Today’s news cycle mirrors that of the ’80s, when America was running undisputed as the “biggest police state” in the world, and we’re just two weeks away from the election that will dictate what life in the U.S. will look like for the next four years.
In 2016, minorities made up 34% of all nonvoters. As confused citizens began to dig into the WTF-ness of Donald Trump winning without the popular vote, we learned Russian-led operations on social media were used as a long-range chess game to influence the American elections. University of Pennsylvania professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson told the New Yorker that the country “persuaded enough people to either vote a certain way or not vote at all.” Ultimately, the magazine wrote, these strategies amounted to a “technological and political coup.” Voting indifference hurt the elections more than deep-rooted anger from either side. This is why being heard at the ballot box matters possibly more in this moment than any other time in the history of the country.
At the same time, 2020 has been nothing if not disturbing. It feels like every month or so, news—and, increasingly, footage—of yet another death cycles through our timelines, turning another American into a hashtag and symbol of police brutality resulting in peaceful demonstrations. Still, nonviolent protesters are often caught between militarized police forces and masked agitators seeking to provoke police responses, only igniting more chaos.
Sprinkle in the COVID-19 pandemic, and living has become even more stressful.
After the police killing of George Floyd, the children who grew up during the so-called “post-racial America” took to the streets. The killing of Breonna Taylor only added more emotional fuel to the fire raging inside of so many seeking justice, and here we stand at an impasse. American democracy remains divided, and the stakes are high.
With those stakes—and the next four years—in mind, and with November 3 approaching, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the leading presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and where they stand on America’s most pressing issues.