By Catherine Brown–
Presidential elections are less than one month away. Get out and vote like your future depends on it—because it does.
This election cycle has been called “the most important election of our lifetimes” by various politicians including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.
The importance of this election comes from the political polarization in this country. Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, voters seem to fall primarily along two party lines–either Democrat or Republican. Of course, many Americans still fall within a third party. But we’re taught to see our political party as right, and all others as wrong.
That’s why it can be frustrating to not see a candidate whom you feel aligns with your views. In this election, we see the conservative Republican incumbent versus the liberal Democratic former vice president. Both have the political experience necessary to take on the role as president for the next four years. But many voters were dependent on the presidential debates to determine where they would cast their vote.
And the first presidential debate certainly didn’t hit swing voters with as much impact as we would hope.
“Focus groups and polling suggest that the first presidential debate did little to convince swing voters to vote for one candidate over the other,” said Jennifer Anderson, a political science professor at U of L specializing in campaigns and elections.
In fact, it seems like the first debate might’ve had the opposite effect.
“Some focus group evidence from the NY Times, NPR and others suggest the debate pushed some undecided voters more toward opting out of voting rather than voting for one candidate over the other,” Anderson said.
But sooner or later, voters need to make a choice.
Anderson analyzed the overall effectiveness of the two campaigns, as well as ways in which each candidate could improve.
“Trump continues to do well with his base. His nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is sitting well with most Republicans, and the nomination serves as a reminder to Republicans that there are lasting implications for voting for a president of one’s own party, even for those who aren’t Trump fans,” Anderson said.
She said his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak is a low point in his campaign. It certainly doesn’t help Trump having such a massive global pandemic so close to Election Day.
Anderson also said Trump is inconsistent with the messaging in his campaign.
Ian McCall, a sophomore, plans to vote for Trump.
“I’m voting for Trump because this election is more than just a battle of policy. Our country is more divided than it has ever been. This election has become a battle of culture, and I as many conservatives feel that all our institutions and our very way of life is under threat,” McCall said.
“Biden will take the country in a direction that seems decidedly un-American to me. My concern is doing what is best for the people in my life and that, to me, is voting for Trump,” he said. “I understand some feel that voting for Biden is what is best for the country and in truth I don’t believe there is an objectively right or wrong way to run the country.”
Anderson said that analysts predicted that Biden would make “costly gaffes in his campaign,” but that he has largely avoided mistakes. She said Biden could improve through changing the “finding a way to change the narrative around his older age and perceived frailty.”
Joe Biden has been criticized by Trump and his supporters for his slurred speech and forgetfulness, so much so, that Trump has given Biden the nickname “Sleepy Joe.”
Lorenzo Rowan, a sophomore, will be voting for Biden.
“I believe that Biden is the easier candidate to bully into making substantive changes for POC and LGBTQ with nationwide intersectional protests against his administration,” Rowan said.
Another reason Rowan said he’s voting for Biden is because of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his climate change policies.
“Over 200k Americans are dead from COVID-19 because of Trump’s ineptitude, stupidity and narcissism. Trump’s lack of belief in the existence of human-caused climate changed had cost us precious time to address that existential crisis. Biden has proposed a $2 trillion dollar plan to help with climate change.”
This year, Election Day looks a little different for much of America. While in person polling places will still be around, our democracy is also relying on mail-in votes being cast.
Unfortunately, voting fraud is already happening.
Unauthorized ballot boxes were set up by the California Republican Party to count unofficial votes in the state. This is an act of voter suppression, intended to take away the voice and democratic power of those who might threaten the chances of certain candidates being elected. It is also against state law.
Other polling locations are facing long lines with several hours of waiting just to receive a ballot.
Don’t let this be a deterrent in exercising the right to vote. Despite concerns around fraudulent behavior in regards to mail-in voting, voter fraud is actually rare.
In this pandemic, millions of Americans are given the opportunity to avoid possibly catching or spreading COVID-19. By mail-in voting, you can show that you value both voting and being safe around others. Even if you decide to vote in person, you’ll have your vote counted and it will impact our country’s future.
Louisville voters can access one of many drop-box locations around the city.
Everybody that is eligible to vote needs to get out and do their part for our democracy.
Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal