Angles: How should Augustana students vote this election?

The Augustana Democrats and Augustana Republicans, campus organizations that represent their respective political parties, share how they think Augie students should vote this election. Representatives from each group wrote the pieces, per the Mirror’s request to engage in a forum.

Augustana Republicans: ‘Republican is the way to go’

Regardless of who you support, you need to vote.

The right to vote is one of the founding concepts we as college students have a duty to partake in. Our republic is not properly represented when the few pick the politicians that serve us.

We urge you to look up every office and issue you will vote on. In particular, those up for reelection are President Donald Trump, Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., congressman Dusty Johnson, R- S.D., Public Utilities Commissioner Gary Hanson and your local legislators.

If you ask us, Republican is the way to go, but you need to decide that for yourself. Learn the facts and vote your values. Republicans have tried to meet on common ground to make real progress on a new COVID-19 relief bill. Democrats have their $3 trillion wish list called the HEROES Act, which would provide funds for items unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic.

Republicans in the Senate sought to give Americans a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program, which gave loans to small businesses at the start of the pandemic. The Senate Democrats blocked this aid to our struggling businesses and families.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, and the Senate Republicans introduced the Justice Act, a sweeping police reform bill which would have done things like ending the police use of the chokehold, providing de-escalation of force and duty to intervene training, and make lynching a federal crime. Again, Democrats blocked it.

In this game of cat and mouse, we need leaders who can cut through the partisan bickering and deliver results. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and sent students home after spring break, Trump signed the bipartisan CARES Act into law. This bill, which Rep. Johnson co-sponsored and Sen. Rounds supported, provided immediately needed relief to Americans and allocated $14 billion for postsecondary institutions to shift to online courses and give grants to students in need.

Johnson was the House Republican floor manager for the FUTURE Act, a bipartisan bill which provided permanent funding for historically black, tribal and minority colleges and universities, shortened and simplified the FAFSA process and invested in STEM education. Trump signed it into law last year.

Under Republican leadership in the Senate, Rounds helped fill more than 200 federal judicial vacancies, putting in place quality judges who will call balls and strikes. This includes three Supreme Court Justices: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and as of this week, Amy Coney Barrett. They will not seek to make policy or push their individual agendas but instead will follow the law and uphold the constitution.

As you head into the voting booth, ask yourself this question: What is the role of government to you? Is it more regulations, higher taxes and increased federal intervention into your daily life? Or is it lower taxes, balancing the budget, getting rid of unnecessary regulations and giving Americans more freedom?

Republicans believe in personal responsibility and limiting the government’s unnecessary intervention into daily life. Regardless of social status, we believe the American dream is still possible.

Our best days are ahead of us. Young Republicans represent a party of optimism and opportunity, constantly looking towards the future while acknowledging and improving on our failures.

Once again, you need to vote in this election and seek out multiple sources first to learn the facts for yourself. Remember to vote your values on (or before) Nov. 3.

Augustana Democrats: Biden is ‘a president for all’

Our country is currently experiencing high amounts of partisan tension. This clash between Democrats and Republicans is especially hard to refute in terms of choosing who to vote for, especially in a time of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, racism, foreign relations, climate change and the overall sense of impending disaster that this election is based around. 

But the Democratic Party’s candidate, Joe Biden, has made it clear to the United States that he will be a president for all during these turbulent times. Current President Donald Trump has cut ties with our allies, one example being the withdrawal of the United States from the World Health Organization during the COVID-19 pandemic. He refused to condemn white supremacy when directly asked, while also claiming he has done more for the black community than anyone. 

The world is in an impending climate crisis, and the United States is currently not part of the Paris Climate Agreement, which is a United Nations convention that 195 states have signed onto in hopes of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. 

What seems to be extremely important in these incredibly unstable times is the notion of accountability. Here at Augustana, we are taught to hold ourselves accountable in both our social and academic lives. This notion should also translate to our leaders, especially the leader of our country. 

No president deserves anything less than intense scrutiny of their actions, and we encourage the Augustana community to consider this notion of accountability when casting their vote, and previous actions translate directly into future consequences. This upcoming election has a lot at stake for both sides. In a two-party system, when one party’s candidate loses, that side can feel completely unrepresented by that administration. 

In the 2020 election, it is imperative that voters, especially new voters, vote for the candidate who will work to decrease this political divide and who has repeatedly worked to bridge the gap between parties and promote cooperation among all Americans. That candidate is Joe Biden. 

He has repeatedly stated his determination for unity between parties — that he will not be a president for the Democrats, but a president for America, because the job of a commander in chief is to represent all citizens, even those who had voted against them. 

Trump has failed to do this, as his words continue to promote partisan tension and division. This is particularly important during this election year because large-scale issues, such as COVID-19 response, racism or climate change, cannot be solved by individual free choice or inciting division among friends and neighbors. These issues can only be solved by working together across party lines and finding real solutions.

It is imperative that people exercise their right to vote and make their voices heard at all levels, including local elections. Here in Augie’s District 13, the Republican incumbent Sue Peterson has supported bills that directly impact Augustana students by rejecting need-based scholarships for college students and bills that could affect transgender students’ ability to participate in athletics. 

Those registered at Augustana’s address can vote to see policy makers in the South Dakota Legislature that closely align with personal values and those who reject bills that contradict with those values. For those registered elsewhere, take the time to research the local district candidates and state candidates in addition to presidential candidates, looking into their beliefs and policies rather than their blue or red label. Assume the responsibility to develop communities, to choose representatives that will be accountable, reliable and virtuous and to promote the changes desired to take place from those offices.

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