Elections matter more than you think

Elections matter more than you think

By Araceli Galarza & Alexis Galarza Posted: December 18, 2020

The beautiful thing about elections is the choice that they provide. The people of the United States decided who is going to be in power. Every four years American citizens who are registered and 18 or over get to pick the next president. This year a whole new generation of voters got to partake in this year’s election.

First-time voter Juliana Gonzalez was very eager to vote. She has been conducting lots of research in order to be able to make the most informed choice.

”As my 18th birthday fell into the year of the election, I was eager to vote,” said Gonzalez. “I felt lucky so I knew I had to take the opportunity to. I felt proud of letting my voice be heard. I don’t like the saying my one vote doesn’t matter, because it really does matter.”

Julianna Gonzalez./Courtesy • Winnada
Julianna Gonzalez./Courtesy • Winnada

This year was a close race, but a record-breaking one all the same. Donald Trump has lost the race to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. Harris has made history as the first female and first African-American and first Asian-American elected to the Vice President.

Trump has become the first person in years to lose reelection. The thing is, he’s not so sure that he’s really lost the election. He believes that an immense amount of voter fraud has led to this embarrassing turn of events.

To date, lawsuits filed by or on behalf of the Trump campaign have won one case and lost 59 as of December 14. A lawsuit by Trump, several states, and over 100 members of Congress was rejected by the Supreme Court.

Mining under Biden

Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris./Courtesy • Office of Senator Kamala Harris
Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris./Courtesy • Office of Senator Kamala Harris

The fact is that everything changes when the country gets a new president. Everything from the way one studies and eats at school to what mining will look like. This year that is no different.

Donald Trump had initially run his first campaign on the cornerstones that he was going to improve mining, specifically coal mining. President of National Mining Association (NMA) Rich Nolan has congratulated President-elect Biden and Kamala Harris. He is looking forward to their joint work to do better by the mining community.

“The mining industry looks forward to working with President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris to help drive America’s post-pandemic economic recovery and set our country on a firm course for a prosperous future,” said Nolan in a press release.

“Building back better involves miners,” said Nolan. “The Biden campaign understands the need for domestic supply chains.”

The plan is to increase the mining done in the United States, this is going to ultimately provide more jobs by lessening the dependency that the United States has on foreign countries for different minerals and natural resources.

However, the Biden administration will also be pushed by environmental groups to restrict new mines and Biden has set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

With a clean energy plan that will increase investment in renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs), mining could benefit as solar panels and EVs use many raw materials that mines supply.

However, some believe that Biden will try to undo the changes to the corporate tax code that were passed into law in 2017. This lowered the tax rate for corporations from 28% to 21% and eliminated the Alternative Minimum Tax.

“So what’s going to happen is Biden is going to raise taxes and mines won’t be able to keep up,“ said Lowry junior Chloe Sanders.

US Mining Employment Source: bls.gov
US Mining Employment Source: bls.gov

The division of the United States

This year has brought to light many different political issues, truly showing how divided the United States is. Around election time the United States often gets broken up into red and blue but this year the division has been significantly greater.

Austin Mayo, a math teacher, thinks the middle ground is being obscured by the extremes on both sides.

“It’s the rhetoric, it’s the words being used at political rallies throughout the media,” said Mayo. “They focus so much on the negative that it’s my way or the highway. There is no middle ground anymore… There is a lot of middle ground but it’s the extremes that are getting the voice. I think most of America is really in the middle, but they aren’t being heard because of those people who are screaming.”

A Stop the Steal rally in St. Paul Minnesota on Dec 13, 2020./Courtesy • Chad Davis via flickr
A Stop the Steal rally in St. Paul Minnesota on Dec 13, 2020./Courtesy • Chad Davis via flickr

The election has not only caused a division in the local community but all over the country. Anna Harmon, who used to live in Winnemucca but recently moved to Castle Rock, Colorado has seen the division there as well.

“I’ve noticed that with the election my town has become more divided than usual,” said Harmon. “I’ve seen more and more people showing what candidates they support and have rallies for them, causing yelling and arguments to break out.”

Colton Vincent, a senior at Lowry, said that the sensitivity of every party has contributed to the division. He says that in order to better the divide one has to only worry about not hurting anyone.

Colton Vincent./Courtesy • Winnada
Colton Vincent./Courtesy • Winnada

“It’s divided between republicans and democrats because of all the movements and riots,” said Vincent. “It’s one against the other in the election and it’s spread to different kinds of stuff. I think that things will calm down once the election year is over. I think people should be able to do what they want and what makes them happy as long as it doesn’t affect others. If people calm down and stop being so offensive and defensive about everything I think it would help.”

The Second Amendment

On September 25, 1789, the Second Amendment was ratified.  Meaning the people of the United States have the right to carry arms, and that privilege should not be infringed. Although the Second Amendment can have many interpretations most tend to lead to the meaning of simply being able to own a gun.

During the time leading up to the election, many thought Joe Biden would abolish the Second Amendment if elected. Which has then since has been proven false. Instead, Biden wants to implement better background checks and essentially end the Deeper background checks on people who want to purchase a gun which could reduce the accessibility of firearms.

Chloe Sanders./Courtesy • Winnada
Chloe Sanders./Courtesy • Winnada

Joe Biden announced that he wants to “Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” Evidence shows that previously bans have significantly reduced the lethality of mass shootings.

Junior Chloe Sanders thinks Biden’s plan will fail in the face of the NRA and is inherently unfair to certain groups.

“He [Biden] will never be able to override the NRA (National Rifle Association). His proposal will disproportionately impact the poor and the working class communities. They would be robbed of their ability to protect themselves and loved ones,” said Sanders.

Lesley Martinez, a senior, thinks statistics should play a part in gun control.

“It’s all about looking at statistics as well. During the Clinton administration, there were stricter gun regulation laws which brought down gun violence percentages,” said Martinez.

According to Martinez, there is a real and very dangerous gun problem in the United States.

“I think there is definitely a problem in America when it comes to gun control,” said Martinez. “Not the guns themselves, but the loopholes set in place in gun regulation laws which make it dangerous to buy firearms. An example of this can be the gun show loophole which does not require a background check in order to buy said firearm.”

However, this time around, Biden has said states he will base the bans on previous lessons learned; meaning the “ban on assault weapons will be designed to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor changes that don’t limit the weapon’s lethality,” according to his website joebiden.com.

On the flip side of the gun control issue are those who will argue that people, not guns, are the ones doing the killings. They argue that implementing heavier gun restrictions is directly against the Second Amendment right.

Anthony Gildone, a senior this year and just shy of being able to vote in this year’s election, cites violence in Chicago and the high crime rates associated with stricter gun control.

Anthony Gildone./Courtesy • Winnada
Anthony Gildone./Courtesy • Winnada

“I don’t believe there is a gun epidemic in the United States and stricter gun laws will violate the Second Amendment,” said Gildone. “I think stricter gun laws are a bad thing because good people are going to follow those laws and all the criminals aren’t. Then how will the good protect themselves? Take a look at Chicago they have some of the strictest gun laws and some of the highest crime rates.”

COVID-19

This year the global pandemic has changed the way the world functions in about every way. In some areas there is no school, there was a shutdown of public transportation and many other issues. So what’s the plan to resume back to normal life?

Joe Biden has a 7-step program in order to put this pandemic in the past. Biden states his plan includes things like fixing issues Trump has created in the past, regarding the global pandemic.

In other words, he will double drive-through testing sights. Ensuring COVID-19 tests are reliable and free. With the extra testing sites opening, Biden also plans on making sure there is enough and good quality personal protective equipment (PPE), instead of leaving small communities on their own.

His plans have also talked about “listening to science” and planning to “Create the Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard that Americans can check in real-time to help them gauge whether local transmission is actively occurring in their zip codes.” The dashboard will help all Americans know exactly how much precaution they should take based on the transmission in their zip code. The dashboard could also help elderly people realize how many precautions to take, and whether it’s safe to go and run errands since they have a higher chance of getting the virus.

COVID Data
COVID Data

COVID took its toll on this country as well as various other countries. While many countries are starting to head into what one used to call normal the United States has taken a step back and has started hitting new highs with cases.

Victoria Jacinto graduated last year and was able to vote in this year’s election. One of the factors that she voted based on was Biden’s plan to deal with the virus.

“It is a different approach, he’s also been more considerate and aware of how serious this is unlike the current president,” said Jacinto. “I think he is taking the right step because if the previous protocol didn’t work then just keep at trial and error. Instead of just trying to live through the pandemic he is headed to minimizing it and maybe even get us back to normal like other countries.”

Biden has implemented many different plans about COVID-19 and has very publicly advocated for the usage of masks in all public places. Lance Brinegar, a sophomore at Lowry High had recently spoken on the topic.

Electoral Map
Electoral Map

“I think Biden will have an uphill battle when it comes to earning the trust of Americans when it comes to covid or anything,” said Brinegar. “People are already starting to resist anything/everything covid related due to the hypocrisy we see every day by elected government officials. The division between people due to the election is very alarming. There is a lack of trust in everything and everyone. People should be allowed to have all the information and make their own decisions. Former President Trump and his operation warp speed already have three vaccines being made, with a distribution plan. Biden won’t have to handle much.”

Lance Brinegar./Courtesy • Winnada
Lance Brinegar./Courtesy • Winnada

Trump has consistently downplayed the severity of the virus and does not support the usage of masks. On September 29, 2020, Trump is clearly seen mocking Joe Biden for wearing a mask. During the debate, Trump said he wears a mask When needed but then went on to say Dr. Anthony  Fauci said that masks are not good. Later Fauci refuted the claim and said he has been begging people to wear masks. Of course, Trump and many others in his close circle contracted the virus.

The economy

The economy is always a big conversation starter regardless of which candidate is in office. President-elect Joe Biden has been under fire for his plans to increase taxes. However, many failed to read the fine print in Donald Trump’s tax plan. It has been recently discovered that in Trump’s tax plan there was a clause that some were not aware of.

According to the newyorktimes.com this plan has already been signed and is in effect.

“President Trump and his congressional allies hoodwinked us. The law they passed initially lowered taxes for most Americans, but it built in automatic, stepped tax increases every two years that begin in 2021 and that by 2027 would affect nearly everyone but people at the top of the economic hierarchy. All taxpayer income groups with incomes of $75,000 and under — that’s about 65 percent of taxpayers — will face a higher tax rate in 2027 than in 2019.”

Many believe that Biden would be the one raising taxes and he intends to but for the people who are well up on the financial ladder. According to President-elect Joe Biden’s website, he plans on creating jobs of millions.

“In this time of crisis, Joe Biden has a plan to create millions of good-paying jobs and to give America’s working families the tools, choices, and freedom they need to build back better.”

By creating more jobs Joe Biden will actively improve the economy. Biden plans to rebuild the economic structure. He is not a fan of the old ways. He talks about building the economy to strengthen the middle class and continuing to place the credit where it’s due; on the back of the middle class.

His website states, “…Biden will immediately put people to work by enlisting them to help fight the pandemic, including through a Public Health Jobs Corps…The Biden economic recovery plan for working families will build our economy back better.”

Laura Mercado, a government teacher at Lowry gives her two cents in regards to Biden’s plan to save the economy.

Mrs. Laura Mercado./Courtesy • Winnada
Mrs. Laura Mercado./Courtesy • Winnada

“I know that Biden wants to invest in infrastructure to help the economy,” said Mercado. “That will have to happen after COVID but I also think if that investing happens, it will be a very good thing for the economy.”

The economy has taken a big hit recently due to the pandemic and lockdowns across the globe. This has caused many businesses to lose business if not close altogether.

To improve the economy, the United States needs to first take care of the virus and then get people back to work.

“Different businesses have been shut down, people aren’t going out and spending money and that’s the number one thing for the economy right?” said Austin Mayo. “People need to spend money in order to make money. The way to get the economy back to where it was before is to beat the virus. We need to beat the shutdowns now whatever that takes is up for debate.”

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