With days remaining, East voters weigh in on magnitude of current politics

President Donald J. Trump speaks with supporters at a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 18th, 2016, months leading up to his November Presidential election. According to the last Presidential debate hosted on Thursday, October 22nd, Trump focused, among other things, on the state of the nation’s economy during a pandemic. “We can’t close up our nation. We have to open our schools and we can’t close up our nation, or you’re not going to have a nation,” Trump said. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons & Gage Skidmore.

Addressing the upcoming election on November 3rd, East students and staff eligible to vote in this November’s election expressed their thoughts on present societal issues and if those issues affect their representative vote for the election — Presidential or otherwise.

“We are the newest generation who can actually vote and have a say in the outcome of the election. I think it’s necessary for everyone to vote, since our futures will be greatly affected by the outcome,” senior Claire Gates said. 

While the opinions on several societal problems varied, one thing became increasingly noticeable and similar in their responses: Current societal disputes hold a huge impact on who the people will ultimately vote for. 

Based upon the interviews conducted for this feature, one thing voters seem to agree on, however, is the amount of work that needs to be done as a country. While the ideas for change differ depending on where one stands politically, the notion for change remains strong. 

“I believe that the President could have handled the Coronavirus much better as he was notified of the virus in January and chose to not do anything until the situation became worse,” senior Matthew Chen said. 

Fellow senior Kathryn Norris also mentioned how the pandemic may worsen in America due to its ongoing effect currently and over the course of the winter to come.

Another shared concern among the interviewees included the people’s rights. 

“[One] of the most important political issues that we need to be taking seriously are our rights, specifically regarding women and the BLM movement,” Gates said.

The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) as a judicial judge has created a division between the political parties. RBG was an advocate for women and LGBTQ+ rights, ensuring they were seen as equal. Her loss, however, has many fearful of how their rights may be disturbed.

“Marriage equality is being reopened by the Supreme Court recently and may be taken away once again,” Norris said. 

With such big issues on the line in this upcoming election, the importance to vote has become increasingly prevalent. 

“We are the newest generation who can actually vote and have a say in the outcome of the election. I think it’s necessary for everyone to vote, since our futures will be greatly affected by the outcome.”

— senior Claire Gates 

Even if one is ineligible to vote, being informed on political events is important to fully understand the political climate.

“I do believe that it is extremely important for young people to be involved in politics,” Gates said. “Do your own research and become an informed citizen.” 

The many events that have occurred this year have left the United States divided, according to much of the polling published as of late. According to polls published by the Washington Post as late as Monday, October 26th, only 43% of registered voters appear to favor President Donald J. Trump, while similar polling also found that the President only trails former Vice President Joe Biden by a single point in North Carolina, putting the state in significant contention for either candidate. This division will have a major impact on who wins the 2020 US Presidential election.

“I did my grad school closure assignment on [political] polarization. I think that is the biggest concern: the division we have between each other,” Political science teacher Tyler VanLandeghem said.

Racial inequality is another major factor determining votes in the upcoming election. Protests for the Black Lives Matter Movement have been taking place since early this year as a result of the murder of George Flyod and Breonna Taylor over the course of the summer.

“My initial reaction was shock and disbelief to visually see the abuse of power by law enforcement in the George Floyd death. As for Breonna Taylor, unfortunately, I anticipated the absence of charges and accountability for the law enforcement. If anything is consistent, the avoidance to prosecute zealous police and even civilians is a chronic issue in the US,” Plank Junior High Vice Principal Lewis said.

Voter turnout has made this election one of the biggest in American history. A report published by the Dallas Morning Star indicates that Biden currently holds a 48-45% lead over Trump in Texas, a state with 38 electoral votes. The state has not elected a Democratic President since Jimmy Carter in 1976. If Trump loses Texas, the election would almost assuredly go to Biden, perhaps even in a landslide, which connotes a lead by double digits.

Early voting is currently underway across the nation. In Illinois, voters must vote by mail no later than October 29th. 

Kennedy Hampton & Kaitlyn Riley are staff writers for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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