Young Americans are planning to vote in higher numbers than 2016, according to one poll; the University of Tennessee has about 30,000 of these potential young voters in its midst.
“We are about getting Democrats elected. Our primary purpose is to turn seats blue … at the moment specifically focusing on turning seats around us. We are trying to turn Tennessee blue and so we are starting with Knoxville here,” said Amanda Taylor, president of the College Democrats chapter at UT, which has about 50 members.
By contrast, the College Republicans have roughly 150 members, but still say they sometimes feel outnumbered. “We stand for giving conservative students a home on campus and connecting them with opportunities for their career. I don’t want to be the silent majority anymore,” said Mattie Egly, president of the College Republicans chapter at UT.
Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice
With Tuesday’s confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the future of abortion rights are a deep concern for many women.
“I am passionate about abortion, because my mom was adopted and very easily could’ve been aborted. I am a Christian and so abortion also doesn’t align with my religious beliefs… and Donald Trump is a Pro-Life president,” Egly said.
“I myself am a Christian woman… but I also believe you can be a Liberal person and also be a Christian… I think Roe v. Wade was a great decision made in the courts and it should be upheld… I am big on the emphasis of choice,” Taylor said.
Other Democratic policies and character judgment
Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s stance on climate change and the diminishment of the use of coal is one of the other major issues that captures Democratic voters. Equally important are questions of character and Biden’s position on “common sense gun legislation,” Taylor said.
“Beyond policy I think character is important. I think character wise I like him [Biden] far more than I like Trump. He carries his son, Beau who passed away, his rosary beads in his pocket. He actively prays and goes to mass and he is a good example of good politics.”
The Democrats don’t have faith in Trump to unify the United States. Taylor said, “I think Trump is a divider. I don’t think he is a uniter. He has proved time and time again in his Twitter and things that he says, that he only truly cares to be the president of people who voted for him,” Taylor said.
Many Americans are ready for a change in character in this coming presidential election.
“I think Joe Biden will do a great job at uniting both sides I know many moderate republicans who are kind of tired of the rhetoric of Trump and the way he conducts himself and want to see someone who is more classy. Another issue I have with Donald Trump is the he has kind of turned America into a laughing stock of the world … He [Trump] has been on foreign soil s*** talking Hilary Clinton. The election was four years ago she’s not running against you anymore dude,” Taylor said.
However, it is clear that Trump has accomplished a lot of what he said he would.
“While I don’t personally like him [Trump], or the policies he has implemented, he has done a lot of what he said he was going to do. He has kept quite a few of his promises: tax cuts for the rich, starting to build a wall … is his wall good? No. Should he have done it? Well no. But he did do it, he did promote the legislation he said he would,” Taylor said.
Other Republican policies and character judgment
Another issue for Republicans is support of police officers in the face of the Black Lives Matter movement. “I personally think that the police department should be paid more for what they do…and I think that defunding the police is the silliest thing that has ever been brought up,” Egly said.
Republicans also tend to take a strong stance when it comes to supporting the founding principles of America.
“This year at the Democratic National Convention they took the phrase ‘Under God’ out of the pledge of allegiance. We are a nation founded under the principles of Christianity, and while we offer the freedoms to practice any religion so you may choose…That doesn’t sit well with me at all,” Egly said.
On another topic of controversy, some Republicans fear a shift to socialism.
“I do believe that if the democrats win the election then we will see a drastic shift in our economy of capitalism to socialism… I know it sounds good…but it’s not free. Someone is paying for it. I think you work for what you’ve got,” Egly said.
When it comes to President Trump’s character, even Republicans express doubts.
“Trump’s character is not something any American should be proud of representing our country. However, I am a strong believer of party over person and ideologies over party. Trump’s party, the Republican Party, views align closest with my own views. While we don’t have the best person representing our party, it’s a heck of a lot better than the other option,” Egly said.
But Taylor and many other Americans want the U.S. to be viewed as a great country. “We went from being a major world super power to being a joke internationally,” Taylor said.