The 2020 presidential election season is currently in full swing with both parties having hosted national conventions within the past few weeks. Republican incumbent President Donald Trump will run against the newly selected Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden. Despite the election coming up, no clear frontrunner has emerged and both candidates have drawn sharp contrast on policy issues.
“This could be a really close election,” Dr. Steven Breezeel, professor and chair of the History and Political Science Department, said. “We don’t know what this election is going to be like. There are a lot of things going on that have people interested that might not have always been interested … It’s also notoriously hard to predict a November election in August.”
Many Harding University students are feeling the weight of this election due to the COVID-19 pandemic and what it could mean for on-campus life, as well as the future of the economy.
“I think that it is vital that every student that can vote in the upcoming 2020 election does so,” senior Mason Burcham said. “The 2020 presidential election is the first time for many college students to be able to have a voice in national politics and have their voices heard.”
While the pandemic has been at the forefront of political discussion, other important issues have also become heavily discussed, both among candidates and Harding students.
“Student debt will … be an issue on every student’s mind during this next election and how the next president will deal with it,” Burcham said. “I also think this generation of students is very passionate about issues that not only affect today, but future generations — such as climate change and how people of color are viewed and treated in our society.”
Even though college students often have a lot at stake in presidential elections, they are cited as one of the lowest voting turnout demographics in our country. Many students, like senior Ben Gazaway, feel like their voices will not be heard among the millions of others.
“I feel restricted by the two-party system that doesn’t value my vote,” Gazaway said. “I would rather vote for a third-party candidate like Vermin Supreme or Kanye West because I don’t feel comfortable voting for either major party representative.”
Despite this sentiment, assistant professor of political science Lori Klein is still encouraging students to go out and vote to make their voices heard.
“Your vote does matter,” Klein said. “There’s so much on the ballot — more than just the one race we’re seeing in the media — and those races have more opportunity to impact your daily life.”
The 2020 presidential election will be the 59th in the country’s history. It will take place Nov. 3, 2020.