By Ilka Denker
The US Presidential Election has received a lot of media coverage and attention over the last couple of weeks. While it might seem like a topic that our neighbours across the Atlantic have to deal with,there are students in NUI Galway’s community who will be affected more directly by the outcome of the 2020 US presidential elections.Erin Moore and Courtney Dwyer are both from the USA and are currently studying Medicine in NUI Galway.
To both of them, the presidential elections were “a hot mess” but “hectic as (they) expected”.Erin believes that the elections have shown how “politically divided” the USA is. She explains that “it is not like most of the people are divided as in one is all Democrat, one is all Republican. That is a small minority. Most people lie in the middle kind of range where there are some things they believe in on either side”.
Erin believes, “that the political influencers that represent them are the two extremes and that causes
animosity towards each other”.
“The two – party system is so broken”, agrees Courtney, “everything in politics is now extreme, there’s
no middle ground which is what we need, because that’s where most people are”. She goes as far as
saying that the presidential candidates are “caricatures of the extreme”.
Erin believes that when Americans go out to vote, “they just pick the better poison”.
The contemporary topic of inequalities in the United States and the Black Lives Matter movement
were prevalent in this year’s elections.
Courtney voices, “For America being the powerful country that it is, we are still very segregated in ways. There is still so much racism, so much sexism and a gender inequality gap”.
She says that “there are still these in-equalities and the Presidential Election kind of highlights that, because look at our candidates”.
Erin adds , “you’ll see that with all American leaders, depending on what the current situation is,they will play by that to get as many votes as they can. They only care about all these things once it’s time for election day”.
Erin says that the problem with US Presidents is that they only focus on one aspect of the country and
ignore the rest during their presidential term and “in Trump’s case it was the economy”.
“With racism in the last summer, it has been horrible with the protests and buildings being demolished
because it has built up to a point Presidents ignore it or sweep it under the rug, hoping that the next person will deal with it and they don’t truly address the issue at hand”.
The two Medicine students do not see the racial inequality issue being resolved by the next President of the USA.
Courtney explains this by saying, “We had our first black president, Obama, for two terms and
although most people were pretty much secretly racist back then it brought the people who were
wildly racist to the surface, because they were anti-black President.When Trump got elected that
further let anyone that was secretly racist become vocally racist” .
She therefore believes that the next President would “have to reverse 12 years of these racial tensions
that have been building”.
Erin says racial inequalities will not be resolved as fast as the USA wants them to, because these have
been going on for centuries and racism is ingrained in many people’s mindset.
However, she is hopeful for the future: “It is hard to change people who have this mentality and mindset since they were a little kid. With the generations getting older and the newer generations that are coming together and realising this issue, hopefully it can get better. Voting and protesting in a non- violent way, making a voice out there; that is what we can do to promote this so that eventually there will be a time where we can look back at this in a text book and be like, ‘Oh, I am so glad we are not there anymore.”
Many people eagerly awaited the results of the election earlier this month.
Erin compares this to a football match with the rest of the world excitedly cheering, “who is gonna win”?
Both students agree that “to an American it is kind of terrifying, because it can actually change our
Erin explains that “right now I feel like I am watching it from a distance, but it still has its circle of effects”.
“I rely on my family for economical support and I rely on the government for financial support, so I
depend on how much that plays a role for the next president”.
She adds that ““I won’t be experiencing the social implications of it, like social rights. I know people
who will and that is what I am most concerned about”.
Courtney concludes that “you always have the promises of the candidates that you hope they will hold
Ultimately, that is all any voter in any country has.