American Voter: Arjun Rondla

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

American Voter Arjun Rondla's top election issue is the economy [Courtesy of Arjun Rondla via Twitter]
American Voter Arjun Rondla's top election issue is the economy [Courtesy of Arjun Rondla via Twitter]

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.


American Voter Arjun Rondla [Courtesy of Arjun Rondla via Facebook]
Age: 19

Occupation: Student

Residence: Maricopa County, Arizona

Voted in 2016: Too young to vote

Will vote in 2020: Donald Trump 

Top election issue: Economic Recovery

Will you vote? Why or why not?

“I’ll be voting in Arizona. I’ve never missed an election in my life. I voted in Texas previously, three times. But I’m excited to vote here in Arizona. My vote matters a lot in Arizona, especially in Maricopa County, which is where ASU [Arizona State University] is. So I’ll definitely be voting in this election.”

What is your number one issue?

“My biggest issue is economic recovery. We’re in a recession right now, and I think the Trump-Pence ticket offers the best path forward from this position we’re in. The Trump ticket is all about lowering taxes, lowering regulations, and just sensible spending. Whereas I think, on the other hand, the Biden ticket, they’ve said repeatedly they’re going to raise taxes, implement all sorts of new regulations, and also just spend irresponsibly.

“They’ve proposed spending two trillion dollars on kind of a skinny-down version of the Green New Deal. So there are lots of issues out there. But I think, you know, I’m a sophomore in college, I plan on graduating in two years, and I want to enter a workforce that’s going to be good, like the one that we had a year ago. I don’t want to be entering the workforce in a recession. And I certainly don’t want to be entering the workforce where opportunities are limited.”

Who will you vote for?

“I’ll be voting for the Trump-Pence ticket, and then I’ll also be voting for Martha Mcsally for Senate.”

Is there a main reason you chose your candidate?

“The biggest reason why I’m voting for the Trump-Pence ticket [is] I’ve been a Republican, as long as I can remember. I grew up in Texas. Texas is obviously very red. But comparing Texas to other states, such as California, I’ve always had the sense that Republican policies have been sensible and have led to more opportunity and a better quality of life.

“Now, that’s why I’m a Republican, but more specifically, the Trump-Pence ticket, I understand that people have reservations about President Trump and the way that he – you know, [his] social media use and just kind of his way of speaking – but I think comparing Trump to Biden, you know, the Democrats have been talking about ending the filibuster, adding DC and potentially Puerto Rico as states, expanding the Supreme Court. So I think whenever we’re looking at candidates, I don’t really buy the argument that Biden offers a return to normalcy, or that he would act more presidential than Trump.

“However, I think on the issues, Trump is a much better candidate, and the reasons [are] as I’ve described before: more economic recovery, but also on the world stage, a stronger America, one that is strong in the Middle East, strong on China, and strong against Russia.”

Are you happy with the current state of the country?

“Not particularly. We’re in a recession, and we’ve had the COVID-19 pandemic come over from China, or I guess it originated in China. So the answer is no, in the short term. But I think the bigger issues I see – because eventually, we’ll get out of a recession – the biggest issue I see is kind of breaking of norms.

“So, as I’ve mentioned before, the Democrats are openly talking about ending the filibuster, adding new states and expanding the Supreme Court. So I think those trends are very bad. You know, we’ve seen Democrats talk about defunding the police and abolishing ICE [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement], so I think in terms of, you know, the America that we know is under threat, and that’s in danger. However, I’m hopefully optimistic that with the Trump-Pence victory, we’ll, we’ll see a return to the normalcy that we had prior.”

What would you like to see change?

“I’d like to see a return to a discussion around ideas rather than the politics. We’re seeing a discussion around how we can have real police reform that positively impacts communities, a real discussion around how we can get back on the path to economic recovery. I’d like to see that change. But I’d also like to see a change in the Supreme Court, I’d like to see more conservative decisions at the Supreme Court. And I’d also like to see a stronger foreign policy.”

Do you think the election will change anything?

“I think if the Biden-Harris ticket wins, it certainly can. Like I’ve said a few times before, we’re talking real fundamental change to this country in the Supreme Court, in the Senate – and just, you know, a big fear. And I believe [Texas Republican and US Senator] Ted Cruz mentioned this, in the past couple of years, in the past 200 years, we’ve had 29 justices that have made vacancies on the Supreme Court, and in an election year, they’ve almost all been filled whenever the Senate and the President are of the same party, they’ve rarely been filled whenever they aren’t.

“But, you know, we’re seeing the Democrats threaten to pack the court in retaliation and try to block nominees. So I think we’re seeing a real falling apart of the legislative process. So that scares me, and I think it’ll be exacerbated by the Biden-Harris ticket, whereas if the Trump ticket wins, I’m optimistic that we’ll go back to the path that we were on in 2017, 2018 and 2019.”

What is your biggest concern for the US?

“My biggest concern for the United States would be like I’ve kind of alluded to before: an abandoning of the norms that we’ve had for centuries. So that includes, you know, again, at the legislative level, at the judicial level, packing the Supreme Court, ending the filibuster. Also, I think, just a general change in the character- we’re seeing politicians and activists actively embrace radical ideas. And we’ve never seen that before. So I am fearful when it comes to that.”

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

“I think I’ll say I was initially fairly sceptical of President Trump when he won in 2016, but I think he’s been a lot better than I would have imagined. And he’s governed a lot more like an ordinary Republican president than I would have imagined. And for that, I’m very satisfied.

“But I also think, I think the idea that he’s uniquely dangerous or uniquely unqualified like we’ve seen the media say over and over again, I think it’s really panned out differently. We’re seeing peace deals across the Middle East. Recently, he’s been tough on China has been tough on Iran with no negative consequences, really. So I think in terms of just the overall sense about President Trump, it’s been better.”

Source : Al Jazeera

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