The Race for the White House: American Students Give their Perspectives


The US presidential election this year has been dramatic in ways that nobody could have predicted. The country heads to the polls amid a global pandemic, in the grip of severe political strife. Whatever happens next will have global implications, and will be watched closely both in the UK and around the world. But for those who call the United States home, these world events are uniquely personal. Accordingly, Wessex Scene reached out to some university students studying in Washington DC, asking for their views on the election. Here’s some of what they had to say. 

Mady (22), Virginia. 

“I’m a registered Democrat from Fairfax, Virginia. This election has been draining, infuriating, and a very loud call to action. I’ve been eagerly waiting to vote Trump out of office because it has been embarrassing being an American for the last 4 years but just voting is not enough this year. He has ruined everything he’s touched and is currently destroying what was left of our democracy and it’s made me much more aware of everything that needs to be changed in this country…

…Though I’m hopeful that we’ll have a big turn out for Biden/Harris, I know another Trump term is very likely. In 2016, I was sadly surprised by the results, but one thing his presidency has made clear is that it isn’t the loud extremists that you should be worried about, it’s the silent Trump supporters. The ones that preach about respecting everyone’s political views and say that it’s the left that is tearing the country apart by ‘ending friendships over political beliefs’. But it’s not just political views anymore, it’s about voting out a racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist man who has had a hand in the 225,000 (and counting) deaths because of his complete mess of a Covid-19 response. And this election has made me realize just how many people I thought I knew who are now going to compromise on basic human rights because they don’t want their wealthy families to pay more taxes. I’m very scared of what the results of this election may bring because Trump has outright threatened to not peacefully transfer power and his rabid base of extremists are ready to start a conflict. I mean for goodness sake, there has already been an attempted coup in Michigan in the past few weeks. But sure, let’s respect everyone’s political beliefs even if that means stripping your friends of their basic human rights.”

Anonymous (21), California.
“If I had been able to vote in 2016, I wouldn’t have voted for either candidate to be quite honest. However, this year I will likely be voting for Trump.
Trump is not a good person, or a role model that anybody should ever look up to and model their personality after. Before the coronavirus, the economy in the US was doing far better than it had in a long time, a trend you could argue was started by Obama. But Trump did remove a lot of red tape regarding acquiring permits to construct infrastructure like roads, bridges, ect. which could have also affected this. Joe Biden seems like a good guy, and I… believe that he has good intentions. However, he is completely controlled by the democratic party… His stance on several issues has changed since he got the nomination, likely as a result of the DNC leadership telling him what to say in order to win. Additionally, the idea of packing the supreme court is one that should have been instantly rejected by him. The fact that he won’t give a firm stance is troubling to me. Even though I believe the courts lean too far right, adding justices to benefit your party and changing the constitution sets a dangerous precedent that will likely be abused in the future. The Judicial branch will be forever ruined…
…I truly believe that most people fall somewhere in the center. Whether that means being a little more left, or right. There are few radicals on either side, but they are the ones that get all the attention because they are the loudest. This… is why the polls were wrong about 2016, and likely wrong about 2020. In statistics, a non-response bias refers to when a specific group of people don’t respond to a survey because they don’t care enough about the subject matter. I think there are… more hardcore democrats than hardcore republicans. Social media only enhances this bias, which is why much of twitter and facebook appear to be largely centered around covering left wing issues and points of view. I think there is a huge problem where people expressing their views subject them to harassment and even abuse. People should be able to express their views freely, even if they are stupid ones. Protests over the summer have shown that a lot of people (especially on the left) are completely OK with destroying the shops, harassing, and even being violent towards people who don’t agree with them. I think this exists on both sides, but I believe the left is more active in these practices…
…Either way, I expect people to react extremely negatively about the outcome. Hopefully there are not more riots, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Anger, frustration, concern; feelings that all of America has felt over the past year. Elections are intended as a means of resolution, of peacefully ending disputes, but whether this is achieved in this most turbulent of election years remains to be seen.


Political Editor for the Wessex Scene 2020-2021. Interested in politics, foreign affairs, and just about anything within those to be honest.

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