By: Deborah Coopersmith  | 

We Asked, Y(O)U Answered: Your Vote, Your Voice

Editor’s Note: Due to the divisive nature of this election, and with the goal of obtaining an substantive sentiment of the current student body’s opinions on the presidential election, The Commentator granted respondents the ability to submit reasonable responses, under anonymity, provided they privately submit their names and contact info to the author. All respondents, aside from one, chose to submit their responses anonymously. 

The upcoming presidential election has sparked countless reactions, thoughts and feelings in the minds of every American. For this article, The Commentator reached out to the student body to see what they felt about the choices in the presidential campaign, who they are voting for, how they feel about the other candidate, and the key issues they care about when voting. The responses of six students are provided below. For a more comprehensive analysis on YU sentiment on political issues, read our latest survey results.

Anonymous (SCW ‘23)

Party Affiliation: Independent 

Method of Voting: Mail in/Absentee Ballot 

“Neither candidate is ideal. However, I will be voting for President Trump. Despite his inflammatory personality, I agree with most of his policies and believe he accomplished a lot over the past four years. I also feel very safe with him as president in regards to Israel. Most of the negative consequences of him being president have already happened and can’t be taken back, so keeping him for another term for the positive opportunities makes sense.

“I don’t trust the Democratic Party, since they don’t seem to know what they are standing for (how far to the left they want to go). I think it comes from trying to appeal to many different groups. I don’t feel comfortable with the party, and Biden in particular (Iran Deal), in regards to Israel’s security and its relationship with the U.S. relationship. I also don’t agree with many other key policies such as raising certain taxes, moving towards more socialized medicine, etc. And in terms of ideology, I would be worried that things might progress from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism, and from the PC [politically correct] culture to suppression of free speech. 

“Israel is the key issue I care about because it’s our safety zone as the Jewish people and if it isn’t secure we aren’t safe. Health care and taxes are important because it affects me and my family personally (paying for yeshiva day school education, having the ability to have private healthcare and my parents being small business owners). I am also invested in the general safety and well being of America — I am thankful to live in the U.S.A. and want the best for its citizens. The atmosphere is now descending perilously close to anarchy, and the general unrest we have now needs to be dealt with for us to function safely and properly as a country.” 

Anonymous (SCW ‘23)

Party Affiliation: Republican

Method of Voting: Mail in/Absentee Ballot 

“Both presidential candidates are really not that good. Biden has more class and is more unifying than Trump, but Trump has a better record of accomplishments and better policies. We need a president with both. 

“I am voting for Donald Trump because he has delivered on the promises that he made four years ago, instead of being like other politicians who lie. Although he really doesn’t have class and is not very unifying, his policies are good for America. Also, he is a strong leader and other countries are scared of him. We need a president who is able to stand up to China and Iran; Donald Trump definitely scares them. He puts America first and doesn’t let our country get played around with. As Jews, it is also important to vote for Trump since he is SUPER pro-Israel, and has done so many things for Israel that no other president has been able to do. 

“Joe Biden stumbles over his words and is too weak to be president. He’ll allow the other countries to push America around, and he clearly has some sort of pre-dementia. In numerous interviews he mixes up so many terms! In terms of accountability, Donald Trump has done more in four years than Joe has done in 47. Biden is so old, and if elected, it is very likely that Kamala Harris will be president. She is a radical socialist and that is very scary for America.

“I care most about Israel, and law and order. Donald Trump is clearly a better candidate for these things.” 

Anonymous (YC ‘24)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Method of Voting: Early Voting

“The election should be clear cut, but at this point, it’s anyone’s game.

“Donald Trump’s economic, foreign, and defense policies have been great. He has made this country energy independent, and a larger oil exporter than Russia and Saudi Arabia. He has pulled our troops out of needless wars, and given the military the budget it needs. He has brought peace between Israel and its neighbors, doing the opposite of what foreign policy ‘experts’ have said for years.

“Joe Biden is forgetful (or a liar), a waffler, a career politician, (40+ years in the Senate and eight years in the White House), and he did not accomplish anything of what he proposed to do (just ask Bernie Sanders). He is a puppet for his party, unconcerned for the good of the country and the American People.

“I care about policies more than character. We barely know Biden’s policies, and what we do know is he is bad for our industry. (He is on record saying he will ban fracking.) Trump has four years of great economic growth behind him”

Anonymous (YC ‘22)

Party Affiliation: Independent 

Method of Voting: Mail in/Absentee Ballot 

“The presidential candidates are obviously a disappointing result of extreme party polarization, but more than that it reflects Chazal’s statement that a generation only gets the leader it deserves. It’s up to us to support moderate, smart, problem-solving voices.

“I voted for Trump. While we can widely agree that we don't like his personality, and I strongly disagree with certain policy decisions, particularly immigration, I think that Trump is villainized far more than he deserves. The vast majority of his policies, if seen from an objective standpoint, are hard to feel strongly against and often are very good. Partisan politics have made people much more passionate about the president than they should be; to love him and defend every one of his policies is just as foolish and close-minded as hating him and putting down every one of his policies. Overall, I think he’s the better candidate, and his track record of pro-Jewish and pro-Israel policy deserves bipartisan recognition.

“Biden is overall a decent person and is less polarizing than Trump. However, it is clearly evident that he is not as sharp as he once was and is being controlled by the Democratic party. I am not convinced they will not push through more radical policies under him that could be bad for America, and Jews in particular. While Biden may have a nicer personality, the important thing is policy, and his record does not inspire the same confidence Trump has.

“I care about all issues, but obviously issues that hit closer to home are a higher priority, as I believe they should be. In practice, this means I primarily care about Israel and the protection of religious freedoms. I fear that at this time, the Democratic party, which controls Biden, will not pursue policies that favor Israel and the Jews nearly to the extent that Trump has. However, my vote for Trump is not simply for what he will do in the future; it is a basic expression of hakarat hatov for what he has done in the past. Some may question whether hakarat hatov is an appropriate factor in choosing who to vote for, but considering that I don't live in a swing state and my vote doesn’t matter anyway, I think it is a nice token gesture and, in any case, I don’t feel Biden is a stronger candidate.”

Elazar Abrahams (YC ‘22)

Party Affiliation: Democrat 

Method of Voting: In person

“Trump was never a consideration for me. Joe Biden was not my first choice — far from it. But the more I see of the man, the more I actually hear him speak in full, the more I like him. He's a truly kind person, and represents the kind of leadership we so desperately need. I wish we had someone a lot younger though.

“I’m voting for Biden. As Vice President, he resurrected our economy after the 2008 crash and can do it again. Common sense gun control, addressing climate change, a federal response to COVID-19, protecting a woman’s right to choose, and attempting to repair America’s partisan divide are some of the reasons I’m voting for the Democratic ticket this year. Not being human garbage like our current president is also a huge plus!

“It has been heartbreaking to see much of the Orthodox community throw themselves at the feet of Donald Trump like a modern-day Egel Hazahav. Anti-Semitism and all forms of hate have increased in these last four years, as the worst of humanity feels emboldened by his vile remarks. President Trump is a menuval with no redeemable qualities. Some things transcend politics. Voting him out is one of them. I’m so happy that many of the conservative YU students I’ve spoken to feel the same way, choosing to either vote for a third-party candidate or support Biden even if they disagree with some of his stances.”

Anonymous (YC ‘23)

Party Affiliation: Libertarian

Method of Voting: Mail in/Absentee Ballot 

“I feel that both candidates are pretty underwhelming. On one hand, you have the incumbent, President Donald Trump, whose morals are greatly in question, and his IQ may be lower than a high schooler’s. On the other hand, you have Joe Biden, a classic politician and great guy. However, I am skeptical of his leadership and deference to the far left. 

“The political parties of said candidates show vastly different policies and opinions on a wide array of issues, including my most weighed issue, Israel foreign policy. I will be voting for President Trump. Although his methods are unorthodox, to be put gently, his administration has done more for Israel and this country than any other administration in my lifetime. Since there are issues bigger than all of us (Israel), I cannot push them aside just because he is immature and acts like a child. I have to take into account his administration's effectiveness and that propels me to vote for him. But, I’m not voting for him. I’m voting for his administration. 

“Joe Biden is a great candidate and would act with dignity and restraint when leading this great nation. However, I am a bit concerned by his own lack of confidence in his opinions. He is a classic politician; therefore, he plays the fence and the situation which removes himself from controversy. I’m a bit afraid he'll give in too easily to the radical left, which to me is infectious and terrible for society. I am nervous that the left would push him and this country into chaos. Some may call it irrational, but if the Democrats win the Senate, it could happen.

“The key issues for me are Israel, the economy, coronavirus and taxes. The Trump administration totally bungled the virus, but I believe the other three issues were better during the last three years. Although I did not pay any taxes, and the economy does not really affect me, it affects many around me and my family. Israel holds a very special place in my heart and it’s the most important to me. I believe that Trump has done more for Israel than his predecessor, and I want it to continue. He may not be traditional, but he’s effective, and that is what is causing me to vote for him.”

Editor's Note: There were many responses that were not included in the column. An overwhelming majority of the students — even those not included here — wrote that they were going to be voting for President Donald Trump. In a survey conducted by The Commentator, it was found that the student body supports Trump over Biden 60% to 23%. Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey! 

Photo Caption: Donald Trump and Joe Biden will face off in the 2020 presidential election.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons