics. Forget about Biden’s plans to raise taxes on the rich, which will cause a trickle down effect that will hit middle- and lower-class families with fury. That person is voting for Biden simply because he isn’t Trump, and he or she will worry about the aftermath later.

In 2016, the Pew Research Center — a “nonpartisan fact tank” that conducts public opinion polls, demographic research and content analysis — reported 53% of Hillary Clinton supporters said they considered their vote more in support of her, while 46% said their vote was more against Trump. Meanwhile, 53% of Trump supporters said their vote was primarily against Clinton, and 44% said their vote was in support of the president.

If I were a betting man, I’d almost guarantee those numbers will stay the same for Trump voters and be even greater for Biden voters.

I’m a registered Republican voter, but I’m not afraid to say that Trump can be awful at times. His antics are often disconcerting. Many times he’ll say things that leave me scratching my head, asking, “What on Earth are you thinking?”

He’s brash, but he’s also real, which is why I believe so many people love him. He’s far from your typical politician. He calls things out as he sees them and doesn’t care if it hurts your feelings.

He also keeps his word.

Trump lowered taxes, as he said he would, which means more money in your pockets.

There’s been record job growth. Prior to COVID-19, Hispanic, Asian and African American unemployment rates all reached record lows.

He’s also negotiated trade deals that finally benefit the U.S.

While Biden’s plans include raising taxes during a pandemic, he’s been quite unclear concerning other items on his agenda.

So where do I stand? As Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Robert Johnson told NBC late September, “I will take the devil I know over the devil I don’t know anytime of the week.”

I know many people have voted already, but if you haven’t, I encourage you not to vote with your heart on your sleeve. See past the personalities. 

When casting your ballot, do so with knowledge of what each candidate stands for and how their plans could impact our country, state and county — regardless of who you choose.

Taylor Beck is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. He can be reached at