US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling for the presidency in a sharply divided United States.
Trump has been focusing on “law and order”, Biden has been trying to strike a conciliatory note. The Black Lives Matter movement, and whether Trump will release his taxes are among the many issues Americans will consider when choosing their president.
As the hotly contested election approaches, Al Jazeera has been speaking to voters across the US asking nine questions to understand who they are supporting and why.
Age: 23 Occupation: Regional Organizing Director for NextGen America Residence: Dane County, Wisconsin Voted in 2016: Hillary Clinton Will vote in 2020: Joe Biden Top election issue: Climate Change
Will you vote? Why or why not?
“It’s really important to vote and for everyone to vote because it’s our way, in this country, of having our say in politics most directly.
“There have been so many races that have come so close. I mean in 2016, among the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, I think it came down to 70,000 or 80,000 people – that’s enough for a football stadium, so it came down to a football stadium worth of people. And I know in Virginia, where I grew up, there have been some really close state legislature races, one coming down to pulling a name out of a bowl.
“So, really, everyone’s vote matters. It’s the way to have your say in what you think the future of our country or your city should look like. Everyone should go out and vote!”
What is your number one issue?
“My number one issue this election is climate change. I think for people in my generation – I’m on the cusp of a millennial and Gen Z – I think for people about my age, climate change is really important to us because we’re already seeing it happen right now.
“The West Coast is on fire, their skies are literally orange. I think I read somewhere that they ran out of names to name hurricanes in the Southeast because there have been so many this season, which is terrible, but it really just shows that we’re already feeling the effects of climate change now and it’s happening all over the world.
“We really need to step up and make sure we’re voting this fall for someone who is going to take climate change seriously.”
Who will you vote for?
“I’m voting for Joe Biden.”
Is there a main reason you chose your candidate?
“Just relating back to climate change, I think Joe Biden has really shown, since he clinched the nomination earlier this year, that he is taking climate change seriously. He’s built up a really good team to help him formulate his climate plans. I think his goals are strong and really achievable, again, if we get someone in the White House within the next few years who actually believes in climate change.
“Also, his plan includes a lot of building of green infrastructure, technology, and moving to cleaner energy sources. And all of those are going to create a lot more jobs, which, especially now, thanks to Trump’s terrible management of the coronavirus which has led millions to be out of work, these jobs are much needed.”
Are you happy with the state of the country?
“I am definitely not happy with the state of the country. If you told me back in 2015 or 2016 that Donald Trump would be our president and that in 2020 we would spend over half a year working from home, doing school from home, and that there would be over 200,000 dead Americans, I don’t think I’d believe you. And, even if I did, I would think, ‘well, I think the obvious choice is whoever the Democrats put up against him.’ Definitely not happy with the state of things.
“In addition to that, I think we’ve seen, over this past spring and summer especially, a new civil rights movement. And there just hasn’t been the type of response that I think many people expect from the federal government regarding that. So, I’m also looking for that to be changed.”
What would you like to see change?
“Certainly getting the coronavirus pandemic under control at a federal level. Meaningful legislation to match the current civil rights movement going on, and the police brutality against primarily Black and Indigenous people of colour. And serious movement on climate change.”
Do you think the election will change anything?
“Definitely. I think if Joe Biden gets elected, we’ll have an EPA head who believes in climate change, we will have an attorney general that will take civil rights violations very seriously. I think that’s the important thing – it’s not just electing Joe Biden, but you’re also getting Kamala Harris as vice president, and a really great administration, executive branch, and cabinet.”
What’s your biggest concern for the US?
“I know I’ve talked about climate change a lot already, but again, just with the fires on the West Coast and the hurricanes in the Southeast, I’m really concerned about that.
“Obviously coronavirus – we just surpassed 200,000 dead Americans, and specifically in my state of Wisconsin, having a lot of college towns and students returning to campus, we’re just seeing huge huge increases in our state. Positivity rates and transmission rates among people are just kind of off-the-charts at this point. It’s really scary! Those are my top two concerns.”
Is there anything we haven’t asked about the election that you want to share?
“I think young people are really motivated to go vote this fall. I think they know what’s at stake for our future and for our country, so I’m really looking forward to an increase in the youth vote in 2020.”