Before the 2020 Presidential Election

Mikaela Voinov, Staff Writer

With the 2020 presidential election right around the corner, the results of the polls are at the forefront of almost every American’s mind. One way or another, the results of this election will have drastic effects on the future of our nation; it seems that the country has never been so divided over two political candidates. Even the campaign commercials seem to be at a record high, and ads for both parties flood almost every media source. The entire nation, torn in two, seems to be holding its breath in anticipation of the outcome.

This year, the Democratic presidential nominee is Joe Biden, who was the former vice president to Barack Obama and served eight years in this position. For thirty-six years before that, Biden served as a senator for his home state of Delaware, filling a seat in Congress from 1973 until 2009. Joe Biden’s slogan, and stated ultimate goal if he is elected, is to “Build America Back Better.” Biden’s campaign also has the support and endorsements of former president Barack Obama, as well as his former Democratic opponents Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. In stark contrast, the Republican presidential nominee this year is Donald Trump, the current president. Trump’s slogan is, “Keep America Great,” a continuation of his slogan from the 2016 presidential election, “Make America Great Again.” Before his election to office in 2016, Trump made a name for himself through the immense wealth that he earned through his various financial endeavors. 

Throughout the months leading up to election day, both nominees toured the country, (within limitation due to the pandemic), speaking at rallies and stopping at destinations along their campaign trails. Biden spoke in known Democratic-leaning, liberal states such as New Hampshire and California, and Trump in states such as Texas and Tennessee. Though met with high approval ratings in those states, both candidates set their sights on the swing states. Swing states are notoriously undecided in each election, and their electoral votes can “swing” the election in one direction or the other. These states include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. That said, the election truly started to pick up steam during the first presidential debate. Both candidates voiced their opinions and plan to resolve current issues in forceful and unyielding mannerisms. One of the purposes of the debates leading up to the election is to aid undecided voters in choosing either one candidate or the other. 

Generally, the debates are a great way to hear each nominee’s stances on pressing issues. However, the first presidential debate was reported on almost every front to have done just the opposite. The disorganized, and at times extremely out of control nature of the debate left viewers feeling confused, and unable to recall both Trump and Biden’s stances on important issues. The most memorable takeaway from the night, according to multiple sources, was ultimately how hard it was to understand what either of the nominees was saying. Both debaters engaged in banter that personally attacked the other and interruptions were frequent. Confusion aside, a few of the issues discussed during the debate were the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, gun rights, and abortion rulings. Almost immediately, it became clear that the current president was desperate to “upend a race in which polls show[ed] him trailing” (New York Times). The debate was deemed ineffective and chaotic by practically every article on every media source, and while Trump was claimed to be largely at fault, neither candidate was entirely to blame. One memorable and largely reported incident from that night was Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacy, even after being given multiple opportunities to do so, according to the New York Times article, Six Takeaways from the First Debate. This stirred much controversy and fueled backlash by several different groups.

After the disaster of a first debate, the next debate, set a few weeks later, utilized microphone muting and other precautionary measures to ensure a respectful and organized function. As a result of this, the debate proved to be much more civil on all fronts according to many media outlets. A few of the key topics discussed at the second debate included each nominee’s personal financial states, climate change, the pandemic, and national healthcare. 

When mediator Kirsten Walker attempted to segue into the topic of Russian and Iranian affairs, she was quickly cut off by the president, who who claimed the Biden family had been secretly accepting money from the Russians, and that Hunter Biden, Joe’s son, had been profiting off the money his father was receiving. Biden shot back that Trump should release his own tax returns before he criticizes Biden for anything, as Trump refuses to release his statements even after heavy pressure from the American public. While the character and honesty of the two nominees will doubtlessly play a role in the election, most people felt the amount of time the two candidates spent sparring about personal financial entanglements was time wasted. Many felt the time could have been spent discussing the more pressing issues that the nation is currently facing. The pandemic was also an extremely anticipated topic of discussion for both debates and viewers found that both men had extremely different views on what living in the midst of an international pandemic should look like. 

Trump, after surviving the virus himself, claimed that the virus would resolve itself in time and that it is “something we have to learn to live with” (ABC News). Biden, on the other hand, believes that the nation’s top priority right now should be working towards a vaccine for the virus, considering the thousands of people that have already fallen victim. In keeping with the topic of the pandemic, healthcare also came up frequently in this debate. Biden, having served under Obama when Obamacare was put in place, is in favor of keeping the national healthcare plan, although he was falsely accused many times of wanting to repeal private healthcare by Trump. Trump has spent much of his time in office promising a new healthcare plan once he is able to repeal Obamacare. Though he is reaching the last few days of his term, no set plan has yet been proposed. After confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, however, Trump may be able to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

With Biden reportedly six points ahead in a few crucial swing states, the polls appear promising for him, yet Trump cannot be counted out yet. Similar outcomes were foreseen in the 2016 election for Hillary Clinton, and still Trump was able to win the election due to the electoral college vote. With so much uncertainty about the future of our nation, all eyes are on the results of this unpredictable election.