Biden elected 46th U.S. President, U of L students react Tuesday, Nov 10 2020 

By Catherine Brown-

After several days of counting votes, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States. As expected, student voters at U of L have mixed reactions about the results.

For four days, voters anticipated election results from swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada that managed to put Biden in the lead.

Once all the ballots were counted, including those sent by mail, the remaining states, including Pennsylvania and Nevada, were finally called in Biden’s favor. As of Nov. 10, Biden holds 290 electoral votes, while Trump has 214. 

North Carolina, Georgia and Alaska have yet to be called, but it’s impossible for Trump to make up the missing electoral votes.

“I’m ecstatic that Biden has won the election. I can not wait to protest against him the second he’s inaugurated,” Lorenzo Rowan, a sophomore who voted for Biden said. “I plan to hold him to account on every policy he has proposed to help improve the lives of working people.”

Ian McCall, a sophomore, voted for Trump. 

“I’m not surprised by the outcome in the presidential race,” McCall said. “Trump won his first term because he appealed to people’s worries about the economy.”

McCall said that in the case of a divided Congress, “The government can get back to doing what it does best. Nothing.”

Christopher Borick, a professor of political science and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, found that supporters for Biden were less enthusiastic about his candidacy than supporters for Trump, with only 49% of Biden voters showing enthusiastic support compared to 82% for Trump.

“Joe Biden is not the darling of voters,” Borick said. “In the end, there was enough enthusiasm against Trump that even if people weren’t in love with Joe Biden, they certainly were able to vote for him.”

According to a telephone interview of 419 likely voters in Pennsylvania, Democratic candidates for Congress are preferred over their Republican opponents. 

The same interview, conducted by researchers at Muhlenberg College, found that top issues concerning voters in Pennsylvania were the economy, healthcare and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hilary Beaumont, a writer for Aljazeera, attributes Biden’s win to a combination of factors including Biden’s appeal to the white working-class voters who were disappointed by Trump. Beaumont claims that Biden managed to appeal to suburban voters in Pennsylvania districts previously upset by Hillary Clinton in 2016.  

Additionally, Biden has roots in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which helped him lead in Lackawanna County.

The Trump administration announced that it would file lawsuits in states with a slim Democratic lead, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan. The lawsuits were sent to state and federal courts in these states to either stop counting mail-in ballots or recount the ballots.

Law officials say a recount is unlikely to change the results of the states involved.

Let’s see what the next four years have to offer.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Make your vote count in the presidential elections Wednesday, Oct 28 2020 

By Catherine Brown–

Presidential elections are less than one month away. Get out and vote like your future depends on it—because it does.

This election cycle has been called “the most important election of our lifetimes” by various politicians including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.

The importance of this election comes from the political polarization in this country. Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, voters seem to fall primarily along two party lines–either Democrat or Republican. Of course, many Americans still fall within a third party. But we’re taught to see our political party as right, and all others as wrong. 

That’s why it can be frustrating to not see a candidate whom you feel aligns with your views. In this election, we see the conservative Republican incumbent versus the liberal Democratic former vice president. Both have the political experience necessary to take on the role as president for the next four years. But many voters were dependent on the presidential debates to determine where they would cast their vote. 

And the first presidential debate certainly didn’t hit swing voters with as much impact as we would hope.

“Focus groups and polling suggest that the first presidential debate did little to convince swing voters to vote for one candidate over the other,” said Jennifer Anderson, a political science professor at U of L specializing in campaigns and elections.

In fact, it seems like the first debate might’ve had the opposite effect.

“Some focus group evidence from the NY Times, NPR and others suggest the debate pushed some undecided voters more toward opting out of voting rather than voting for one candidate over the other,” Anderson said.

But sooner or later, voters need to make a choice.

Anderson analyzed the overall effectiveness of the two campaigns, as well as ways in which each candidate could improve.


Trump

Trump continues to do well with his base. His nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is sitting well with most Republicans, and the nomination serves as a reminder to Republicans that there are lasting implications for voting for a president of one’s own party, even for those who aren’t Trump fans,” Anderson said.

She said his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak is a low point in his campaign. It certainly doesn’t help Trump having such a massive global pandemic so close to Election Day. 

Anderson also said Trump is inconsistent with the messaging in his campaign.

Ian McCall, a sophomore, plans to vote for Trump.

“I’m voting for Trump because this election is more than just a battle of policy. Our country is more divided than it has ever been. This election has become a battle of culture, and I as many conservatives feel that all our institutions and our very way of life is under threat,” McCall said.

“Biden will take the country in a direction that seems decidedly un-American to me. My concern is doing what is best for the people in my life and that, to me, is voting for Trump,” he said. “I understand some feel that voting for Biden is what is best for the country and in truth I don’t believe there is an objectively right or wrong way to run the country.”

 

Biden

Anderson said that analysts predicted that Biden would make “costly gaffes in his campaign,” but that he has largely avoided mistakes. She said Biden could improve through changing the “finding a way to change the narrative around his older age and perceived frailty.”

Joe Biden has been criticized by Trump and his supporters for his slurred speech and forgetfulness, so much so, that Trump has given Biden the nickname “Sleepy Joe.” 

Lorenzo Rowan, a sophomore, will be voting for Biden.

“I believe that Biden is the easier candidate to bully into making substantive changes for POC and LGBTQ with nationwide intersectional protests against his administration,” Rowan said.

Another reason Rowan said he’s voting for Biden is because of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his climate change policies.

“Over 200k Americans are dead from COVID-19 because of Trump’s ineptitude, stupidity and narcissism. Trump’s lack of belief in the existence of human-caused climate changed had cost us precious time to address that existential crisis. Biden has proposed a $2 trillion dollar plan to help with climate change.”


This year, Election Day looks a little different for much of America. While in person polling places will still be around, our democracy is also relying on mail-in votes being cast.

Unfortunately, voting fraud is already happening.

Unauthorized ballot boxes were set up by the California Republican Party to count unofficial votes in the state. This is an act of voter suppression, intended to take away the voice and democratic power of those who might threaten the chances of certain candidates being elected. It is also against state law.

Other polling locations are facing long lines with several hours of waiting just to receive a ballot.

Don’t let this be a deterrent in exercising the right to vote. Despite concerns around fraudulent behavior in regards to mail-in voting, voter fraud is actually rare.

In this pandemic, millions of Americans are given the opportunity to avoid possibly catching or spreading COVID-19. By mail-in voting, you can show that you value both voting and being safe around others. Even if you decide to vote in person, you’ll have your vote counted and it will impact our country’s future.

Louisville voters can access one of many drop-box locations around the city. 

Everybody that is eligible to vote needs to get out and do their part for our democracy.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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KY Senate Race 2020: Kentucky needs a change. Tuesday, Oct 20 2020 

By Catherine Brown-

Senator Mitch McConnell does not deserve a place in office anymore. It’s up to us to vote for Democrat Amy McGrath for Senate.

On Sept. 30, McGrath spoke to University of Louisville students at the Red Barn on the Belknap Campus. In her speech, she discussed the corruption of individuals in the government such as Sen. McConnell and President Donald Trump.

McGrath spoke to students about matters like registering to vote, racial injustice and preserving democracy.

“Kentucky has never made it easier to vote than this year,” McGrath said. “Your vote matters just as much as Mitch McConnell’s or Donald Trump’s or anybody else’s. They only get one vote, too.” 

McConnell has been in the U.S. Senate for 36 years. If he wins on Election Day, it could become 42. 

Over his 36 years in office, McConnell has left over 250 bills sitting on his desk, unread. This includes bills on gun control reform, health care and shielding survivors of domestic abuse.

U of L Young Democrats Treasurer Julia Mattingly plans to vote for Amy McGrath on Election Day.

“It’s about time we get Mitch McConnell out of office,” Mattingly said. “Considering the cards she’s been dealt, McGrath and her team have done their best to campaign throughout the state and promote her platform.”

Mattingly further explained that McGrath’s safe and socially-distanced campaign events are effective in promoting her platform. McGrath’s campaign also offers volunteer sign-ups after her speeches, where students can volunteer to make calls or canvass on her behalf.

Certainly, the young voters that she looks to appeal to appreciate her choice to take COVID-19 safety seriously.

Furthermore, McGrath and McConnell took part in the first Senate debate on Oct. 12. The candidates were questioned on multiple topics including whether Breonna Taylor received justice, Supreme Court nominations and handling of COVID-19.

Neither candidate actually answered whether they believe Breonna Taylor received justice. This is problematic because two white politicians can easily avoid talking about this, as it doesn’t directly affect them. Avoiding the actual question doesn’t do much to show that they care about this particular topic, so each politician needs to do better with their answer.

Both candidates denied wanting to defund the police and condemned the acts of looting and violent protests.

“We have to follow the laws that were written,” McConnell said. McGrath responded saying that she believes “leaders have to take a step back and recognize that we need change in this country.”

Sen. McConnell doesn’t want to bring change to a system that he doesn’t lose against.

Election Day is Nov. 3 and all eligible students, faculty and staff are encouraged to register to vote. 

Absentee ballots must be mailed by Nov. 3 at 6:00 p.m. Early voting started Oct. 13.

Don’t miss out on Election Day. Do your part as a voter.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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KY Senate Race 2020: Kentucky is already in good hands. Tuesday, Oct 20 2020 

By Zachary Baker-

In less than one month, a very critical election to determine the path of the country will take place. Several important races are happening, one of which is for Kentucky’s seat to the U.S Senate. The Republican incumbent, Mitch McConnell, is running against Democrat Amy McGrath and there are high stakes, which is why many Kentuckians are fighting hard for their candidate. 

Despite what others would say, there are benefits for keeping Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate and it is very important to acknowledge them. 

For starters, Mitch McConnell is one of the most powerful men in the U.S Senate.

McConnell is the Senate Majority Leader, a position that holds a significant amount of influence over the path that the country takes. As Kentucky doesn’t hold a lot of power, it is important for the state to find its heroes wherever it can—anyone that gives Kentucky an advantage is vital to protect. It would be foolish to ignore that influence and throw away a significant seat at the national level in exchange for a first term senator entering the national political game.

Caleb Childers, senior history and political science double major, plans to vote for McConnell.

“I’m voting for Senator McConnell because he’s the most powerful man in Washington, his experience and connections matter. His role in transforming the federal judiciary has earned him a spot as the most influential American politician, that’s not a president, since Henry Clay,” Childers said. “He’s shepherded millions of dollars into Kentucky that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. So, voting against Senator McConnell is like benching LeBron in the 4th quarter when it’s a tied game.”

That opinion is invaluable for also understanding that McConnell has done well for Kentucky during his time in office. There is a reason that McConnell has continued to hold his senate seat for decades, besting his opponent every time an election comes up.

McConnell expresses the values of many Kentuckians while also changing the national conversation to fit those values. 

On top of protecting values, McConnell has helped Kentucky receive better funding for Kentucky businesses and industries. He’s holding Kentucky up in a country that wouldn’t ordinarily look after a state like ours. 

McConnell’s power extends beyond the U.S Senate as well. His power reaches all the way to the executive branch.

McConnell is the man to please in the Senate but also the man guiding along the President of the United States. Regardless of anyone’s opinions of President Donald Trump, it is valuable that Kentucky has a seat so close to one of the most powerful men in the world. That seat is McConnell’s and it would be devastating to Kentucky’s interests to lose all that influence. 

While many people across the country are arguing against Mitch McConnell and telling Kentucky to choose their best option, it doesn’t seem like they actually care about Kentucky.

There are only a few times that people will mention Kentucky in a good light. The few times that people consider Kentucky is from the influence it has through McConnell. Yet they often still insult Kentuckians when doing so.

Only Kentuckians have the ability to decide what is best for Kentucky, so it isn’t hard for me to admit that Mitch McConnell brings opportunity with him. Mitch McConnell is leading in the polls and is likely to be reelected, so it is important for everyone to look at the benefits that he brings to Kentucky.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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‘False Hope’ Or Four More Years? Ohio Valley Stakeholders Reflect On Trump Energy Policy  Monday, Aug 31 2020 

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In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump was all-in on the fossil fuel industry. In a 2016 rally in Charleston, West Virginia, the candidate proudly accepted an endorsement from that state’s coal association, donning a hardhat while he mimed digging coal. To thundering applause, he promised to bring back coal jobs to the struggling Appalachian coalfields. 

Four years later, there are fewer jobs in coal than ever, and that enthusiasm was largely absent from the energy pitch the Republican Party made to the American people in its four-night-long convention last week. That’s left stakeholders in Ohio Valley coal regions reading the tea leaves on what another four years of a Trump Administration might look like. 

This story is the first in a series revisiting themes, places and people in the new Ohio Valley ReSource book, “Appalachian Fall.”


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