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Presidential Debate

by Shelby Willis

After gathering data and feedback from students throughout campus and social media, it is clear that the 2020 Presidential Debate has stirred up some mixed emotions and given students clarity on who has their vote for president.

Between polls on the LSUS Almagest News Facebook page, polls on the LSUS SGA Instagram stories, and an open forum during an LSUS SGA weekly meeting, many students participated and voiced their opinions and concerns. In total, about 70 students engaged in these surveys.

The first question asked was, “Did you watch the 2020 Presidential Debate?” About 65 percent of students answered “yes” and 35 percent answered “no.” The majority of students who watched said that they do not believe either candidate won the debate. Students expressed that the two acted like children, were unprofessional, and treated the debate more like a game show. However, one student said, “Biden won and hopefully will on November 3,” and another student said, “I don’t think anyone won, but I definitely know who lost. Trump was very biased. He lost.”

The second question asked was, “Are you registered to vote?” About 96 percent of students answered “yes.” Only two students answered “no,” and they are both international students who said they are registered to vote in their home countries. A relative question asked was, “Do you believe there is enough voter education on campus?” The SGA gave a resounding “no” during their meeting, and 72 percent voted “no” in the polls.

College students seem to be passionate about being the change and spreading awareness. When asked what LSUS and the SGA could do to improve awareness of voter education, the members of SGA had some creative thoughts. One senator suggested that LSUS create an elective about voter education. Other senators built on the idea of holding more student-based formal presentations and debates where they would invite elected officials to speak and, ultimately, set an example within their social groups. The SGA as a whole agreed to take the initiative on campus by handing out educational flyers about voting.

The next question asked was, “Will you be voting in this year’s presidential election?” About 96 percent answered “yes.” Following that question was, “Have you decided who you will be voting for?” About 76 percent answered “yes” leaving 24 percent still uncertain. A few students expressed that they are hesitant to vote because neither primary party candidate aligns with their values. Some students were willing to share who they are voting for and why.

Out of the nine students who opened up, five said they will be voting for Joe Biden, two said they will be voting for the Libertarian Party nominee, Jo Jorgensen, one said they will be voting for Donald Trump, and one said they will be voting for the Green Party nominee, Howie Hawkins.

The students who said they are voting for Biden explained that he has their vote because of his policies, to pull the country out of its current circumstances, and “he is the lesser of two evils.” The students who said they are voting for Jorgensen explained that they are scared to make the wrong decision with the two primary party candidates who they don’t morally support. The student rooting for Trump’s re-election said, “He has pulled more people out of unemployment than ever.” Lastly, the student supporting Hawkins said they usually vote for the Democratic Party, but the party has not done right by the community and Hawkins fits closer to ideals that Biden doesn’t have.

One student did not pinpoint who they are voting for, but they did communicate their disappointment in the two primary candidates this year. Although they said they are a “flaming Republican,” they were frustrated after watching the debate because it was just a verbal attack, not an intellectual debate. They went on to say that President Trump would not let Biden finish his sentences and both parties have lost morality and integrity and have resulted in attacking each other.

Based on these results, it is clear that the 2020 Presidential Election is creating tension and making people anxious and fearful for the future of the United States. However, every student should realize the importance of casting your vote and allowing your voice to be heard and represented. Every vote counts.