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A Young, Progressive Voter Grapples With Her Place In Politics


We heard a lot about young progressive voters during the Democratic primaries - remember way back when? But what happened to those voters after Joe Biden became the Democratic nominee? Sher Delva is a young voter who supported Bernie Sanders. Like him, she's a democratic socialist, and she's been thinking about how her political views fit into this election.

SHER DELVA, BYLINE: I remember how I felt the night Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election.


BARACK OBAMA: We will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people - yes, we can.


DELVA: I was 15 years old, and I thought I was lucky to be alive, that the world was changing, and I was a part of it.


UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #1: (Chanting) Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

DELVA: It was a monumental moment, especially for Black people.

Interesting photo, right?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: It's one of my favorite photo in the house.

DELVA: In my mother's living room, there's a black-and-white photo of Martin Luther King Jr.'s face Photoshopped beside Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Hopefully, my grandchildren will see it over and over and over to remind them they can be anything in America.

DELVA: My mom thinks Joe Biden is a great choice for president because of his connection to Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: They're very close. They're still close.

DELVA: She's still the same moderate Democrat she was in 2008. But I've strayed away from it.


UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #2: (Chanting) Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.

DELVA: I was 19 years old when the Occupy Wall Street protests started.


UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #3: (Chanting) All day, all week, occupy Wall Street.

DELVA: I went on YouTube to see why they were there. And I learned about income inequality and how the rich were getting richer. And I realized there's a lot we don't have control over. My sister Fadeline had a lot of medical debt after she was in a car accident, even with health insurance. And her co-pays are as high as $75.

FADELINE: It makes it hard for me to want to go to the doctor. Sometimes, I have to wait until I'm, like, more financially better and ready to start going and doing all the appointments.

DELVA: During Bernie Sanders' run for president in 2016, I began to believe in a system where people could go to the doctor without worrying about drowning in medical debt. I started questioning what I'd accepted as normal. So a year ago, I joined the Democratic Socialists of America. And when Bernie was running in the primary, we canvassed and phone banked for him. But now it feels like 2016 all over again - President Trump versus another centrist Democrat. Some people in my DSA chapter are voting third party.

LEBEAU KPADENOU: I'm not voting for Joe Biden. I'm not voting for Donald Trump.

DELVA: LeBeau Kpadenou is our DSA co-chair.

KPADENOU: If there weren't somebody running on the platform that I believe in, I wouldn't be voting for president.

DELVA: But many of us are planning to vote for Joe Biden, like Milo Keogh.

MILO KEOGH: I think I'll vote for Joe just because, you know, Trump's, like, a dangerous guy.

DELVA: I'll also vote for Joe Biden, but I still want more for the country. So I'm putting my energy elsewhere, like fighting for a higher minimum wage in Florida. Politics is more than elections and voting every four years. It's not enough to just boot Trump out of office and go back to normal. For NPR News, I'm Sher Delva in Boynton Beach, Fla.


MARTIN: Sher Delva's story is part of 18 To 29 Now: Young America Speaks Up. it's a collaboration between YR Media and WNYC's Radio Rookies.

(SOUNDBITE OF FAODAIL'S "NOSTOS (RETURNING)") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sher Delva