Everybody is talking about it. Anticipation rises as the United States Presidential Election as November 3rd gets closer and closer.
Incumbent President Donald Trump is in the battle for his political life against former Vice President Joe Biden. Considering the rhetoric of the two candidates, the stakes could not seem to be any higher. President Trump claims that nobody will be safe in Joe Biden’s America. On the other hand, Biden has said that another Trump term would move the country in a profoundly negative and undemocratic direction: “I believe this nation can overcome 4 years of Donald Trump, but given 8, 4 more years, forever and fundamentally change the very character of this nation.” While the candidates seem to raise the national stakes of the election each day, the question that Ridgewood residents should consider is what effect will this election have on the local community.
In speaking with RHS students, many echo the same rhetoric as the candidates. For a disclaimer, due to the incredibly polarized nature of politics in America, this article will refrain from using specific names of the students interviewed. That said, a senior who is eligible to vote in this election believes that a Biden victory would drastically change her feelings about the state of the country: “I will be instilled with lots of hope and positivity instead of fear and dread.” On the other hand, another senior who will be too young to register to vote but still considers themself politically involved believes that this election could drastically change the way he lives: “I think that the election will either keep everything the same as it is right now or it will alter our day to day likes by creating a new normal than what life was like before 2020.”
That being said, this election will ultimately serve as a referendum on President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The virus that has changed the lives of Ridgewood students in almost every way possible will be soon moving into a new phase, and voters will be presented with the chance to choose who will head the American response. The next president will be in charge of the production and distribution of a hopeful vaccine. Additionally, President Trump has tried extensively to prevent hysteria in his pandemic response. At his Press Briefings, he often speaks about how the United States Government has the virus under control and that a vaccine is right around the corner. On the other hand, Vice President Biden has pledged to “level with” the American public and tell them exactly what the country is dealing with.
Beyond the virus, there are still a number of issues that this election can potentially impact. President Trump has explained on a number of occasions that he would like to repeal the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) for a new type of healthcare system. This could drastically change the coverages of a number of families in Ridgewood, although the majority of Ridgewood residents rely on employer-based coverage. Additionally, Democrats have offered a willingness to reinstate the State and Local Tax deduction that President Trump’s tax cuts took away. This deduction was previously used by families in New Jersey to deduct their state taxes from their federal income tax. A President Biden and Democratic legislature could bring back this tax cut.
Along this line, control of the House and Senate is up in November. Senator Cory Booker and Congressman Josh Gottheimer, both Democrats, are up for re-election. There is also an election for Bergen County Freeholder, where former mayor of Ridgewood, Ramon Hache, is running.
So, what will happen? Who will win the election? Ridgewood students have many different opinions. One student said: “Biden is going to win because of the poor state of this country,” while another said: “I think President Trump will be re-elected.” Let’s just wait and see.
Graphic: Preethika Rao