2020 Presidential Election Kicks Off

President Trump faces Congress during 2019 State of the Union. Photo used with permission from Creative Commons

President Trump faces Congress during 2019 State of the Union. Photo used with permission from Creative Commons

Written by Connor Graham and Maryam Khan

Citizens across the nation are waiting with bated breath for the 2020 presidential election. The tensions for this next election are very high, with much controversy surrounding Trump and his administration. The battlefield is crowding with Democratic candidates declaring their participation in this election.

With the shadow of the longest government shutdown in history looming over the country, Trump’s poll numbers are falling, leaving many to wonder whether the incumbent is safe in his office.

According to government teacher Alex Bennett, “The shutdown had a real impact on the American people. I think that could still resonate with the voters in 2020. However, a year and a half is a long time. If President Trump’s polling numbers stay where they are, he could face a tough primary.”

Though some may see the shutdown as a black mark on the Republicans’ record, former Hillary for America field organizer Joe Aguilar thinks it will remain a talking point for the President.

“. . . since the president made such a big deal about it two years ago and the wall is the sole reason he shut down the government, he will continue to talk about it, especially if he doesn’t secure the necessary funding by 2020.”

It’s not just the Republican Party that may feel the heat in the election. Many suggest the Democrats will face the same infighting and disorganization in the coming years.

“The real issue for Democrats is having too many candidates run for president. This was a major criticism of the Republican party in 2012 and 2016. Too many candidates divert too many resources away, causing the candidates to fight for donations, weakening the field,” Bennett says.

Senator Bernie Sanders, considered a front runner for the Democratic Party. Photo used with permission from Creative Commons.

On the other hand, there may be benefits to having so many candidates in the field.

“Having such a crowded primary will genuinely help the Democratic Party’s odds in the general election because it allows their candidates to be ‘vetted’ by the media and voters a lot longer, allowing the strongest candidate to come out of the crowd,” Aguilar says.

As more candidates join the ring, the debate around what issues are most important is becoming less clear. Factions are forming around their various causes, and everyone ranks the issues differently.

“Since most voters tend to vote for their pocketbooks, issues like taxes and the economy are always important. In today’s political climate, immigration reform and border security may be a deciding factor,” says Diana Shea, Woodgrove social science department chair.

As Millennials, who are approaching thirty, make way for Generation Z, whose oldest members are just turning 18 and 19, the wants of the people are changing, and many politicians are running to keep up with a voter base they might not understand.

“There’s always flaws and benefits with each president that we have, and the whole government affects the presidency, just as much as the president affects it…I have been quite interested to see who will run against Trump,” says the leader of Young Conservatives, senior Aidan Howard.

Junior and former volunteer with Hillary for America Natalie Bailey voiced her displeasure with Trump, saying, “I definitely think we need a new President, since Trump hasn’t been able to live up to anything he’s promised. He doesn’t cooperate with anyone, he attacks a lot, and has been a compulsive liar.”

As with everywhere, Woodgrove is a place of many voices and many opinions. “I have found that our students are very knowledgeable of the issues facing our country and many are actively engaged in political discussions. My students are on both sides of the political aisle, so they have various opinions on the issues,” says Shea.

As the election gears up, students are being taught the importance of voting. They are encouraged to take duel enrollment or AP government classes and learn how to add their voices to the discussion.

“One of the primary goals of the Social Science and Global Studies Department is to help students become active and responsible citizens. Voting is a key component of one’s civic duty,” Shea says.

Students can even be registered to vote at school. “We have a lady from the Loudoun County Board of Elections coming in February to register students to vote, there’s really no reason not to unless you absolutely don’t want to. It’s pretty easy, they came in last year and did the same thing,” says government teacher Andy Skinner.