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.
Occupation: Military veteran
Residence: Macomb County, Michigan
Voted in 2016 for: Donald Trump
Will vote in 2020 for: Donald Trump
Top election issue: Immigration reform
Will you vote? Why or why not?
“Oh yes, every vote counts! We need to keep Trump in for four years or we’re going to be a socialistic [socialist] country and I don’t want to see it. I have friends that have immigrated here from Poland and Macedonia and Italy, good friends, that say we cannot let Biden in – he is too far left and he’ll make this country a socialistic [socialist] country and our freedoms will be gone. I’m pro-life, I’m against abortion. I’m pro-Second Amendment and that’s why I’m voting for Trump because he stands by the ideologies that I believe in.”
What is your number one issue?
“Illegal immigration. We need to stop illegal immigration.”
Who will you vote for?
Is there a main reason you chose your candidate?
“We needed change. The Democratic Party was not where it was at. I used to be a Democrat for a while and I did vote for Obama the first time, the second time I didn’t. I didn’t like how [Obama] was building the racial divide and then all of a sudden they want to blame Trump when it’s actually Obama that started the racial divide. He was the one that started putting the kids in the cage, not Trump … I voted for Trump for change. I voted for him because he wasn’t a career politician and we needed something different from what we had for eight years.
“The main reason I chose Trump is because he’s pro-life, pro-Christian, and pro-guns. That’s why I chose him in 2016.
“What grabs me [about Trump’s message] is the fact that he’s not pledging to come in and take our guns away, he’s pledging to build the wall and decrease illegal immigration, he’s pro-life, and he’s anti-establishment. That’s what resonates with me. He’s not a politician, he’s a businessman and my 401k thanks him every day for how well our financial … even during COVID, the stock market has never been better, our economy has never been better. So, I think we’re on the right path. I think if we elect a Democrat to be president, we’re going to [backtrack] and it’s going to be another eight years like Obama, and I don’t want to go back to that.”
Are you happy with the state of the country?
“Oh yes, I’m very happy with the state of the country right now. Very! I’m happy with how my financials are going and how the economy is going. I’m happy with how [Trump] is protecting our rights. We need to stop with the rioting and try to hold these governors accountable and I do believe that we’re headed in the right direction. I’m very happy with the state of affairs.
“I think the country is headed in the right direction. I think [Trump] is being blocked by the Democratic governors and the uprising is terrible in these Democratic-run states. It’s almost like they want to purposely sabotage his good work that he has done. I think he’s doing a magnificent job especially facing what he’s facing so I think he’s doing exactly what he promised to do – build a wall and protect cops. I can even see it in my pension that we’ve got a better pension raise, the veterans are taken care of a lot better than under the Obama administration. I was in the military when he was gutting the military and it was ridiculous. So, I think we’re headed in the right direction.
“I don’t think [Trump] is doing bad at all [on dealing with racial issues in the US.]. It’s the media that’s spewing these Black Lives Matter frenzies. No offence, but Black-on-Black crime is worse than cop-on-Black crime. I used to live in Chicago – what are those mayors doing for those people that are getting killed on a weekly basis? Your governors need to reel in their policies, and if you look closely, it’s the Democratic-run states that are spewing this racial divide. I think [Trump] is doing everything within his power that he can possibly do, especially facing the roadblocks, the backlash he gets from his Democratic leaders.
“I don’t have any specific examples, but I know that [Trump] doesn’t condone what they’re doing and he doesn’t like what they’re doing to the Black community.”
What would you like to see change?
“I think that these governors need to be stripped of some of their powers and control. I think that the rioting needs to stop. No offence, I think the Black Lives Matter movement and Antifa is a domestic terrorist organisation that needs to be held accountable. There’s a difference between peaceful protest and rioting and looting. We need to stop that, abolish it, and hold these states and people accountable for destroying, looting, and just burning their cities down. We need to hold these politicians accountable.”
Do you think the election will change anything?
“I think it’s going to get worse no matter who gets in, because if Biden gets in there’s going to be a civil war – I really think that patriots are … there’s a lot of silent majority out there. So many people that I’ve encountered that support Trump but don’t broadcast it. If Biden gets in, there’s probably going to be some kind of civil unrest. I think if Trump gets in, there’s going to be pushback and civil unrest from the liberal left. So I don’t think we’re going to win either way no matter who gets voted in because one person or one party is not going to be happy. I just hope it’s a clean election and the Democrats don’t try to cheat by mail-in voting and voter fraud … I hope it’s a clean, honest election. That’s all I can pray for.”
What’s your biggest concern for the US?
“Peace and harmony – that’s my biggest concern. Getting along and having less government control – that’s my biggest concern. Too much government control. Too many people are abusing their powers and it needs to be reeled in. And the fake news! The fake, the twisted, the convoluted, they need to be held accountable. I hope it changes in the future.”
Is there anything we haven’t asked about the election that you want to share?
“The reason why we have this unemployment rate is because the Democratic-run states are not allowing these businesses to open – that’s why we have the 8 percent unemployment rate. If the Democrats, like say from Michigan, Miss Democratic Whitmore still has a lot of our businesses shut down, so how do you think these small businesses are going to fare? They’re not! She doesn’t care about small businesses. The Democrats don’t care about small businesses. They care about big business that make them big money … Jobs have gone away due to COVID because people cannot go back to work because they’re not allowed to. And when you’re paying them $600 a week to stay home, hey, who would want to work? There’s no incentive for these people to go back to work.
“This is no worse than N1H1 [H1N1] flu or any other diseases that we’ve had. I think it’s just a way to make Trump look bad, to make his economy look bad, and try to [find] ways to get him pushed out because they do not like him. And people see that.
“I sure don’t trust the CDC in giving out proper information, because one week it’s one way and another week it’s the next. I know several nurses that say a lot of these COVID cases have had underlying conditions and that they’ve labelled them as COVID so I don’t trust the numbers either.
“I think the disease is real and I think we need to take necessary precautions but those masks [aren’t] working. I mean, little particles can get through those masks. It’s just a way to control us, to be honest, with you … I don’t think you should penalize the people that want to go out.”