This coming Tuesday (3 November 2020) sees the US presidential election: a battle – arguably more seismic and bitter than ever – between Donald Trump (for the Republicans, with Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence) and Joe Biden (for the Democrats, with Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris). We asked local US residents what they thought to it all.
Emily (City Centre ‘Riverside’):
“I moved to Leeds in 2011, having lived in New York City for the previous 13 years. The UK was quite a different place politically, even back then, and I’m sad to have seen it move much further to the right since I moved here. But it has been interesting to be in a country where there are some third parties that are at least viable.
Growing up in the US, imagining anything other than the completely entrenched two-party system we have now is very hard to imagine. It’s gotten worse over time, and I think will continue to get worse before it gets better. Elections are much more of an industry there than here. That’s why it always seems to be election season in the US; there’s a lot of money to be made.
Even though the UK doesn’t have as progressive a system as some European countries with regard to proportional representation and fair elections, it feels more realistic that the UK will become more progressive in the near future. I have very little hope for that in the US. As such, while I will totally rejoice if Donald Trump loses, it will be rejoicing his defeat, not the victory of a candidate I really believe in. Biden and Harris are tolerable centrists, but that’s all they are to me.”
“I’ve spent much of my adult life outside the US, so have had the chance to see both US and UK politics through a wider lens. And as a Christian, I’m committed to reconciliation, and relating to a wide variety of people; and so, while I have strongly-held political opinions, I keep them strictly to myself, and have friends and family on all ends of the political spectrum.
This diversity of friendships I have been privileged to have over the years has made me a better person: I can see truth and goodness in various positions, and am saddened by the polarization and vindictiveness of the current political climate. It’s only as we’re able to truly listen to one another, with a desire to understand each other’s perspectives and find the truth in them, that positive change can take place.
Name-calling, political opportunism, and angry posts on social media might feel good for a moment, but ultimately poison not only society as a whole, but our own lives as well. In this partisan political climate, it’s important for me to remember that each and every person with whom I interact has value. Their importance is not based in their agreement with me on the burning issue of the moment, but because they are a special creation of God – and as such, have inherent value far beyond their vote.”
“As an American living in England, if there’s anything I’ve learned from the 2016 Brexit vote and the 2017 election, it’s not to take anything for granted. Whether voting from abroad with a mail-in ballot or standing in a socially-distanced line at the local polling station, it’s more important than ever for Americans to carry out their civic duty and make their voices heard at the ballot box this year — and as early as we can to affect positive change locally, statewide, and on a national level.
The stakes are the highest they’ve ever been in terms of fighting for democracy and decency. The 2020 election isn’t just about Biden vs Trump; it’s about losing everything the US stands for when it comes to the economy; economic equality (eg taxation and welfare economics); the Covid-19 pandemic and healthcare as a human right; women’s rights and abortion rights; immigration; ethnic and racial equality (eg #blacklivesmatter); foreign policy; environmental issues and climate change; common-sense gun regulations; and Supreme Court appointments.”
UK coverage of the election will be running online and on TV throughout Tuesday night (3 November). The result might be announced as early as the early hours of Wednesday (4 November), UK time – although it might not be clear until much later that day, or even for several days.