The 2020 presidential election is quickly approaching, with just four days left to cast your ballot. This is the most consequential election to date, with the potential to change American politics forever. In some ways, this election has already unveiled unsettling truths about the productivity and legitimacy of democratic systems within the borders of the United States.
The Youth Are the Future
The Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics conducted a Harvard Youth Poll to America’s 18-to-29 year old’s on voter turnout. The results showed promising record-breaking numbers for this election.
From the poll study, 63% of young people indicated that they will “definitely be voting” — that is a 16% increase from youth turnout in the 2016 presidential election. This is good news for Joe Biden, since September his advantage against Trump with young voters is 50%-26%.
Now more than ever politicians are facing the reality that they must learn how to communicate and appeal to young voters if they want to win elections. The average age of the presidents thus far at their respective inaugurations is 55 years old. Donald Trump is 74 years old and Joe Biden is 77 years old.
According to Statista the median age of the resident population of the United States in 2019 was 38 years old. That means that both of them are more than three decades older than the average population. The drawback in these numbers is the differences in values and lived experiences.
As a young voter I understand that my vote for Biden represents prioritizing liberty and equality over ideologies and precedent. Though Joe Biden is five decades older than me, he shows a commitment to the environment, to Black Lives and to progression rather than regression.
Trump on the other hand, continues to choose old American values and money over unity and equity. It is evident in his “Make American Great Again” slogan.
Arguably, youth voters are shining light on a new wave of voting that prioritizes ideas over parties. This election could be the one that shows that politicians can no longer ride party allegiances to a victory, instead they will have to be clear and tactical about the ideas they will implement.
CNN Politics held interviews with students at the University of Virginia. Students voting Democrat held racial equality and the climate crisis as top issues while those voting Republican reported valuing the economy and jobs. Though an estimated 26% of young people are still voting Republican, the surge in young voters shows that we are valuing politics now more than ever. We also can have hope in the future of politics because young voters are voting for issues that support a more environmentally sustainable and equitable world.
Black Political Power is Important
Kamala Harris is the closest thing to Black Political Power we have ever seen in American history. Barack Obama was a strong step in the right direction towards the possibility and potential of Black political power, but not in the way Kamala Harris is.
Though her political history is shaky in some areas, she represents the Black political dream in a lot of ways. Daughter to two working class immigrants, Harris has shown Black woman across the country that politics has room for us. That holding a top position in politics is not just a dream but a reality in the Black community.
Harris has also shown the importance of gaining the support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) and now politicians across the country are tailoring their messaging to this important, often overlooked, bloc of voters.
Kamala Harris, graduate of Howard University and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., is bringing Black culture to the forefront. Showing that you do not have to take the traditional, Ivy League route to be successful. She is unearthing the idea that a gentrified education and background is the only way to have success.
Her blackness and the value she continues to put on Black culture is giving the Black community a voice. In the past, white politicians have speculated on the needs of the Black community because they did not have real Black perspectives to utilize. Even Obama was not fully emersed in the Black community — Senator Harris can finally bring authentic Black experiences to create real change within our most vulnerable communities.
Above all else, Senator Harris continues to reveal a long-held fear within the United States: fear of Black power and opportunity.
The GOP Detests Black Advancement
When Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his Vice President pick, inevitable uproar ensued. Sadly, we all know why. If Joe Biden is elected as POTUS on November 3rd, Senator Harris will be the first Black Vice President in United States history.
Right on que, Fox News began ripping apart Senator Harris’s character. Sean Hannity, host of the Prime-Time Fox Show had Trump as a guest on his show. When asked about the selection of Senator Harris as Biden’s VP Pick, Trump said “a lot of people think it’s a dangerous choice.” He went on to say she would “destroy the country”.
GOP politicians continue to slander Harris and her qualification to be president. In reality, it is not about her ability to govern, or her history as a politician and legislator. It is about her not only being Black but being a Black woman.
I understand why he would think that having Kamala Harris as a Vice President would destroy the country — she would quite literally threaten everything this country was founded on. Someone like Kamala Harris was the last person to get the right to vote at the inception of American politics. So, of course someone like Senator Harris would cause outrage to old white politicians and voters. Kamala Harris is a threat to the establishment. The GOP is pouring all of their resources into protecting white political power — just as they did in the 2016 election.
Barack Obama’s presidency unveiled unprecedented racism in modern politics which made room for the election of Donald Trump. And he was a mixed-race man.
That should say enough about how some GOP and rural and southern white voters feel about Kamala Harris wielding so much power. She could open the flood gates for real power and advancement of African Americans. For a longtime white politicians acted as a gatekeepers to political power.
Donald Trump tried to rebuild that gate as president. Electing Joe Biden has a potential to tear that gate to the ground.
American Politics is Fundamentally Flawed
Lawyers from both parties are working to protect this election. Donald Trump is putting fear in the minds of voters, consistently saying that Joe Biden is trying to steal the election. The 2016 Presidential election was also tainted by election interference controversy.
Partisanship is more polarizing than ever. Supporters of Biden and Supporters of Trump could not be more different. The differences between voters has caused violence, divide and chaos with both sides unwilling to demonstrate civility.
The combination of racism, health crisis’s and political unrest brought to light how flawed Democracy’s can be. But more importantly, the money and efforts by politicians on both sides of the aisle are telling of the importance of the presidency. Observing this election is fascinating because it continues to show the power of the people.
The election demonstrates how chaos can work to increase voter turnout but also decrease the faith we have in the government. Just because people are turning out in record numbers to support Joe Biden does not mean that they subsequently believe in his ability to govern. In reality, this entire election appears to rely on Americans settling — specifically when it comes to those voting Democrat.
On the Republican side, there seems to be a cultish allegiance to Donald Trump, that holds no clear logic at all. Essentially, staunch Trump supports have been voting red their whole lives and would vote for anyone that protected their conservative values. In that way, Trump is a tool more than a president or a man.
Contrarily, supporters of Biden just hate Donald Trump. But compared to Trump, most people would be the better option. Many democrats, particularly Black Democrats, have a problem with Biden’s history as a legislator. Though he seems to hold different views now, there is a lot of uncertainty about how he will be as POTUS.
Donald Trump created a precedent of being a party president. Anyone that did not vote for him was expendable. That has led to divide in America.
No matter who is elected, the group of people on the losing end will not trust, support or accept the elected president. We will live in a constant state of competition and disdain because Donald Trump used hate as leverage.
We must vote because that is the system, we exist in. But no one will win in any election until we get to a place where the President governs for Americans and not just their own political parties.