American Voter: Richard Robles

Al Jazeera asks the same key questions about the presidential election to voters across the United States.

Richard Robles's top election issue is the foreign policy agenda [Courtesy of Richard Robles]
Richard Robles's top election issue is the foreign policy agenda [Courtesy of Richard Robles]

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.

Richard Robles

[Courtesy of Richard Robles]
Age: 20

Occupation: Full-time Student at William & Mary 

Residence: Loudoun County, Virginia 

Voted in 2016 for: N/A 

Will Vote in 2020 for: Joe Biden 

Top Election Issue: Foreign policy agenda 

Will you vote? Why or why not?

“Yes, I plan on voting – I already have voted for this election. I think as a young person and a minority it’s pretty important for me to vote because plenty of people have protested for my right to vote over the course of the history of this country. I think it’s a pretty monumental election overall to be participating in.”

What is your number one issue?

“For me, it’s the foreign policy agenda for the United States. I think in the last three or four years we’ve seen an overall decline in international countries and observers in their faith of the American government and, I guess, country as well, in their ability to deliver and be a reliable leader and global leadership.”

Who will you vote for?

“I’ll be voting for Joe Biden.”

Is there a main reason you chose your candidate?

“I mean, I’m not exactly thrilled to be voting for Joe Biden, but as someone who leans liberally, it’s more important that we’re replacing Donald Trump and not having him for another four years in office.

“I also believe that Joe Biden has the experience and the leadership necessary to guide America out of the COVID recession – COVID overall – and the foreign policy issues that we’re still engaged in, in this country.”

Are you happy with the state of the country?

“I am not currently happy with the state of the country right now. There’s a lot of racial injustice going on, as you can see with a lot of the protests against the police nationwide.

“The federal response to COVID has been pretty underwhelming and it left a lot for state governors to respond [to], especially since, I think our death toll is at 210,000 now. It’s pretty sad and pretty overwhelming as a country.

“There’s lots of other issues as well – the wealth gap is getting bigger, there’s wildfires out West, all sorts of issues that this country needs to be sorting itself out on.”

What would you like to see change?

“I’d like us to take the mantle on foreign policy issues once again abroad. Under President Trump, we’ve been very transactional in our relationships with allies and other states as well.

“In addition – there’s a lot to be talking about here – I would like to see a better response overall with COVID – a more coordinated and thoughtful response from the federal government. And long-term solutions to bigger problems that will outlast my generation, like climate change.”

Do you think the election will change anything?

“I do. I was reading up on a couple of news websites, and according to FiveThirtyEight, there’s a huge shot at Democrats taking both houses plus the presidency. I’m very hopeful for once about the outlook of our country, especially if we have a unified agenda and a unified goal.”

What’s your biggest concern for the US?

“Right now I think it’s definitely a huge issue of racial injustice in states. As a minority, it’s pretty disheartening to see how police treat minorities, especially Blacks – with all the coverage of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. I think as a nation we need to continue having a conversation about racial injustice and how we should move forward.”

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

“Just a message for all the younger Americans like me: go out and vote! I don’t think this is an election that we should be taking chances on, whether you vote one way or the other. I think it’s important that we get our voices heard, no matter how long we have to stand in line or how many loops we have to hurdle through. It’s a duty that we should vote and change our country for the best.”

Source: Al Jazeera

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