By: Iman Palm and Grace Widyatmadja
Since California is a liberal state, it’s easy to assume that students at Long Beach State will have the same view towards politics.
That’s not necessarily true.
With Election Day rapidly approaching, CSULB students have expressed why their preferred candidate should win the presidency on Nov. 3.
Jose Espinoza, a fourth-year religious studies major, identifies as a social issues Republican, someone who focuses on social problems such as religious freedoms, traditional family values and pro-life policies.
Espinoza said he supports the re-election of President Donald J. Trump, even though he doesn’t agree with everything the administration has done, particularly the way it has handled the coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s rhetoric on wearing masks.
“One thing they need to acknowledge is that wearing a mask in public or trying to practice social distancing is crucial in stopping this pandemic,” Espinoza said. “They haven’t handled it pretty well but also at the same time I believe that anything that the Republicans say or do, they are always criticized by the Democrats.”
Espinoza said he still identifies more with Republican values than he does with Democratic ones. He said he likes that the party stands for less government involvement, traditional marriages and individual freedoms.
In contrast, Carolina Pimental, a second-year political science major, is a registered Democrat ready to cast her vote for former Vice President Joe Biden in November. She said she hopes that a Biden and Kamala Harris administration will bring a time of reform and change to the climate of the country.
Pimental said she does not support the re-election of President Trump because she feels that what he stands for is not something she wants the country to be associated with.
“Until a year ago, he ceased to acknowledge climate change, and he further pushed for the coal industry to be reintegrated into the U.S.,” Pimental said. “That caused a lot of damage.”
Pimental thinks that the Trump administration waited too long to take action against the coronavirus pandemic. Trump’s opposition to widespread testing was a stance that she felt was ignorant when it could have played a crucial part in containing the spread of the virus.
“I fully remember seeing Trump in the news saying that it’s just a cold. It’s just the flu but a little bit worse. Maybe it’s like that for younger people, but for older people and those compromised that’s not the case,” she said. “I think it was the reluctance to act in the beginning that proved to be a really fatal flaw, and caused a lot of deaths to happen that may not have happened had action been taken earlier.”
Espinoza said he has been following election coverage, like many other Americans right now. He said he felt that although the presidential debate was chaotic, he applauded the president for doing a good job overall.
“I believe Donald Trump effectively answered the questions that were asked by the moderator, but I was really disappointed that he didn’t clearly denounce certain elements of white supremacists’ hopes,” Espinoza said.
Pimental said she felt the presidential debate was ineffective in helping undecided voters make a decision on who to vote for.
“I feel like there wasn’t a whole lot to take away from [the debate] because a majority of the time [the candidates] were just concentrated on talking over one another,” she said.
Amid Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s ongoing confirmation hearings, Espinoza said he believes that Trump should be able to nominate another Supreme Court Justice before his term is over.
The religious studies major, who is a Catholic himself, shares similar views to Barrett’s on abortion. He believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
Even though Joe Biden has expressed that he’s Catholic as well, Espinoza said he doesn’t like his positions on social issues.
“Honestly [Biden] should stop calling himself a Catholic because the Catholic church is firmly against the killing of the unborn,” Espinoza said.
Pimental said she views the nomination of Barrett as a publicity stunt by the Trump administration in an effort to shed a negative light on the Democratic Party. She feels that the intent of her nomination is to “rally up the media” to show that regardless of the Republican Party’s action, the Democratic Party will always be quick to criticize them.
“I don’t think that he should be able to have a nomination, but I have to acknowledge that part of the reason that I’m saying that is because I don’t believe in her abilities to be impartial in separating her religion in matters of the law,” Pimental said.
Amber Ottosen, a fourth-year exercise science major, said she doesn’t believe that either candidate deserves to win the election. Even though she is not registered under any political party, she would consider herself most closely affiliated with the Libertarian Party.
“Both of them have their pros and cons I suppose, but for the most part it just represents that America as a whole can’t pull it together and work together because if America was able to work together, both sides, we would have better quality candidates,” Ottosen said.
Unlike many Americans, Ottosen hasn’t paid any attention to the debates or the confirmation hearings of Judge Barrett. For her, she thinks more people should be concerned with what’s going on in their communities.
“In my opinion it’s not the bigger picture, it’s not the most important issue we should be focusing on,” Ottosen said. “I think that people should focus more on what’s going on in their lives and around them and in their communities rather than what’s going on in Washington.”
She disagrees with the notion that the federal government deserves the most power and that the states and cities have very little power in comparison.
“We should definitely focus on reducing the power of government [which] has way too much control over our lives,” Ottosen said. It should be the reverse. The cities should have the most power relatively speaking because they influence a smaller area, and the people within that area need approximately the same things compared to a whole country, where there [are] many different regions, many different people and many different specific issues.”
Ottosen said she doesn’t plan to vote during this upcoming election, but if she was, her vote would go to a third-party candidate.