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: Student at Pepperdine University, Pepperdine College Republicans President
Residence: Santa Clara County, California
Voted in 2016 for: N/A
Will Vote in 2020 for: Donald Trump
Top Election Issue: Immigration
“I will be voting in this upcoming election. I’ll be enthusiastically voting for Donald Trump. And that’s because this election is not just a consensus on who we are, as a country. It’s a consensus on whether or not we even want to maintain a recognisable country that we’ll be able to pass on to future generations.
“Right now we’ve got a choice between the left and Joe Biden — and this is the party and the establishment — who are defined by rioting, by the tearing down of statues and our history, and the importation of millions and millions of people that will fundamentally change the American way of life. And then on the other hand, we have Donald Trump and the Republican Party, who want to defend this way of life, who defend law and order, who defend our police officers, and who stand up for history. So I’d say the choice couldn’t be any clearer and that I’m enthusiastically voting for Donald Trump.”
“The number one issue for me is, hands down, immigration. Right now in this country, we have multinational corporations that want to import millions and millions of people for cheap labour. Democrats say that this is because of some ideas such as diversity, tolerance, or multiculturalism. But these are all moral coverings for the profit motive of corporations that want to bring in cheap labour to compete with American jobs and American workers.
“So without a doubt, this is by far the most important issue for me. Because if we allow our borders to be opened, first off, we don’t have a country. And second, it will only accelerate the cultural and economic dispossession of the backbone of our country, which is Middle America, and the working class in our country. Donald Trump wants to stand up for them, he wants to stand up for them by securing our border. And for that reason, I couldn’t be more enthusiastic in my support, both [for] securing the border and of Donald Trump’s immigration policies more broadly.”
“The main reason is because Donald Trump is taking power away from the establishment, he’s taking it away from the elites, and he’s delivering it back to the average American. We have an establishment in this country that for decades has been presiding over the decline of this country, the decline of the middle class, the decline of the family, the decline of the working class. Joe Biden represents the return to the power of that establishment. And Donald Trump symbolises Americans reclaiming that power for ourselves. And for that reason, that’s why I’m voting for Donald Trump.”
“I’m happy with where Donald Trump is taking the country, I’m happy with his direction.
“But I’m not happy with how it was going before that, because the establishment in this country — the elites in this country, the elites in banking, in media, in politics, and the establishment throughout the various power structures in our nation — they, quite frankly, are hostile globalists who don’t care about the average man and woman in this country.
“Take, for example, young people like [me]. I’ve been told that the way to be successful in this country is to go to school, to get good grades, to get good test scores, to get a good degree and to go out into the workforce. And I’ve been told that that’s the ‘golden ticket’ and that with that, I’ll be able to buy a home, I’ll be able to have a family, I’ll be able to have the same, or maybe even a better, standard of living than my parents did. But that’s unfortunately not the case. Because we have a society in which you go into debt for these degrees, and then you have to compete with the rest of the world for these jobs. You have to compete with people coming on H-1B visas — no fault of their own, but rather the lobbyists and the corporations that push for this. But quite frankly, we have a country that doesn’t work for the average American man and woman. And that’s because we have [had] decades and decades of an establishment that has been out for their own. It’s been out for their own profit. It’s been out for their own globalist interests, and not for the national interest of our country.”
“I want to see a return to national pride and national identity. Academia, the media, Hollywood, they have all led an assault on what it means to be an American. They’ve led an assault on our history, and they’ve led an assault on our national identity. And unfortunately, now, children in schools and as well as people in university, we’re taught not to be proud of our country, not to be proud of being Americans, but to be ashamed of our country, to be ashamed of our history, to be ashamed of who we are. And I think that’s regrettable. I think that’s disastrous for our country. I think we’re starting to see the consequences of it and it’s only going to get worse if we allow it to continue.
“We need to return to national pride, we need to return to national identity, we need to remember that we are a proud nation — we’re a nation that has a lot to be proud of. If we work together, and if we remember that, we can do so much more that we and children [of] the future generations can be proud of as well.”
“Absolutely. This election is pivotal. In previous elections, the answer might have been a little bit more qualified, if you will. But this isn’t an establishment Republican versus an establishment Democrat. This isn’t a globalist conservative or so-called conservative versus a globalist Democrat.
“This is a battle between who holds power in American societies. Is it the American people? Or is it hostile, globalist elites? That is the consensus of this election. [In] this election, we’re deciding, fundamentally, who gets to make change in society. Is it people in the media; is it the Washington elite? Is it the establishment? Is it the political class, the bureaucrats, or is it working people? Is it families? That’s the question in this election, and Joe Biden — he symbolises a return to rule by these hostile elites, and Donald Trump symbolises the return to an America that works for average Americans.”
“My biggest concern for the United States is that we forget who we are as a nation. We’ve always wanted to determine our own destiny. That’s been the story of America — from the people on the Mayflower to those who fought in the American Revolution, to those who settled the West, we have been determined to decide our own destiny for ourselves. But we’re at a turning point in American history, where we can either forfeit that right to self-determination, and we can forfeit it to those who, quite frankly, don’t have our best interests in mind. People who want to open our borders, people who want to send our jobs overseas, people who want to make it harder for average Americans to buy houses, to start families. We can allow them to determine our destiny for us. But if we do, nothing good will come of it. And it will lead to further national decline.
“We need to remember that we are a country. We as a people have always set out to determine our own destiny. We need to do that again, and we need to reaffirm that promise of America by going out on November 3, by voting for Donald Trump, and by proclaiming loudly that America will be put first, the American people will be put first, and it will be put first beyond any other interests.”
“Everybody always says that this is the most important election of our lifetime, right? We hear that every four years. But this time, I think it’s real. It’s certainly the most important election in my lifetime. I’m 20 years old, and there’s never been such a pivotal moment in our history, in the time that I’ve been alive. So I’d say that this is legitimately the most important election of our lifetime, and particularly for young people.
“My message to other young people — whether you’re a high school student, whether you’re a college student, whether you can vote or not — it’s what type of country do you want to live in? Because many of our parents were able to grow up in a country where they were proud of their nation. They were proud of their communities. They had a sense of belonging. And that’s something that’s at stake. And that’s something I want to be able to give down to my future children. I want to live in a country that’s recognisable as America. And if we don’t fight for it now, we won’t have that. So we have to do everything that we can, as the people who are inheriting this country. We have to do everything that we can to make sure that America remains America and that the American people are put first.”