American Voter: Jaxon Porterfield

American Voter: Jaxon Porterfield

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 more 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.

Jaxon Porterfield

American Voter Jaxon Porterfield [Al Jazeera]Age: 21 Occupation: Student & Campus Employee Residence: Albany County, Wyoming Sexual Orientation: Gay Gender Identity: Non-Binary, Queer Voted in 2016: Too young to vote Will vote in 2020: Joe Biden Top election issue: Climate Change

Will you vote? Why or why not?

“I will be voting in this election for a couple of reasons. It’s going to be the first presidential election that I can vote in, so that’s kind of cool and I think to the extent being an activist, voting is one of the smallest and most important things you can do.”

What is your number one issue?

“My number one issue is climate change and how we’re going to respond to the way the climate is changing, especially because we have the biggest fire in the history of the Rocky Mountains right now, right next to us.”

Who will you vote for?

“I’ll be voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

Is there a main reason you chose your candidate?

“So the main reason that I’m choosing that candidate is that I think they have more proactive policies towards climate change. And I think that that ticket would be more easily swayed towards making change through the means by activists.”

Are you happy with the state of the country?

“No, definitely not. I just think that right now we are in a really divisive time. I think that a lot of the history of America has been really divisive. I don’t really know that voting any way is going to change that divisive history, but I think that it would make it a little less volatile and sort of come into those conversations and have those engagements.”

Do you think the election will change anything?

“I think that this election has the potential to start to change something. I don’t think in of itself any sort of result of the election will create the kind of change that this country needs to have done. But I think that it’s definitely a start. And I think it’s a place where folks start to get engaged and start to really be more involved because it’s something that they can tactfully do and actualise.”

What is your biggest concern for the US?

“My biggest concern for the United States is the direction we take our understandings of race as a collective whole. And I think that just being able to acknowledge the history, the racial history of the United States, especially in the context of Donald Trump pushing sort of more ‘patriot education’ programmes and dissuading folks from understanding the history of slavery and how that’s contributed to the development and construction of the United States.”

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

“The only thing I want to say is that I don’t think that elections are the end goal. I think that it’s important to recognise that elections are one tool that we have as citizens to enact change. But it shouldn’t be limited to that tool and we should be using the values we’re bringing into our vote to effectuate change within our community through active community work. To do more than just vote.”