Election Interviews: Young Democrats & Young Republicans

Sara Xu ’22 sits down with Jessica Fernandez ’22 of Young Democrats & Nico Torres ’22 of Young Republicans to discuss their thoughts on the 2020 presidential election.

Sara Xu ’22 sits down with Jessica Fernandez ’22 of Young Democrats & Nico Torres ’22 of Young Republicans to discuss their thoughts on the 2020 presidential election.

Sara Xu ’22: Who do you support in this presidential election and why?

Jessica Fernandez ’22: I support the Biden-Harris Campaign. For me, it’s less about identifying with and agreeing with Biden’s policies and more about necessity. We’ve seen what Trump has done for the past four years in office and even before that. It’s a sad reality that our choice comes down to Trump or Biden, but if I were able to vote, my only option would be Biden.

Nico Torres ’22: I consider myself, at the moment, a Republican without a party. My ideologies are conservative, and while I am not an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, I would vote for him. The presidency should be a universally respected office; however, [Trump’s] politicizing of mask-wearing and [failure to condemn] white supremacy do not resonate well with me. Nevertheless, the presidential office in general has power regarding fiscal matters, foreign policy, and nominations for positions. I would vote for President Trump because having a Republican president at the helm of the executive branch is an aid towards affirming conservative values.

SX: Which issues do you feel are particularly polarizing and/or mean the most to you?

JF: Immigration and police brutality would definitely be some of the top issues that are dividing our country. Regarding immigration, young children [are] being separated from their parents, which is inhumane and disturbing. I’m thinking about all these families who come to the U.S. and find themselves in cages as if they’re animals. When it comes to police brutality, rioting, in my view, is justified. For far too long, African-Americans and members of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community have faced a reality that many of us have [had] the privilege to overlook and ignore. We need to focus on why [these riots happen], and this “why” should lead to more legislation being passed to address these issues.

NT: The issue that matters the most to me is securing the electoral college [so we do not silence the voice of] the “forgotten American.” Let’s say that the electoral college ceases to exist and that the presidential candidate [is] chosen by the popular vote. Then, each party’s candidates would only focus on densely populated areas. If you focus only on [rallying] one portion of the population, then what about [voters] in suburban or rural areas? That said, I would also like to see reform concerning rogue electors.

SX: How has Young Democrats or Young Republicans influenced you and your interest in politics?

JF: I’ve always had a strong interest in politics. This past summer, I interned for my district congressman in California and educated his constituents on how to vote. Understanding the nuances of voting has helped frame my goals as Vice President of Young Democrats. Through this club, I’ve come to realize how important it is to spread information, especially about voting, and to stay up to date with political matters.

NT: I believe that it’s very important to have Young Republicans on campus. I know so many “closeted Republicans” who aren’t willing to express their opinions because of what people automatically associate with the idea of Republicanism, especially those who deem Republicans to be racists or bad people. I see Young Republicans as a safe haven for me to express my beliefs, knowing that other people in the club share similar values. I hope others view the club in that light as well and will be more willing to openly express their views—that’s my goal.

SX: How can the Lawrenceville community best stay knowledgeable about the election?

JF: One way would definitely be to come out to our screening of the final presidential debate. Another way is to follow Beyond the Ballot, an organization created by [Grayson Miller ’21 and Devin Carr ’21], and connect with [its] social media platform and website. [Beyond the Ballot has] insightful and bipartisan information that is helpful for people who strongly identify with one party and for those who aren’t sure what party their values align with.

NT: Social media is an important tool, but we can also stay informed by using resources from our peers, such as articles written in The First Amendment or The Lawrence. Obviously not all of us can vote, but those [who] can should register.

SX: What are some common misconceptions people have about Democrats and Republicans?

JF: I definitely think that [people believe] all Democrats are young, idealistic liberals with strong views on controversial topics like [abortion]. This is simply not the case, and I would say [that] for both parties, a lot of people are centrist rather than completely left-wing or right-wing. Take for example Joe Biden, a moderate Democrat, versus AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), a more liberal Democrat.

NT: A lot of misconceptions about Republicans stem from President Trump. I see statements like “If you vote for President Trump, you’re a racist” on infographics posted on Instagram stories all the time, which pushes forward the idea that Republicans [are] bad people. Being a conservative and voting for a Republican does not [mean that I], or other Republicans on campus, have immoral values. Hopefully, once Donald Trump’s presidential career is over, there can be a Republican figure that will represent the party well and garner respect, especially in the liberal parts of the U.S.

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