Campus response to the Presidential Election
By Emma Hennessy (TheLorian)
Over the course of the last week, all eyes have been on the United States, anxiously awaiting the results of the Presidential Election. Several individuals at Loras College have been willing to discuss their reactions and opinions regarding the election and results. These people include sophomore Josie Edel, a member of the Loras College Republican club, Associate Professor of Politics Ben Darr, and a democrat student from the LULAC club who wishes to remain anonymous.
In your view, what is at stake in this election?
Edel- “There really is a lot at stake here, like there is in any election. There are issues like healthcare, immigration reform, the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade, and the list goes on.”
Anonymous- “The fact that we have the possibility of the president being reelected. With that, there are immigrant children being put in cages, women’s rights and abortion rights. There’s a lot at stake. Every vote counts.”
Darr- “My opinion, which is probably a minority opinion, is that I don’t see the presidential race as being super impactful for a lot of the things that other people see. I think there is a rhetorical difference between Trump and Biden but I don’t think there will be a big policy difference.”
This election is causing a great divide in our country. Some people even stopped talking to friends and family members that disagree with them on certain political issues. What is your view on this?
Edel- “I think, truly, we are all seeking to improve the human experience and to ensure that every American retains the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Where we may differ, however, is our approach to securing and safeguarding these ideals.”
Anonymous- “You have to be careful of what you say. I have family that are Trump supporters that disagree with what I post on social media. They say that Trump is not racist. Even then, there is a lot that I disagree on and I don’t understand. I’m a minority and I respect their decision to vote for him but if they try to judge my way of thinking, that’s a whole different story.”
Darr- “I think each party has really stirred the pot as far as a political identity. I think the division is a distraction from the fact that most of us are in the same boat. I don’t think either [party] has a very strong claim to being representatives of the people at this point. However, those kind of arguments get made again and again. Fox News has, for long, been a Republican channel. While there are various degrees of bias, CNN, NBC, The New York Times, are all very anti-Trump. I’m not pro-Trump, either. However, I think people are alienated from each other by rhetoric that comes from the top: political elites. I think if people were to see more clearly, they would see that they have more in common with their Trump-supporting uncle than they would with the elites in the Democrat party who wants their votes. You would get more agreement than you would expect. If you get them talking about candidates and political parties, that is when they will clash, and I think that says a lot.”
How concerned should we be about missing ballots and voter fraud?
Edel- “I think we should always be critical and speculative of governmental processes. As citizens, it is our role to hold our government accountable and ensure it is working for its citizens. If there is solid evidence of these events, the instances should be investigated. But we can’t fall upon these ideas solely because we don’t like the outcome [when] we see the polls.”
Anonymous- “It’s very easy to have voting fraud or missing ballots but I think the main concern is ballots that are not being counted. It can go either way.”
Darr- “That’s a tough one. The American election system is not up to modern standards. It has real problems. When you make these arguments in the context of any given election, it is hard not to get labeled as a supporter of either candidate. I think the American election system is very patchwork, at best. In many cases, there are not verifiable paper trails for ballots and we rely too much on electronic machines for vote counting. I’m not concerned with voter fraud. There is a difference between voter fraud and electoral fraud. Voter fraud is when people vote twice. I don’t think that really happens anymore, and if it does, it’s very minor. Electoral fraud is a different question. There is electoral suppression, when you get people kicked off of voting rolls, registration difficulties, incredibly long lines at polling places- which is more or less a poll tax because you are asking people to take off a day of work to go vote and to spend all day in line. It’s very undemocratic to have a system set up like that. The American electoral system needs to be modernized and standardized.”
Trump tweeted “STOP THE COUNT.” Biden, on the other hand, tweeted, “Count every vote.” Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Trump supporters are rallying in Michigan and Pennsylvania, (Red states at the time of the interview) demanding that the counting of ballots come to a stop. At the same time, more Trump supporters in Phoenix, Arizona (Currently a blue state at the time of reporting) are demanding that votes be counted. Any comment on the reasoning? Your opinion on this?
Edel- “A vote that is legally cast should be counted. Simple as that.”
Anonymous- “I think every vote counts, so they should keep counting.”
Darr- “Count all the votes, obviously. I can’t understand why the president would tweet “Stop counting the votes.” It is pretty clear that he is worried about losing. There are questions of “What is taking so long to count the votes in certain states?” I have never worked at a polling place but I can’t understand how it is taking quite so long. It is natural for people to be suspicious and I think it is understandable that people are suspicious about the numbers on election night verses when they woke up. The bottom line is that we need to count every vote. All votes need to be counted and it is anti-democratic to call for anything else.”
Opinion on Electoral College?
Edel- “I think the Electoral College is so, so important. If a candidate just had to win the popular vote, they would focus all of their attention and efforts on big cities, probably on the coasts. The interests of small towns and rural states, such as Iowa, would be completely ignored. The electoral college forces candidate to honor all of the states and all of the people.”
Anonymous- “To be honest, I was very confused by it. I started being more informed on politics about three years ago and I didn’t even know what the Electoral College was. I think, as of right now, its fine. I don’t see any problems with it right now because it is something that I’m still
trying to understand myself.”
Darr- “The electoral college is not democratic in a number of ways. It counts small states bigger than large states. People in small states, like Iowa, get overrepresented. People in small states like Wyoming get way overrepresented because of the way the senate seats are factored in.
That is just scratching the surface. Obviously, someone could win a lot more votes and lose the presidency. The fundamental principle of democracy is one person, one vote. If we are not one vote per person, there are real questions as to whether we are a real democracy. These electors can do what they like, and the constitution was written in a way that explicitly prohibits democratic elections of the president, and I think we need to reckon with that- the reality that the constitution was not meant to democratically elect the president. The electoral college is set up so that the winner takes all.”
Should we be concerned about possible violence after the election?
Edel- “I hope that people can handle the results with respect, maturity, and grace but I don’t know if that’ll happen.”
Anonymous- “Yeah. Either way, I think there might be violence, whether it is by Trump supporters or Biden supporters. We will still be divided. Violence can happen anywhere, but I think it will happen more in big cities.”
Darr- “I don’t know. There will be some and that’s a sad reality. I think the more it gets publicized, the more of a problem it is, and violent acts rend to cycle into more acts of violence.”