US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden are fighting for the presidency in the deeply divided United States.
Trump has focused on “law and order,” Biden has tried to strike a conciliatory note. The Black Lives Matter movement and whether Trump will free his taxes are among the many questions Americans will consider when choosing their president.
As the hotly contested elections draw near, Al Jazeera has spoken to voters in the US and asked nine questions to help understand who they are supporting and why.
[Courtesy of Emma Rosenberg]Age: 34 years
Occupation: PhD student, Political Science, Notre Dame University
Lives in: Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Elected in 2016: Hillary Clinton
Will vote in 2020: Joe Biden
Top electoral problem: prison reform
Are you going to vote Why or why not?
“Yes, I will vote.”
“I mean, I think it’s not just our right, it’s our responsibility these days. When my grandparents came to the United States, they were not full citizens of the countries they came from. Especially now, when an immigrant is often interpreted as something negative, I think it is more important than ever to let my voice count and to underline that I think the opposite. “
What is your main problem?
“Prison Reform. I think our justice system is broken. Not only is it corrupt, but the laws on which it is based and the laws it promotes [determine] Where some people can succeed and some cannot, and our current prison system enslaved people, there really is no other way to express it. And that kind of injustice is paramount.
“Of course, the voting rights of prisoners and persons convicted of criminal offenses depend on this. I don’t like the term “ex-criminal”. It is so ridiculously un-American to deny the right to vote. That should be the bare minimum for me that we should fight for this election. “
Who will you vote for?
Is there a main reason you picked your candidate?
“I’ve been a huge Joe Biden fan for a long time. I like its history, bipartisan relationships and support. I think he has a keen understanding of the many, many reasons that motivate voters to vote the way they do. And I think he understands that it’s not always about one or two issues – that people are complex.
“Other than that, Cory Booker was my first choice. I prefer a Democratic candidate who is a little to the left of Joe – or a lot to the left. “
Are you satisfied with the state of the country?
“I am not satisfied with the current state of the country. The distrust between people with different views is so sad and demoralizing. The fact that people do not believe they can speak to people who vote for another person or come from another party is a major obstacle to coalition formation, the search for compromise, and the search for common ground. Of course, some things can’t be compromised, but when we can’t even talk to people who are different from us, there isn’t much hope. “
What do you want to change?
“There are many things that I would like to change in the future.
“I think one of the things that worries me most is the amount of resources that go into the party primaries. I am a huge fan of voting. I’m a big fan of elections. But if you look at Massachusetts, where you had a campaign between Ed Markey and [Joe] Kennedy, just for the Democratic Elementary School seat, the amount of energy and resources invested in it that could have been put into tackling so many other more important issues – than the candidates are essentially very, very similar and many … both very, very progressive with proven track records – I found that very disturbing in these times when things are so polarized.
I would never stand in the way of additional choices. However, I think there needs to be some kind of reform of campaign funding not just between parties but also within the parties, as the way resources are being spent is likely to be out of proportion to how they should be. We have states that are bankrupt [and] We spend tens of thousands of dollars on elections. If we tear each other down in our own party, it will only be devastating.
“I wish we had made better decisions. How [a] Democrat, I wish the gender hadn’t been pushed under the carpet in this election, that was huge for me. We have a president whose platform is pushing women backwards, but has also shown so much disrespect for the minimum of female achievements in the last century. We had Democratic candidates who couldn’t successfully lift women, let alone women with color. It was deeply disturbing because it would have been wonderful to have believed in the process this time.
“The other big thing is that everyone should have the right to vote. No one should be deprived of this right, no matter what they do or what they claim to have done, because we already know that people who have been convicted of crimes for a long time have not committed those crimes – and the mandatory conviction destroyed the gravity of the original crime Completely. That’s another big thing that I want to change with this choice.
“Besides that, I’m pretty suspicious of the use of technology. I worry about the level of surveillance and how it contributes to distorted realities. “
Do you think the election will change anything?
“I think if Biden wins that will change. Unfortunately, I think if Trump wins something will change too.
“If Trump wins, on the one hand it is a real win for the normalization of hatred. I think he is an advocate of hatred in various fields, and his win will further legitimize this – it will no longer be a coincidence.
“If Biden wins, I can only hope that people who are afraid of doing the right thing will be less afraid and feel empowered knowing that very soon those responsible will change, with whom they may be able to trade more Caution and more compassion – especially with regard to COVID. “
What is your biggest concern for the US?
“I think the level of anger and feeling disenfranchised on both sides of the aisle is really scary. I think certain parts of the system are broken, but when people don’t believe in the system they look for other solutions. On the one hand, this can encourage really important change – sometimes you have to look outside the system to be innovative. On the other hand, it can be dangerous. “
Is there anything we didn’t ask about the choice that you want to share?
“One thing I think is unprecedented is the increased political commitment of [the] Military and [the] Ex-military. We have a tradition in America where there is a slightly larger wall between our species [civilian-military] Arenas, and that was a defining feature of American political culture. I mean that’s why [Douglas] MacArthur opposing the president was a big deal. “
“Across the spectrum of what we in America refer to as the military or the armed forces – it’s a very complex, diverse continuum – ranging from essentially minute or independent militias to our more institutionalized armed forces with our reserves in the middle. This is new to us. And one of the things traditionally was the real fear of the military getting involved in politics. To this end, at least anecdotally, the military tends to vote less than the general population and be less politically involved, given the feeling that the commander in chief is the one who was elected. And most importantly, we can wholeheartedly and obediently serve those responsible. “
“But we’re seeing so much input from [the] military [and] Ex-military and that strange relationship with independent militias that often have ties to our armed forces [or army]. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to hearing new voices. But it’s a real change in the way security is talked about. And I think this is just a new time for [civilian-military] Relationships. “