American Voter: Ashley Yanez

American Voter: Ashley Yanez

US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden are battling for the presidency in a sharply divided United States.

Trump has been focusing on “law and order”, Biden has been trying to strike a conciliatory note. The Black Lives Matter movement, and whether Trump will release his taxes are among the many issues Americans will consider when choosing their president.

As the hotly contested election approaches, Al Jazeera has been speaking to voters across the US asking nine questions to understand who they are supporting and why.

Ashley Yanez

[Courtesy of Ashley Yanez]Age: 31

Occupation: Student/Unemployed due to COVID-19 and Vice Chairwoman for the Republican National Hispanic Assembly- CA of Riverside County

Residence: Riverside County, California

Voted in 2016 for: Donald Trump

Will Vote in 2020 for: Donald Trump

Top Election Issues: Economy and Law and Order

Will you vote? Why or why not?

“I am going to be voting in this upcoming election for the reason that I feel it’s my civic duty.

“I feel like if anyone has an opinion or just wants to make a comment about something – I am very much a ‘doer’ – so there’s a lot of people that are talking about certain issues so … I also have friends who don’t vote, they complain a lot, but they don’t vote. That’s the one thing that we can do as Americans – that’s our right! So, go out and vote!”

What is your number one issue?

“I’m really torn between just picking one issue right now.

“I think pre-COVID, it would have been just one. But my two big issues that I feel are the most important are the economy – and I feel that under President Trump, and prior to COVID, we had one of the best economies ever, and I know that moving forward he’s going to be the best person to get us back to where we were. The second issue for me right now is law and order. We’re seeing in Democratic-run states city council members voting on defunding the police, mayors encouraging months of anarchy in the streets, certain organisations setting fires and destroying businesses, and I don’t want that. It’s really scary for me! So those are the two biggest issues over why I’m going to be voting.”

Who will you vote for?

“I’m voting for Donald Trump.”

Is there a main reason you chose your candidate?

“I voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and I will be voting for him again.

“I chose him originally because he was not a politician. I believed what he said — he resonated with me, and I know a lot of Americans — and he became a fighter. As a conservative person, I always feel like we always want to ‘stand back’, we don’t want to ruffle any feathers, we’re always just really nice. He became a fighter for those who were too scared to voice their opinions. I believe he loves this country, I believe he believes in the Constitution. He’s what people needed, and I think that’s what we need now.

“It’s become really shameful to love your country, to love America. People come to this country [from] all over the world for the American Dream and there’s a reason why. We are the greatest country in the world and Donald Trump wasn’t afraid to say that. So, that’s why I voted for him, and that’s why I’ll vote for him again in 2020.”

Are you happy with the state of the country?

“I am not happy with the state of the country. I think that we’ve become very polarised, and I think that it is just going to be getting worse. And I think that hypocrisy plays into a lot of it.”

What would you like to see change?

“I think fairness. As I mentioned, hypocrisy is a really big issue for me. I feel like it is OK for one ideology to do something, but not the other.

“I live in California, so prior to a lot of the protests with BLM, we were going to Sacramento and fighting to reopen our businesses, and people were calling us ‘selfish,’and ‘idiots’, and ‘stupid’ because we wanted to work — because there’s pride in working and we’re all frustrated.

“We were getting called names, but then if you go to a protest, you’re being called ‘courageous’ and ‘amazing’ — that’s so great — so, there’s a lot of hypocrisy. I would like to see true fairness, and especially in the media.”

Do you think the election will change anything?

“I don’t. I think that no matter which way it goes, no one’s going to be happy. I just don’t foresee that.”

What’s your biggest concern for the US?

“My biggest concern right now is losing our freedoms — seeing America become a socialist country, [losing] freedom of religion, which this country was founded on.

“I was recently at a march for persecuted Christians and people were driving by and screaming at us, and saying we should be ashamed of ourselves, and calling us really terrible names, and flipping us off. We had nuns with us, we had priests with us! I’m not very religious, but I am happy to march with anyone who wants to have their place of worship open — for all faiths.

“I really believe the biggest concern to the US is ourselves. People will say that conservatives are ‘clinging to their Bibles and their guns’, but there’s clear evidence that there’s a threat to churches and the Second Amendment.

“Again, I live in California, and we’re only allowed to buy one box of ammo a day — that’s one box a day — and someone will say, ‘Well why do you need more?’ Because I want more! Because this is America, this isn’t communist China.

“I’m also of Hispanic heritage, and a family that fled from communist, socialist countries — a lot of us are seeing what America could turn into — and that’s what we fled, so we want to be able to keep America ‘America’.”

Is there anything we haven’t asked about the election that you want to share?

“One of the biggest things that I think is going to be playing a major role in this election is the lockdowns.

“So again, I live in California, and I volunteer for my local Republican headquarters, and we are seeing people everyday switching from Democrat to Republican because they are sick and tired of being told where they can go, what they can do, who is essential, who is not … You know, you can go to a protest, that’s fine — go buy alcohol — but you can’t go to church.

“My governor just said that when we go out to eat with our families, ‘make sure you’re putting your mask on in between bites.’ It’s gotten to the point where it’s so ridiculous, we’re just so fed up.

“I think this is waking a lot of people up and making even the most non-interested people involved in politics. I think the Democrats are going to regret keeping blue states in a lockdown. I think states like California and New York will stay blue on November 3rd, but I think they’re going to be extremely surprised at how close the race will be.”