Western Carolina University students are gearing up for voting in 2020. They care for human rights, the environment, the economy and removing Trump.
In late August, WCJ surveyed around 40 WCU students on their views on the 2020 Presidential Election – will they vote, what candidate they prefer and what issues they care about that will make them go to the polls. The students were from all colleges and a variety of programs as well as in a mix of years in school. We also asked them if they are voting in Jackson county or absentee.
The survey asked the students their gender, age, school year, major/program, college, if they’ve followed the conventions, if they voted in previous elections, will they vote in November, where are they planning on voting, who are they voting for, what is the single most important political issue and why.
The survey results show 20 votes for Joe Biden, 12 for President Donald Trump and 7 for a third-party candidate. The reasons given by students as to why they will vote for Joe Biden were along the lines of removing Trump from office more than reasons why they like Biden. The single reason given for re-electing Trump is the economy.
“Donald Trump is a danger to our democracy,” one respondent said; “economic impact in the stock market helps my family,” said another; “The other two are old and senile,” a third-party voter said in their open responses in the survey.
The most important issue from the surveyed students was human rights, especially immigration and criminal justice reform. This was then followed by the environment as well as defeating Trump.
“Basic human rights for all people, as this seems to now be a political issue in America,” a WCU senior said. “We all deserve to be held to the same standard, regardless of your career, race, age, sexuality, etc. and I believe many other political issues are rooted in the infringement of people’s rights.”
“Environmental conservation because the global ecosystem is degraded and our current administration doesn’t care,” a WCU graduate student said.
With the top issues laid out by students, it is important to know how the two presidential candidates stand on these issues. Highlights of Biden’s stances are taken from his website. Actions that President Trump has taken during his presidency related to these issues are taken from his website.
- Take urgent action to undo Trump’s damage and reclaim America’s values
- Modernize America’s immigration system
- Welcome immigrants in our communities
- Reassert America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees
- Tackle the root causes of irregular migration
- Implement effective border screening
- No mandatory minimums.
- End private prisons.
- More funding for drug courts.
- No juveniles in adult prisons.
- Decriminalize marijuana use.
- Job training and education in prison.
- $20 billion for states to switch from incarceration to prevention.
- Invest in public defenders.
- Invest $1 billion per year in juvenile justice reform.
- Goal of 100 percent housing for formerly incarcerated.
- Use an inclusive and empowering All-of-Government approach.
- Make decisions that are driven by data and science.
- Target resources in a way that is consistent with the prioritization of environmental and climate justice.
- Assess and address risks to communities from the next public health emergency.
President Donald Trump
- Called on Congress to fully fund a wall along the Southern border, to close legal loopholes that enable illegal immigration, to end chain migration and to eliminate the visa lottery program.
- Pulled the United States out of negotiations for a “Global Compact on Migration,” a plan for global governance of immigration and refugee policy.
- Rescinded the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.
- Declared a national emergency allowing him to access specialized powers to enforce security on the border.
- Signed an executive order disqualifying sanctuary city from receiving federal grants.
- Called for the transition to a merit-based immigration plan.
- Ordered the hiring of 10,000 new ICE agents and 5,000 additional border patrol agents.
- Signed a memorandum deploying National Guard troops to the Southwest border.
- Signed Executive Order 13809 to restore state and local law enforcement’s access to surplus equipment from the Defense Department, such as armored vehicles.
- Expanded Project Safe Neighborhoods to encourage U.S. Attornies to work with communities to develop customized crime reduction strategies.
- Signed three Executive Orders – 13773, 13774, 13776 – aimed at cracking down on international criminal organizations, including drug cartels and gangs, and preventing violence against law enforcement officers.
- Signed the STOP School Violence Act, providing grants to improve security, including the placement and use of metal detectors and other deterrent measures, at schools and on school grounds.
- Signed the “Fix NICS Act,” which included increasing the accuracy of criminal background checks.
- Allocated $2 billion for school safety.
- Signed the disaster relief bill that provided $19 billion in assistance to states and territories hit by flooding, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, including farmers hit by a delayed planting season.
- Signed the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the production of industrial Hemp.
- Withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.