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.
Occupation: Lobbyist for a medical professional trade association and adjunct professor at The George Washington University
Residence: Fulton County, Georgia
Voted in 2016: Hillary Clinton
Will Vote in 2020: Joe Biden
Top Election Issue: Addressing key concerns for the US
“Of course, I will be voting and why? Well, it’s one of the ways in which average citizens can express their voice. It gives an opportunity to express who we choose, who we want our leaders to be. But I think more profoundly, voting is a way – which is a right, I believe – but it’s a way to determine the larger, probably esoteric, philosophical questions about who we are as a country.
“What are our values as a country? And who do we wish to become as a country? And what type of politics I think also, do we choose to endorse? Do we choose to endorse politics of fear and divisiveness or do we choose to endorse politics of inclusivity and progressiveness?
“And so I think that voting is a much larger, again, philosophical, ethical question, and that’s why I choose to vote.”
“I don’t necessarily have a number one issue. I think there are multiple issues that need to be addressed. Obviously, race, racism/criminal justice is an issue of concern. I think climate justice – [the] climate crisis is an issue of concern. We have 11 million undocumented individuals who are living in the shadows of this country. So, immigration is a concern. In addition to those who were born here, through no fault of their own, but are not citizens – that’s a concern.
“So, I think all of these issues for me are concerns. I don’t have a favourite [one], really – I rarely have favourites of anything, and so it’s hard for me to say these are my top concerns. But I think there are major concerns in this country. And I think all of those concerns need to really be addressed.”
“I will be voting for Biden and Harris.”
“Well, he certainly was not my favourite candidate when you look at the Democratic primary. But again, going to ‘who do we want to be as a country?’ What are our values as a country?
“Quite frankly, I have been rather disgusted and turned off by the racist tropes of the current administration. I have not been necessarily gravely impressed with any of [Trump’s] policies, though, there were a few good ones, but nothing [drastic].
“When it comes down to the two candidates, it’s Biden, or Trump. And when you look at where we are as a country, when you look at our international standing in the world, you really do have to make a conscious and clear decision in terms of who we are as a country, and who we wish to become. And so when I look more comprehensively at that versus things, quite frankly, that might be more important to me individually. I have no choice, from my perspective, of course, but to vote for Biden and Harris.”
“No, I’m not happy with the current state of our country. Why? Well, look at the number of social protests that we’ve seen – specifically, I think in regards to police brutality – but I think more comprehensively of the 401 years African Americans have suffered in this country through slavery, discrimination, segregation, and even now present-day police brutality.
“Look at, of course, the uprising in hate militia groups in this country. Look at the platform that they have been given. Look at the grave mishandling of the public health crisis caused by COVID-19. So, when you look at the divisiveness and our political system – more at the national level, particularly regarding Congress – and so when you look at all of these aspects, one has no choice – again, I have no choice, but to be gravely disappointed in where we are as a country and where we are as a nation.”
“Well, in my ideal world, if there is a new administration in 2021, I think – and if I was advising that administration – I think there needs to be a plan to address race, racism, criminal justice. I think that we need to realign ourselves with the Paris Accord. I think that we also need to realign ourselves with the World Health Organization.
“I think it is going to take a tremendous amount of undoing, particularly concerning a lot of things that this past administration has done. And so I think there needs to be really a comprehensive plan about how – from a legislative perspective – working, of course, with the Congress about how we’re going to move the country forward, both nationally, as well as internationally.”
“[An] election has consequences. We see that, of course, at the presidential level. But we also see that at the local, and state, and municipality level, as well. And so yes, I think that depending on how the country decides to vote in-large, I think we will see some changes. And I think we will see some changes at the state level, I think we will see some changes at the municipal level. But I also think we will see some changes at the congressional and national level, as well.
“Clearly, we are in the midst, at least in the States, we are in the midst of a Supreme Court hearing. And President Trump has appointed or has appointed three [justices] – probably the last will be confirmed – and so, when you think about the presidential election, at the very least, his legacy, quite frankly, is cemented in the sense that he has appointed three Supreme Court justices to the United States, in addition to the number of executive orders – which really didn’t mean anything – he has signed into law, and some of the major pieces of legislation that he has signed and some of the more regulatory ‘behind-the-scenes’ on doing he has taken with regard to undoing the Affordable Care Act.
“So, all of that said, yes, [an] election has consequences. And I do hope, of course, that voters really make conscious and educational decisions. And I hope that they think about the broader American community when they vote, rather than our individual self-interest.”
“[My] biggest concern for the US right now is civil unrest – mainly by militiamen who typically tend to be Trump supporters, also angry white men. I think another big concern is the ongoing level of issues regarding inclusion, belonging – which, of course, doesn’t just extend itself into the criminal justice system – but I think it extends itself into other aspects of life.
“Another concern is the ongoing public health crisis that we see in our country. And then a fourth concern is a pending constitutional crisis on our hands.”
“Well, I think that the only last question I think about this election is when we begin to really look at our federal republic and our democracy. And the fact that the president is sowing seeds of doubt within our national election, and in our mailing system, causes me great concern and I think, pending, hopefully not, particularly if there’s a landslide – but if the election results are really close, I think we are on the brink of seeing a constitutional crisis on our hands, and more of why voting is important.
“And I think lastly, which you didn’t ask, but I think it’s also important is that more American voters have to understand that it just doesn’t end at voting. It’s about civic engagement beyond simply voting. It’s about participating in town halls, it’s about writing to your members of Congress, it’s about connecting with organisations that support issues and policies that you care about.
“I teach at GW (George Washington University); I tell my students that everybody has a lobbyist, whether you know it or not. So connecting with those organisations that support your interest doesn’t stop with voting. And I think that’s going to be critical. And I think that’s going to be key, particularly as we think about and determine what type of country we want to be.”