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 US voters and asked nine questions to help understand who they are supporting and why.
[Courtesy of Travis Hueber]Age: 22
Occupation: Law and Research Intern with the Arizona Advocacy Network
Lives in: Maricopa County, Arizona
Elected for: Hillary Clinton in 2016
Will vote in 2020 for: Joe Biden
Top election question: Democracy
Are you going to vote Why or why not?
“I will vote. There are about 1,000 different subjects that I will be voting on. But democracy is definitely my number one issue … the United States is a relapsed democracy that has been particularly prevalent in the past four years, but of course has been prevalent throughout its history – depression, lack of franchise, all of that. “
What is your main problem?
“Democracy and free and fair elections are by far my biggest problem.
“I think that at least with my education in Arizona and just like the US citizens, we learned that the United States is a democracy, that it is a good one. And I don’t think that’s true. I think the fact that a state like mine in Arizona has the capacity, and is often pressured, to disenfranchise color voters, especially Native Americans, students, the elderly – now that we are in a pandemic – and the ceaseless ability of others States of having gerrymandered districts, the kind of lack of judicial independence, I also think is a big deal. You know, I think democracy is on the ballot here, not just with [the] Legislative, but also judiciary. “
Who will you vote for?
“I will vote for Joe Biden.”
Is there a main reason you picked your candidate?
“I think there are a lot of problems. I’ll start voting just because that’s my big deal. One of the main reasons I am voting for him is because of who I think will be tried. I am a very legal person and the current Supreme Court has already put down the bulk of the voting law. They look like they’re knocking down the rest. And I think the members of the court that Joe Biden would take on trial – I think hopefully they would go further than just protecting the voting rights law or whatever is used to replace it. I would hope that they would vote against Gerrymandering, I would hope that they would recognize voting as a fundamental right, as well as what I believe is protected by certain amendments to the constitution.
“Also, I think the country is in a place where it is finally beginning to recognize its bitter past of racial inequality and the problems of climate change and 1,000 different problems. I think we’ve got to a point where the parties – while Joe Biden is definitely very central – are very divided on these two issues and the Democratic Party by far has my opinion on them. “
Are you satisfied with the state of the country?
“No, I’m not. I’ve already talked about voting. You know, I think the fact that we are not a real democracy is by far my biggest problem with the country, but just the fact that education is something That is insanely unequal, if you have money, you are in the neighborhood with the highest property taxes, which are the main source of funding for education.
“The fact that we are a major contributor to climate change and we are not really taking the necessary steps to deviate from our contributions on such issues. And then too, you know, with the racial inequality and the fact that this isn’t the first time Black Lives Matter has become such a big problem and the fact that it has to be repeated over and over again, I think something that speaks about the ineffectiveness of our political institutions. “
What do you want to change?
“When it comes to voting, too, I think the number one thing I would like to change is a positive vote. I think that this could be done through the courts, I think that in both cases it could be done through the legislature. It just has to essentially happen. “
Do you think the election will change anything?
“I absolutely think it will be. I’ll be honest, Joe Biden wasn’t my choice. In the primaries, I was by far for Elizabeth Warren. So I’m definitely more left-wing than Joe Biden.
“But I think it is misleading to say that one or the other makes no difference and is simply misunderstood. Again, the people Joe Biden would bring to the courts will make a huge difference. And the fact that Joe Biden is actually ready to deal with issues like racial inequality, like climate change, voting, and respecting the institutions America cares about in order to improve them for the country, not just for its own redress Choice will be huge. “
What is your biggest concern for the US?
“I think things like climate change and things like racial inequality are some of the biggest concerns. But I think one of the reasons democracy is so important to me is because I think so [it’s] based on it.
“The fact that Black Lives Matter has to happen over and over again is, in my opinion, one of the reasons we are not a real democracy. So I think if we really want to address these major issues, this is the first thing we have to do [change] will America become a real democracy? “
Is there anything we didn’t ask about the choice that you want to share?
“I really think that the judiciary is on the ballot not only in terms of issues but also in terms of its independence and respect. In the past four years we have seen a new impact on the judiciary. In the last debate, President Trump boasted of all the judicial officer positions that President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden had left open for him and how pleased he was to fill them. And it was because Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans essentially said no to every single lawyer appointed by President Obama [up for confirmation].
“And even in the past four years, there has been a complete lack of norms where state senators don’t necessarily have a say in judicial officers who are tried in federal district or county appeals courts, and just the weirdness that there is to be taken to the Supreme Court. You know, I think this reflects less Gorsuch and more the Kavanaugh hearings where we had a Clarence Thomas-like nomination. And now with [Amy Coney Barrett]. I think that yes, the judiciary that the Democrats normally didn’t go for is definitely something that I think needs more high points. “