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.
Residence: Westmoreland County, PA
Voted in 2016 for: N/A
Will Vote in 2020 for: Donald Trump
Top Election Issue: Abortion
“I will be voting in this upcoming election. I actually already sent in my absentee ballot because I am away at college, and I’m not able to go back home and vote.
“I’m voting because I believe this is an especially consequential election for the future of this country. But even further than that, I believe as American citizens, it’s not only our right, but our duty to vote. Considering [that] so many places across the globe don’t have free and fair elections, the fact that we are guaranteed those, I believe we should take advantage of it and make our voices heard.”
“I am a traditional conservative, but if I had to narrow it down to a single policy issue, I would say abortion is probably my top issue. I believe that an unborn child’s right to life trumps anyone else’s right to convenience or choice. And I believe with millions of children being slaughtered every year with abortion, it’s our obligation to defend their lives.”
“President Donald J Trump.”
“I think whenever a lot of people answer this question, regardless of who they chose, [a lot] of times, it’s because ‘I believe they’re better than the alternative’. And for me, that’s just not the case. I actually do like President Trump.
“I like how he challenges the mainstream leftist narrative and the media, how he stood up for America on the global stage. He’s brought back millions of jobs for Americans. And I think he’s had a pretty conservative record over these past four years, especially putting up Amy Coney Barrett. I was really impressed with that. And so I’d love to see him another four years.”
“I would say overall, I’m not impressed with the state of the country in regards to how polarised we are. It doesn’t take a political analyst to tell that we are very polarised as a country. And I think the mainstream media will tell you that Trump is the great divider.
“But the reality is, both sides kind of thrive on that polarisation because it forces voters to pick a side. And, though that polarisation may be good for the candidates, I really don’t think it’s good for the country, because it leads us to not being able to even have civil discussion and hear the other person but instead, always putting the worst intentions onto our political opponents. I just think it’s a really hostile environment to have, and something that we should try to get away from as soon as possible.”
“Going off of that, I’d say I’d love to see us revert back to a time where we could have civil discussions with people of different opinions. I think at the end of the day, most Americans do want what is best for this country, even if we get that through different means. And so rather than assuming the worst, I think we should try to give each other the benefit of the doubt instead of what I think the left is doing a lot right now [which] is ‘cancelling,’ – you know, cancel culture – anyone that they disagree with and oppressing free speech.
“But I really think those are really important parts, being able to voice your opinion, even if it’s not popular. So I would love us to go back to a time where we could have debate and civil discussion.”
“I think the election has [the] potential to change things depending on how the Senate and the House [turn out]. I think if one party has all three – the House, the Senate, and the presidency – then I think we could see a lot of swift changes happen very [quickly].
“Otherwise, I think a lot of us have the mentality that if our candidate doesn’t get the White House, then it’s the end of the world, and everything is going to be ruined. But at the end of the day, I think there is that gridlock built in, so there can’t be too much sudden change. And I think that will be preserved as long as not one party has all three.”
“I’d say one of my biggest concerns, going forward, is the direction that our youth is heading. That’s not to say that all young people are socialists or leftists, but I think there is a startling amount of young people, in my generation especially, who are open to the ideas of socialism and think they’re a good idea.
“I think once the older conservatives get older and pass and we have the younger people growing up and starting to vote more, I think we’d be very susceptible to electing a socialist leader, maybe more people like AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and actually enacting these socialist policies, which I think would be very hard to come back from. That’s really concerning to me, and I think it would be a very sad reality if America fell to what we once fought so hard against.”
“I think what will be really interesting over the next few years, regardless of who wins the election, is to see how both the Democrat and Republican parties move forward in their platforms and [establish] their brand. I think the Democrats right now are at a crossroads of whether they choose to align themselves with people like AOC – socialist hard left – or with the moderate Democrats. I think even though right now, Joe Biden is the leader of the Democratic Party as their nominee, he is more of a moderate democrat or considered so. I think you can see with the rest of the party and the major leaders of the party right now – the ones that are getting most time are pretty left – and so I think they might be going that way, but it is a big choice that they have.
“Same with the Republicans. No matter what happens in this election, they’re going to have to put someone forward [for] 2024. And if they choose to continue the ‘Trumpian,’ anti-establishment populist legacy, and try to get that base that mobilised so well in 2016, I think that’ll be interesting, or to see if they’ll go back to a more establishment, traditional conservative candidate.
“And I think the two will honestly play off each other. What one does may impact how the other one chooses to go. And so that’s a question that we’ll see be answered in the next few years and that will be answered regardless of who wins this upcoming election.”