• Autumn Brewster & Abby Ocampo

My President-Elect or Not?

Autumn Brewster and Abigail Ocampo interview current and former Northern Nevadan residents to get their thoughts on the United States 2020 President-Elect Joe Biden and his plans amid a still surging pandemic.

“I Feel Like I can Breathe Again”

The 2020 presidential election had all of America on the edge of their seats or refreshing their browsers.

No matter what side you were voting for, the anticipation as the states changed colors by the hour and the day was enough to keep interest. As many of us know by now, Joe Biden is now president-elect. Biden has already begun working on changes he would like to make once he’s in the Oval Office come January 2021.

As we approach Biden’s inauguration, we wanted to get the thoughts of Northern Nevada residents on how they feel in regard to Biden being our president-elect and the changes he is in the process of making.

“I know that as a young adult, having Biden win the election feels like a huge load has been taken off my shoulders,” said Jochelle Martinez, 22, a Reno native who currently lives in Portland, Oregon. “This will be the first time in four years, I feel like I can breathe again. Being Filipino, I think by having a new president, it makes equality for POC a possibility again.”

“Since the beginning of the election, I have always supported Bernie [Sanders], so I did have to transition into supporting Biden,” said Taylor Harris, 22, a Reno native and student at UNR.

“I have always believed that peace and respect should be spread across the nation, and the fact that Biden advocates for those and promises to help bridge the gap between different groups makes me happy that he is the next president,” Harris added. “There is a lot of divide and hate in our country. At least now we have a chance at redemption.”

Autumn Brewster interviewed Demetria Smolko (left), a Biden supporter, and Tim, a supporter of incumbent President Donald Trump. who is disputing election results on social media and in lower courts, with the same set of questions.

A Debate With Same Questions for a Biden vs. a Trump Supporter

Tim is a caucasian male Republican in his early 60s, who lives in a rural part of Sparks, Nevada. Tim voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential rlection. He mentioned that he is not very active when it comes to politics but still was eager to share his thoughts, even if he wished to remain just on a first-name basis.

Demetria Smolko, 23, was a Nevada resident for four years when attending UNR. Recently graduated, Smolko is now back in her hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Smolko is a caucasian female Democrat. This election, Smolko voted for Biden.

Was it fair to announce Biden as President-elect although many votes were not counted?

T: Not fair to declare anyone president until all votes have been counted and verified. Mail-in votes take time, I would rather them take their time and do it correctly than hurry up and do a sloppy job. [States] should look into allegations that the mail-in ballots were not used by the person they were intended to.

S: No, I do not agree with the fact that news stations announced Biden as president-elect before all of the votes were counted. It went completely against what our democracy stands for. It caused a lot of fights between parties and should have been handled differently.

Biden’s Covid plans ..thoughts?

T: Those are things that Trump was trying to get done but Congress wouldn’t let him do it. If you’re going to go into a national lockdown that won’t work or mandating people to wear masks, that won’t work either. People in general have their own free will of what they’re going to do no matter what the law is. It’s like going 10 over on the highway.

S: For the most part I agree with Biden’s COVID plan. I will disagree with the fact that he wants to close the country down for six weeks when in office! That is insane and I hope he has a plan for small businesses and the people of this country. We cannot have another repeat of March, 2020.

Thoughts on Biden’s promises of unemployment rates, racism, climate, and divided nation.

T: Race issue, that issue goes both ways. Sure there are white people that don’t like Blacks but there are Blacks that don’t like whites and Blacks that don’t like Blacks. To give one group of people things handed to them, it’s not right. Unemployment is dictated by how businesses are fairing. If a business isn’t doing well, they’re going to lay them off. You can’t make the employment rate go up and down by yourself. If you’re not working, you’re not making money. If you’re not making money, you can’t buy anything and you’re putting someone out of business. Those employees will then not have income they can go and spend. Climate changes have been throughout the centuries. As of now, yeah we put too many pollutants in the air and stuff like that. Everybody could do something to help. Just like not going to the store every time you want something, go once every week

S: I believe that most of what Biden promises to do with our country he will do it. But he can only do so much in four years. He can’t completely get rid of decades of racism and the recent country divide will make it that much more difficult. I hope that he does go through with everything he has promised but President Trump promised a lot and look where our country is at now.

Thoughts on the reactions made by Trump post-election

T: Legally when a vote is really close there is supposed to be an automatic recount. If the losing party wants a recount they can ask for it and are able to receive it. There should be a recount in some of the states. The votes are so close that it would be a disservice to the country if they didn’t. If they don’t do a recount, the people are going to always wonder if the person that is the president, should really be in office, causing a discord between the people.

S: I understand that President Trump is upset and wants to make sure that our elections are accurate and true, but I do not agree with his behavior. We are in the middle of a pandemic that is only getting worse and he is completely refusing to do anything to help the people. We need a plan and another stimulus. The people of this country are suffering while those with money are just getting richer. The stock market is not our priority, bailing out small businesses and the people is.

Some people voted for Biden just so their vote wouldn’t go to Trump and vice versa. How do you feel about this matter?

T: Everyone has a right to vote whichever way they want. That’s their decision. I voted for his [Trump] political decisions and his response to Covid-19

S: In the 2016 election, some voted for Trump so their votes wouldn’t go to Hillary. The same thing happened in this election. The voters who don’t like both Trump and Biden or those who usually don’t vote, all agreed that voting in this election was crucial and mandatory. Their choices were swayed by the news stations and social media. Your vote should be your own and not based on other’s views.

Is the media being more laid back with Biden than they were with trump? What can this do to the opinion of the public? Honeymoon period?

T: I think the media was biased all the time with Trump, since the very beginning. You could hear it in their voices. I think right now they are favoring him too much. The media shouldn’t pick favorites. You should just relay the news, this is black this is white, and let whoever is watching or listening make up their mind. That’s what journalism is unless you’re doing an opinion piece. The media should just state the facts.

S: I do not agree that the media and news are being more laid back with Biden than with Trump. But I have noticed that they never advertise his successes but more of his failures. The news stations today are so divided and biased making it difficult to find the truth about any of the candidates.

  • Note: Interviews were modified for clarity and grammar. Some information was left out for the privacy of the interviewees.

Reporting by Autumn Brewster and Abigail Ocampo for the Reynolds Sandbox

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