Why are Americans shocked that Trump won?
How US voters feel about the candidates : Black, female, single parent - and Trump voter
It's a tough race with an uncertain outcome. Will incumbent Donald Trump remain US President or will he be replaced by his challenger Joe Biden? We asked ten US citizens from different states who they would vote for. Their justifications reveal the deep rift that runs through American society.
Parker Campbell, a student from Phoenix, Arizona
I want Donald Trump to win in 2020 because I like his politics, especially his economic policy. He stands for the free market economy, creates peace in the Middle East and builds the wall on our southern border. I like that. What bothers me is that in our school system the “liberals” are in the majority when you compare that with the general population. My entire family is Republican, it shapes.
How did the president deal with the corona crisis? Well, I'm on his side: We can't just shut everything down and paralyze our economy. The country has to open again! That is why I stand behind the decisions that our government has made and is making, even if everything did not always go one hundred percent perfectly. Of course, more than 200,000 dead are too many. But if Trump hadn't acted so decisively, we would probably have several million dead by now.
He stopped the entry from China, that was important. But the Democrats have labeled him a racist and xenophobic. His tweets? They don't bother me, he can tweet whatever he wants.
Lena and Rich Eng, housewife and manager from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Lena: We are actually Republicans, we are conservative and we are committed to an evangelical church. But at the summit meeting with the Russian President in Helsinki in 2018, it became clear to me how dangerous Donald Trump is and how we have to prevent him from being re-elected. That private meeting with Vladimir Putin and that Trump did not put himself in front of his own secret services - that was shocking, I started to question his intentions. And then there are his tax returns. Why doesn't he publish it? I worked as an accountant for a long time. If he behaves in a non-transparent manner, we don't know what conflicts of interest he has.
We're also still waiting for Trump's health system plan. Apparently there is none, but it would be important for millions of Americans to know what will happen if he overturns Obamacare. We're going to vote for Joe Biden, even if I vote for Republicans further down the ballot paper. Biden is a middle-class man, he does not belong to the “radical left” as it is claimed in the election campaign. He does not want to abolish anarchy or the police. It stands for common sense.
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Rich: It just can't go on like this. You are not abandoning your allies like Trump did with the Kurds in 2019. I travel a lot, in other countries they say: your president is crazy. When the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, he was silent - that was terrible. Trump is praising himself for the economic data, but they also looked good under Barack Obama. Yes, he cut bureaucracy, which helps some branches of the economy.
But these were mainly environmental regulations, which will have long-term consequences. As conservatives, we look at the data: climate change is real, something must be done about it. Just like against the gigantic national debt.
Takisha Smith, single mother from Charlotte, North Carolina
Every evening I pray for the president. Donald Trump is a great man. He is a tool of God who has done a lot for us blacks. The economy is running, people have jobs. Of course, things are not going so well at the moment because of Corona. But it will be again. We have to be patient. Crime has decreased. Children and young people are safer thanks to him. The borders are better protected. You just have to want to see the successes.
Many people are full of hatred and anger. But I think one should think positively. My three children have a much better future thanks to President Trump. I tell this to anyone who wants to hear it. And that's why I pray for him, morning and evening.
Debby Accardi, a retiree from Newport News, Virginia
In my suburb, everyone I know is pro-Trump, including my three daughters, I would tell them otherwise! I hope for four more years, I love the president. He's not a politician. Unlike everyone else, he is very honest, straightforward and is good for the country. He's cut taxes and he's working very hard to get the corona crisis under control.
Trump is a good negotiator and gets results. Nevertheless, he is constantly criticized. I think that's unfair, because he just wants to achieve the best for us. It would be so important for both sides to work together, but the Democrats refuse. His tweets, about which many are upset, don't bother me. That's just his character and shows that he is only human. You don't always have to be politically correct, even a president can say what he thinks. And he corrects his mistakes.
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It's crazy that the Democrats and the media keep making fun of him and trying to prevent his success. On the coronavirus: That is what China got us. We have to deal with it now, but we will do it. I wear my mask out of politeness, I don't find it pleasant. I worry that if we take off the masks, we will all get sick because our immune systems will be weakened.
I'm sure we'll take it off after election day - the Democrats only exaggerated the issue because of the election. I know it's a virus, but I don't think it's as dangerous as many say. I'd take a vaccine if it wasn't from Bill Gates. I've heard so many terrifying things about him on Fox News, and especially from Tucker Carlson, that I wouldn't have any confidence.
Butch Rogers, accountant and former Evangelical minister from Wooster, Ohio
The president is a threat to our democracy. Donald Trump wants to be like Vladimir Putin: an oligarch. What annoys me the most? We have no leader in the pandemic, our budget deficit keeps growing, and Trump wants to overturn Obamacare health care reform. He is an immoral narcissist who only thinks of himself. Trump always insults and plays the strong man. He constantly praises himself for the good economic development, which began with the previous government of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. It's not his merit!
It speaks volumes that Trump hardly pays taxes because his companies are losing so much. We need a leader with a sincere personality and empathy, so I'll be voting for Joe Biden. It's about bringing decency, justice and truth back to the fore. Not discrimination, lies and corruption. Many white evangelicals have said over the past four years that God can use anyone to achieve His goals. I tell them: Maybe God will use Joe Biden to finally bring about civility and reconciliation again.
Emily Hoppe, a nurse from Baltimore, Maryland
The way my country reacted to the coronavirus pandemic makes me so unhappy. I am very worried about what the months ahead will be. I like a lot about Joe Biden, but what is crucial for me in these difficult times is that we finally get a president who takes the virus seriously and really wants to do something about it.
In the long term, it is also crucial that Obamacare continues and, ideally, is expanded. Everyone should have access to health insurance. Obamacare is not perfect and should be improved - but Donald Trump even wants to reverse this healthcare reform that is benefiting millions of Americans. As the mother of a young boy, I also welcome the fact that Biden wants to significantly expand access to early childhood education.
[Trump two days before the US election: "Germany wants to get rid of me" - follow the events here in the news blog.]
In the Democratic primary, I was for Elizabeth Warren - it would have been about time a woman moved into the White House. But I admire Biden's character, his experience and his ability to be empathetic with people who are struggling. That's what makes him. It's like Barack Obama: I don't have to like every single policy decision to be able to vote - I just have to know that they have the best of intentions and will make decisions to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Sure, he's old, but he has already said that he sees himself as a transitional president and will probably only rule for one term. I find that admirable, most politicians otherwise cling to power for as long as they can.
"I am so appalled that this abuse is coming from my government"
I will also vote for Biden and against Trump out of concern that the appointment of the new Supreme Court judge Amy Coney Barrett could restrict women's right to self-determination. Then there is the issue of environmental protection: Even if there are politicians with more ambitious ideas within the Democratic Party, Joe Biden is someone who would have a serious discussion about the dangers of climate change.
What worries me in particular is the fate of more than 500 children who were separated from their parents by the Trump administration at the border. It breaks my heart. We have just learned that 200 children have been sent to Mexico without an adult accompanying them. As a nurse, I specialize in children's mental health and I know that this abuse can cause permanent harm. I am so appalled that this abuse is coming from my government - sadly, I am not surprised. It's hard to live with that knowledge. And I am convinced that Biden will end this.
Samantha Jane Stevens, a banker from Chicago, Illinois
I have already voted and will be working as an election worker on Tuesday. It is important that as many as possible vote. Joe Biden was not my first choice among the Democratic candidates. But I am voting for him for several reasons. The most important one is a moral one. Of course, I would be happy to see an incredibly experienced president who wants an actual policy change with the aim of making this country better off in the end.
But ultimately it's all about decency and kindness - both are pretty important. Every time I listen to Biden, it strikes me how serious he is about his affection for all people. Donald Trump only speaks to part of society. Every candidate has their supporters. But if you are elected you are president of all Americans. Trump has refused that for the past four years. Even when he took office, he hadn't given the impression that this was important to him.
"We have to vote for the environment on election day"
A few weeks ago I saw the threats posed by climate change in Colorado when we were evacuated because of the "East Troublesome Fire". We have to vote for the environment on election day. Even if some criticize Biden's ideas on this as insufficient: If you look closely at the plans, you can see that he has already clearly moved to the left. The influence of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others cannot be overlooked.
Of course, Biden wants to present himself as a middle-class man. He is therefore reluctant to comment on the subject of fracking, for example. But he made it clear that he wanted to move us away from fossil fuels. This is a really crucial topic for the future, especially for the many young, committed people. We can't just leave it to them. Four more years of Trump would damage our environment in the long term.
The long-term implications are the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court judge. The other federal courts have also changed a lot under Trump in the past four years, which has often received too little attention. Many extremely conservative judges have been appointed to these courts on the recommendation of the conservative-libertarian Federalist Society. As a former criminal defense attorney, I know that this will change our criminal justice system. And it can have an impact on who won the election in the end - the Supreme Court doesn't make every decision. Much is decided by the appellate courts.
I will also vote for Biden because I care about our standing in the world. As a “global citizen” I hope that we can get along better with our partners again and that we stick to contracts.
Layoton Golding, architect from Alexandria, Virginia
I have a problem with terrorists cutting throats in the desert. Donald Trump is the only one who does something against low-threshold terrorism. People continue to be beheaded, I know from my friends in the Defense Ministry, who still have to watch videos like this, even if nobody reports about them anymore.
Trump kills one terrorist after another, slowly but persistently, especially in the training camps. That is the most important reason why I will choose him. And because he wants to stop the antifa. I love protesters, but I hate rioters. I don't care what color someone is. But nobody is allowed to riot and loot. To see that over and over again makes me mad as hell.
[Now know even more with TPlus: About the end of the world as we know it - Read here what the US election is really about]
If Trump is re-elected, he will use the National Guard to stop the Antifa. What he did in the corona crisis is okay. My wife is a nurse and runs three intensive care units in Virginia, she is constantly dealing with Covid-19. The numbers are getting better. And Trump should know by now that he should wear a mask to protect others. He said he understood.
But none of this is relevant for my voting decision. They can take away my health insurance, raise taxes, take away my daughter. For me, only two issues count: that terrorists abroad and the antifa at home are stopped. Those white college kids who loot. And if the police in the cities ruled by Democrats can't do it because their hands are tied, then the militias will take over. They're not violent, they're just here to stop criminals.
Robert Hirsch, a veteran from New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
I used to be a Democrat, but now I'm a staunch Republican because of Donald Trump. I hated Hillary Clinton for failing the people of Benghazi. She showed that her life was not important to her. How should she protect our country there? And now the Democrats have set up Joe Biden, who wants to dismantle our police force. Adolf Hitler already did that to come to power: disarm the citizens to make sure that they could not defend themselves. My history teacher always said: history repeats itself because people don't learn from the past.
I knew Trump long before 2016 because I had read so much about him and seen him on his various shows. I've loved it for a long time. People always get upset about how blunt and harsh he speaks. But he just talks like a New Yorker! He always gets straight to the point, that's exactly what we need. No politicians who just talk around it.
"Trump did everything right, but was still criticized"
It was the same at the beginning of the pandemic in spring: Trump did not wait for Congress and the Democratic majority leader Nancy Pelosi. Rather, he acted very quickly and decisively: He immediately closed the borders and thus prevented us from losing a million people or more. He did everything right, but was still criticized.
I rarely wear a mask myself, only when I absolutely have to. This is my freedom: I cannot be forced to wear a mask, it would not be American to wear a mask. For this I keep my distance from others, I suffer from claustrophobia.
[Now know even more with TPlus: Read here how the US economy is really doing after four years of Trump.]
I don't think you have to wear a mask in a church either. This is about faith: God is not going to make us sick. I am an Evangelical Catholic and a member of the Catholic men's association "Knights of Columbus". In the church I am in a holy place, before God, I am sure of that.Even though I know the virus is real - and dangerous, especially when you're old. The fact that they moved infected people to old people's homes in New York is a scandal.
I firmly attached this large Trump pence sign to my pickup because my sign was stolen from my front yard in 2016. Now nobody can do that anymore. I go to as many campaign events as possible with my pickup to show Trump that I support him. Together with my two partners, I hand out lots of signs to fans, we finance it ourselves. In 2016 we distributed 35,000 in central Pennsylvania.
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