Voice your vote

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The case against not voting

by Andrew Lam

In 2016, only 55% of voting-age Americans cast their ballot in the presidential election, making it the lowest since 1996. However, the stakes in the 2020 election are even higher, especially since the elected candidate will be the one leading the United States through this devastating pandemic. Voters must vote to keep their voice in democracy alive.

Refusing to vote is forfeiting an invaluable voice in democracy. The consensus of the people governs how a democracy is run. Not pitching in a voice to the public opinion allows others to assume that voice. This results in an inaccurate representation of what the public wants, undermining the very purpose of democracy, to reflect public sentiment and to represent.

Voting is a chance to move towards change and is one of the only ways an average citizen can be directly involved. 2020 has brought many controversial questions to the political table: how to combat COVID-19, how to revive the economy, and how to address issues on race and equality. Each person has their own thoughts and their own answers to these impactful questions. Voting allows for the best answer to be chosen and guides the government’s initiative on the issues.

The vote loses its apparent value to voters when they feel they are merely picking the lesser of two evils rather than electing a candidate they truly support. Nevertheless, one of those candidates will ultimately be elected, and one should have a say in which candidate it will be. In the best-case scenario, the candidate one prefers is elected. By giving up one’s vote, they are also giving up their right to complain because the opportunity to change the outcome was refused.

Voters must research the candidates, their proposed policies, their background in politics, and any other information needed to best inform their vote. The 2020 election is just around the corner. There is not a more crucial time to start this research than now. When voters are well-informed, they will feel that their vote matters, and their voice in democracy rings loud.

Profile on presidential candidates

by Andrew Lam

The 2020 presidential election will be unlike any election ever seen. The year has been politically charged by riots, a vacancy on the Supreme Court, and, above all, a pandemic that has derailed everyone’s lives. This all factors into making the 2020 election especially consequential. Because of these circumstances, being informed about the two major presidential candidates takes on a whole new level of importance and gravity.

Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee for the presidential race. He earned a degree in history and political science at the University of Delaware and received a law degree from Syracuse University Law School. Beginning in 1973, Biden served as a representative for Delaware in the Senate for 36 years. Biden has run for president twice, once in 1987 and again in 2007, but dropped out both times. He served as Vice President under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.

Biden’s running mate is California Senator Kamala Harris. The Biden campaign has been angled as a challenge to President Donald Trump. Biden plans to counter the pandemic by making free testing available to all Americans, diverting more manpower into contact tracing, and mandating the use of masks in public. While Trump was criticized for attempting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Biden aims to preserve and improve it through lowering medical costs and drug prices and protecting rural hospitals. For foreign policy, Biden assures that he is unafraid to use the military, but diplomacy will be the main tool for America’s global engagement. Biden also ensures that he will end costly “forever wars” such as those in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Donald Trump is the Republican presidential candidate and the incumbent president. Trump earned a Bachelor of Science in economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. He eventually joined his family’s real estate company, Elizabeth Trump & Son, and entered the entertainment world as an executive producer. Trump previously ran for the presidency in 1999 under the Reform Party.

Trump is running with current Vice President Mike Pence. The Trump campaign’s “America First” platform is focused on decisions in the economy, jobs, immigration, and foreign policy that will benefit Americans. In response to COVID-19, the Trump administration implemented travel restrictions in February that denied entry to those who visited China for 14 days. Although Trump has been unwilling to do so at times, his administration has urged Americans to wear masks. In trying to prevent national panic, Trump has been notorious for, and admits to, deflating statistics and giving the public false assurance of the government’s handle on the pandemic.

In health care, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed under Trump repealed the mandate that forced Americans to buy insurance and imposed taxes on those who were unable to afford it. Trump has approached immigration with the intention of protecting American communities and jobs. He promoted the construction of a wall along the southern border and, under his administration, took down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that exempted children brought illegally from deportation.

Both candidates have promised visions for the future of the United States. Being well-informed about the candidates and the present issues affirms one’s stance on their visions. Voting is a mouthpiece that amplifies one person’s voice throughout the nation, and makes clear which vision the people want their country to follow.

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