Newman’s Town Hall and the Election of 2020

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On October 27th, Mrs. Vogt hosted a Town Hall meeting in the Krohn Foyer with the different political clubs here at Newman leading the discussion. The political clubs who presented their parties ideas included the Young Republicans (Hale Martin and Emmett Paton), Young Democrats (CiCi Hardin and David Luongo), and the Young Socialists (Andrew Herman and Charlie Walner). The key issues that were discussed included the recent COVID-19 pandemic, gun regulation, and climate change .

The first topic that was discussed was the pandemic. The Young Republicans spoke first and aligned themselves with the current Trump administrations beliefs. They stated that the current administration efforts are performing well in this current climate. Additionally, they mentioned the herd immunity tactic of Trump’s was making a significance. In the spirit of fact checking town halls and debates, the claim that “herd immunity is effective” is inherently false. According to the Infectious Disease Society of America herd immunity is “not an answer to the pandemic” due to the fact the high infection rates of the virus. Additionally, the antibodies needed for herd immunity do not apply to COVID-19 because studies show that the COVID antibodies only last for approximately five months. The Young Democrats responded to the Young Republicans claims stating that the current administration has not shown strong leadership during this pandemic. Additionally, they cited Joe Biden’s plan as a potential remedy to reverse the darkness of the pandemic. Joe Biden’s plan is currently on his campaign website underneath “Joe and Kamala’s Plan to Beat COVID-19”. There the Democratic nominees stated that they would fix Trump’s “testing fiasco”, create a Pandemic Testing Board, and fully use the Defense Production Act in order to increase the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE). When reflecting on their party’s opinions on the current situation the Young Socialists aligned themselves with the Young Democrats due to the fact they do not have a presidential candidate on the ticket this year, and the majority of socialists like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont aligned themselves with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Moving on from the novel coronavirus pandemic, the next topic up for discussion was the issue of gun regulation. Gun violence is an issue that haunts the United States of America today. The most deadly shootings have occurred this past decade. Some of these tragic events include the shooting of Stoneman Douglas High School (2/14/18) and the 2017 Route 91 Las Vegas Shooting (10/1/17). The Young Democrats and Socialists had almost the same exact approach when it came to gun regulation. Citing that universal background checks could make a significant difference at lowering the amount of lives lost to gun violence. Furthermore the Young Democrats briefly mentioned Biden and Harris’s plan to help regulate this kind of violence. More information about their plan can also be found on their campaign website. They explain on their site that they would require background checks for all gun sales due to the fact that nearly 1.5 million guns are sold without background checks. Additionally, the hopeful candidates vow to hold the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other lobbying groups accountable. The Young Republicans replied to the other group’s response stating that the second amendment was under attack by the “left” and the “Democrats” and that these people would take away people’s right to own guns. When further pressed on what purpose it serves today, the Young Republicans replied that the United States could potentially be under attack by future tyrannical governments. Additionally, the militias that would need to be present to protect civilians from these said attacks would need access to the kind of assault rifles that have taken over 40,000 American lives each year.

The last topic that was up for discussion in the town was climate change. Many scientists and experts claim that climate change is an existential threat. The Young Republicans stated that in their opinion that climate change was not urgent. They further continued to state that Americans should not have to “abandon” the economy and transition to “unreliable sources of energy”. On the other hand, the Young Socialists referred to NY-14 House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey’s Green New Deal. The Green New Deal encourages the United States to begin the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Additionally, the Green New Deal has the potential of new additions to the job market. Many Republicans dismiss this New Deal and cite it as a “socialist take over”, when in fact nothing in this Green New Deal creates new laws in the government. In addition to the discussion of climate change, the Young Democrats explained the urgency of rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement that the current Trump administration withdrew the United States from. Being isolated from the Paris Climate Agreement crumbles many of the United State’s alliances with other globally admired countries.

As the election results roll in, the United States and its citizens soon will have spoken for which candidate they want to represent the United States on a global level. These are just some of the key issues that voters decided on in this 2020 election. Additionally, many thanks to Mrs. Vogt for organizing the town hall and the political club representatives who lead the discussions.