Every election year, tensions rise within the public as each candidate’s campaign promises bombard screens. The importance of voting is voiced through communities, advertisements and schools. Yard signs and merchandise are proudly worn, as political conversations during family gatherings become heated debates.
The climate surrounding each and every presidential election is unique. The country has grown, possibly reverted and changed during each presidency. The American public’s expectations in leadership change as well. Citizens decide on a more progressive or converstiave leader for the next term.
In many ways, this year has been very unorthodox, from the pandemic, the increase in support for the Black Lives Matter movement, growing concern about the funding of Planned Parenthood, and the California forest fires. This year’s election will also be different, with the majority of the country using mail in ballots instead of going to the polls due to safety concerns. Some states, including the State of New Jersey, are only accepting mail in ballots.
In 2016, the election was more focused on the candidates themselves, from their leadership abilities to scandals. Former first lady Hillary Clinton ran her campaign on possibly becoming the first female president. A scandal that she ran into was her emails being leaked. Businessman and current President Trump ran his campaign on improving the country with his slogan “ Make American Great Again.”A prominent scandal for him during the elections was the Hollywood Access interview tapes being leaked. Current President Trump was interviewed by reporter Billy Bush, when both men made several disturbing sexual comments about women they had encountered.
In regards to the election of this year and the past, students have formed their own opinions on the climate and the candidates. Three students in the sophomore class were interviewed about their general opinions on this.
“I feel that the climate around this year’s election is very toxic,” sophomore Caitlin Applebee said. “There is a lot of hostility between the two sides. I think everyone is being stuck at home bored because of quarantine and the recent Black Lives Matter protests have heightened tensions this year.”
“These candidates are definitely not the best people available,” sophomore Emma Schramm said. “Trump has little morals, lies constantly and does not listen to the people as much as he should. Biden is not much better, so that’s why people are ‘settling’ for him. We have gotten to the point of needing to vote between the lesser of two evils. … This election, like every election, will drastically affect the lives of citizens, especially minorities like BIPOC, the LGBTQ+ community and immigrants, and I am worried about what these candidates will do.
“Although I don’t have a great memory of it, I think the last election was similar in many ways,” sophomore Emmet Fynes said. “Polarization was also at a high point, and it was clear that both candidates had very different plans for office. Much of the national tension from last election has only been amplified over the past four years.”
Every election is unique, in the fact that it is impacted by decisions the past and sitting presents have made. The changes in the way American society thinks and the overall climate of that is brought to light as the next president is chosen to represent the country.