Election 2020 Discussions Take Over The Hill
It’s officially election season on The Hill and across the nation.
Election day is November 3, 2020, and the Presidential Election is between Democratic Nominee Joe Biden and his Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris and incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence.
Hopkins is buzzing with political discussion, and the heads of the Young Democrats and Young Republicans are at the forefront. The two clubs have organized joint Zoom meetings for open political discussions after the televised Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. These discussions occur after school and are well attended. The meeting following the Vice Presidential debate lasted over three hours, with students filtering in and out of the Zoom session. Co-head of Young Democrats Ella Zuse ’21 stated, “It surprised me that students were willing to stay on after the meetings officially ended and carried the conversation on for so long. I think Hopkins students are very invested in national politics at the moment and these have been some of the most well attended events since I became head my sophomore year.”
The two clubs have also raised awareness about the importance of voting and getting active in the political world through their Google Classroom posts and encouraging participation in these Zoom discussions on Instagram. Co-head of Young Republicans Yahn Galinovsky ’21 stated, “It is always important to vote for those you believe are representative of your values and will dedicate themselves to our country’s betterment.” The Razor interviewed the heads of both clubs to ascertain their opinions on the 2020 Presidential election, the significance of voting, and certain events that have occurred at Hopkins in regards to politics.
When asked what makes this election, in particular, so pivotal, Young Democrats co-head Drew Williams ’21 explained, “Our country is in pain over a lot of things right now and four more years of the current leadership would be unsustainable. People feel that their voices are not being heard right now and that issues such as climate change, systemic racism, economic disparity and the coronavirus pandemic are being mishandled. I realize that every generation of teenagers probably feels that the issues of their time are the worst, but they weren’t teenagers in 2020.” Co-head of Young Republicans John Stanley ’21, shared a similar sentiment: “I think it’s always been important to go out and vote to voice your opinion in our government. There’s been a lot of unrest lately in our country and voting is the best way to affect change.”
The presidential and vice presidential candidates have each taken part in a debate, but do the heads of the Young Republicans and Democrats believe the candidates showed their best to the American people? Galinovsky believes that “the debates have been utterly disappointing from both sides. Both parties refuse to answer questions, and it seems like the topic of conversation is almost entirely about Donald Trump. I understand that talking about our current President’s decisions is necessary, but I believe the American people need to hear what each candidate plans to accomplish themselves- not defenses and attacks on Donald Trump. Lastly, debates need to be more of a conversation. I think a style somewhere in between the VP debate and the first Presidential Debate would be ideal.” Williams echoes this disappointment: “I think I can speak for many people when I say that I’ve never seen a presidential debate like the one we watched on September 29. Jake Tapper was right when he said it was ‘a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck.’”
The heads of Young Democrats and Young Republicans then shifted their focus to an event that happened not on a national scale but right here at Hopkins. A parent of a member of the Class of 2020 sent an email out to most faculty, staff, and parents in the Hopkins community, outlining his complaints in regards to the political atmosphere at Hopkins. He criticized the silencing of right leaning students, the lack of conservative guest speakers, and the overabundance of liberal Assembly presenters. A part of the letter reads, “Finally, if you invite Liberal Socialist Speaker[s] at Hopkins you should invite Conservative Speakers as well--that is call[ed] inclusion and pluralism in political views.” He continued, “This kind of behavior is totally contradictory to what Hopkins School Administration pra[ises] regarding inclusion, tolerance, pluralism regarding races, sex orientation, religion and political view.”
Galinovsky believes the parent’s opinions are valid, “Hopkins needs to be neutral and become a place where students can formulate their opinions on their own. Conservative speakers should visit Hopkins, without immediately being discredited for the sole reason of opposition to political opinions.” Stanley values having Assembly speakers who provide diverse points of view. “I think it’s always a benefit to hear different points of view. I believe a main purpose of education is to be exposed to diversity of thought. It can help us see things from a different perspective as well as help us solidify our own viewpoints. If we can have a better understanding of others beliefs, it’s so much easier for us to get along with and respect each other.” Williams echoed Stanley’s sentiment: “Isn’t part of the education we expect from this school supposed to include explorations of politics, morals, and ethics?”