The 2020 presidential election is, to put it lightly, a pivotal moment for the United States. The country’s electorate is tasked with choosing whether to reelect a demagogue who threatens American democracy and American lives, in an election that many fear will be contested by Republican leadership. The nation’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic, the fight against systemic racism and the ongoing climate crisis are all at stake. Berkeley’s local, state and national representatives are on the ballot, and California’s propositions address key issues such as affirmative action, civic engagement and employee benefits for gig workers.
With this special issue, The Daily Californian hopes to reflect the UC Berkeley community’s perspectives on the upcoming election. In the articles that follow, first-time voters and professors alike discuss the issues they prioritize, as well as their hopes and anxieties about the election. Tying together these perspectives is a common theme: a passion for participating in our democracy and making our voices heard.
‘On the mark’: Polls say presidential candidate Joe Biden is favored to win
National polls suggest Democratic nominee Joe Biden has an 87% chance of winning the 2020 presidential election, but four years ago, the United States watched as President Donald Trump won despite polls that stated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had an 85% chance of winning.
— Maria Young
Professor Alan Ross talks Political Science 179, political engagement at UC Berkeley
Political Science 179, the undergraduate political science colloquium, tasks students with listening to speakers from across the political spectrum for one hour each week in exchange for a unit.
— Ruby Sutton
Environmental policies at stake in 2020: Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump
It’s up to us — as voters who can air our environmental grievances through our ballots — to collectively decide whether we’ll soon take action or continue our complacency.
— Ryan Chien
No choice but to vote
To me, nothing has reaffirmed the importance of voting the way this president has.
— Caitlin Keller
How the growing pervasiveness of social media influences the election season
While social media is convenient for users, it also promotes an abyss of dangerous disinformation for people to carelessly digest as truth.
— Ashley Tsai
Climate change: Recalibrating our 2020 political agenda
COVID-19 has sparked a global crisis that has shocked the world, causing a tragic number of deaths and economic hardship for many.
— Jenny Lee
Where to vote in Berkeley
Alameda County has provided nine accessible voting locations, or AVLs, for in-person voting for Berkeley voters who need assistance or new ballots to replace damaged or lost vote-by-mail ballots.
— Defne Karabatur
Your vote always matters
At the end of the day, there’s one certain way to ensure that your vote won’t count, and that’s by not submitting your ballot. So, I’ll see you at the polls Nov. 3, and we’ll strengthen our democracy together.
— Kate Finman
Democracy made easy: Your guide to a last-minute vote
Regardless of how you vote, make sure you cast your ballot before 8 p.m. or are in line by that time on Nov. 3. Your vote is super important!
— Kate Finman
The water is boiling
The changes to how we live may not have inherently adverse effects. I’m not arguing that access to more information is all bad, but it can heighten existing feelings of pessimism, exhaustion and stress surrounding the election.
— Surina Khurana
Why local races matter to the 2020 general elections
“I don’t like Biden or Trump, so I’m not voting” is a sentence a lot of people have said this election cycle — but there’s a lot more than the presidential ticket on the ballot, and local elections matter now more than ever.
— Catherine Hsu
The 2016 election still haunts us: A retrospective
While COVID-19 has changed life as we know it, and while four years ago seems like a completely different world, many of the anxieties surrounding the 2020 election are haunted by the spectre of the 2016 election.
— Eric Rogers
Misinformation got you down? Here’s how to get informed the right way
We’ve received huge amounts of information about this year’s election on a daily basis, and making sense of it has been no small task.
— Mia Horne
The downfall of the 2-party system
In a two-party system, we are ultimately left with a Democratic candidate and a Republican candidate facing off in the presidential election.
— Amrita Bhasin
5 hilarious memes from the 2020 election cycle
With the 2020 election coming to an end and possibly bringing the world to shambles along with it, there is no better time to look back at the memes about the presidential race.
— Julianna Goldfarb
How Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment is shaping Democrats’ vision for the US Supreme Court
On Sept. 18, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Less than 40 days later — eight days before the election — Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the 115th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
— David Villani
‘A completely different ballgame’: CalPIRG turns out the 2020 vote
The New Voters Project, or NVP, aims to increase civic engagement among college students and encourage them to decide their own futures.
— Veronica Roseborough
Settle for presidential candidate Joe Biden, change the world
Not only is it important to cast a vote for Joe Biden because of his proposed policies, but it is also important we reverse damages caused by Donald Trump.
— Gisselle Reyes
Why you should vote
So, this coming Tuesday, vote. Vote because our ability and opportunity to do so, like much of American history, is being challenged once again.
— Zara Khan