US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden start exchanging during the first presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29, 2020.
US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden start exchanging during the first presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29, 2020.
Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP/JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

A voter’s guide to the 2020 election

The Candidates

Joe Biden
Donald Trump
Kamala Harris
Mike Pence

The Conventions

The Republican National Convention


Many of the sentiments expressed in the Republican National Convention stand in stark contrast to past political conventions and elections. With a highly divided, bipartisan, political atmosphere, this year saw an abundance of cross-aisle attacks. Experts have alleged that while Americans have always had differences in opinion regarding politics, this year displays one of the worst and most drastic divides.

They have also explained that while America has never been entirely unified – in terms of political outlook – politicians have maintained a level of respect witnessed less in this election. For example, in 2008, John McCain, the Republican Presidential nominee, defended Democratic Presidential nominee (and future President), Barack Obama, from racist accusations at a rally.

“I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he is an Arab,” said a supporter. “No ma’am,” McCain responded. “He is a decent, family man, and citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is about.” This demonstration of unity and respect is seen less during this 2020 convention.

Night One

The Republican National Convention kicked off Monday, Aug. 24, with a speech from Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA. Kirk opened with a warning to the American people.

“This election is a decision between preserving America as we know it and eliminating everything we love,” Kirk said. He continued to defy Trump’s promise of a positive convention saying, “The American way of life is being dismantled by a group of bitter, deceitful, vengeful activists.”

RNC Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, carried this anti-democrat sentiment into her speech with a focus on challenging Joe Biden. “Unlike Joe Biden, President Trump did not choose me because I am a woman,” McDaniel said. “And ‘nice guys’ like Joe care more about other countries like Iran and China than The United States of America,” she concluded.

The night concluded with speeches from Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Donald Trump Junior. Trump Junior spoke exaggeratedly about the economy and then blamed the Chinese Communist party for the outbreak of COVID-19. “Then, courtesy of the Chinese Communist party, the virus struck,”

The Democratic National Convention


The 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC) kicked off Aug. 17 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, nominating Joe Biden for president with Kamala Harris as his running mate.

A four-day event, the DNC covered topics ranging from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to the current public health crisis the U.S. is facing. This year, due to the pandemic, the convention was held virtually and recorded from various venues across the nation.

The first night of the convention was themed “We the People,” and featured notable speakers such as Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama.

The event began with dozens of children from all over the country singing the national anthem together, dressed in red, white, and blue as a symbol of unity.

Following the patriotic opening to the convention, George Floyd’s brothers, Rodney and Philonese George gave a powerful speech on the BLM movement, listing the names of people who were shot and killed due to police brutality. They urged audience members to continue their fight for justice and never to stop saying the names of those who have passed. They finished by leading a moment of silence to honor the victims of police violence.

Night One

During Bernie Sanders’ speech, he spoke about the numerous issues that the U.S. is facing, including the economic collapse, climate change, and systemic racism.

“And in the midst of all of this, we have a president who is not only incapable of addressing these crises but is leading us down the path of authoritarianism,” Sanders said.

He continued to describe how this election is “the most important in the modern history of this country,” and implored all Democrats to vote Biden as he will “end the hate and division that Trump has created.”

Finally, he circled back to the issues he had discussed initially and stated that “the future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake. We must come together to defeat Donald Trump and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president.”

Sanders finished his speech with a powerful message to the Democratic party: “My friends, the price of failure is just too great to imagine.”

Next spoke Michelle Obama, delivering a passionate 18-minute long speech, endorsing Biden and describing why it is essential for the Democrats to vote Trump out of the white house.

The Debates

The Presidential Debate

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden faced off in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday in their first of three presidential debates ahead of the 2020 election.

Moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, the two candidates spent 90 minutes discussing eight topics: the appointment of the next Supreme Court justice, Obamacare, COVID-19, climate change, racism in America, law and order, foreign affairs, as well as the integrity of the election.

The first topic presented by the moderator, Wallace, was the candidates’ perspectives on Trump’s nomination for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, and the effect she would have on the court.

Given two minutes of uninterrupted speaking, Trump expressed that the Republican control of the Senate and the White House gave him the right to appoint Barrett to the Court before the election. He said Barett is a “phenomenal nominee […] respected by all, top academically, and good in every way” and that she would “be as good as anybody who has ever served on that Court.”

Biden detailed his opposition to Trump’s nomination, saying, “the American people have a right to have a say in who the Supreme Court nominee is. And that say occurs when they vote for senators and the president of the United States.” He elaborated, explaining that “We should wait and see what the outcome of this election is because that’s the only way the American people get to express their view.”

After a quarrel due to Trump’s frequent interruptions, Biden said, “[Amy Coney Barrett] thinks the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional” and that if appointed, “women’s rights will fundamentally change.”




The Vice-Presidential Debate

Following the Cleveland presidential debate, the vice-presidential candidates got a chance to take the stand on Wednesday night. Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, and President Donald Trump’s running mate, Michael “Mike” Pence, intensely debated what the U.S.’s future should look like.

From COVID-19 to the Supreme Court, this battle covered many essential topics and may indicate what is in store for the U.S. moving forward.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Vice President Mike Pence and vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris sat 12 feet apart, separated by two plexiglass barriers. Amidst fears concerning Pence’s contact with the infected president, the debate began with a question segment on the coronavirus.

Harris began, stating that the Trump administration “forfeited the right to reelection” based on its pandemic response.

“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” she said.

After Pence defended President Trump’s handling of the situation, Harris cited the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died because of the vice president and his response team.

“Whatever the vice president is claiming the administration has done, clearly it hasn’t worked,” she said. “When you are looking at over 210,000 dead bodies in our country, American lives that have been lost, families that are grieving that loss… the vice president is the head of the task force and knew on Jan. 28 how serious this was.”


About the Contributors
Ayal Meyers, Staff Writer & Editor
Ayal Meyers is a Senior at Carlmont High School who aspires to develop as a profile and political writer. In addition to Scotscoop, Ayal writes for All That's Lit to Print and Prep2prep. Moreover, Meyers is interning at an orthodontics clinic in Belmont while playing water polo, and running track. To see more of his work, visit his portfolio. Twitter: @ayalmeyers
Raina Lahiri, Staff Writer
Raina Lahiri is a junior and Highlander editor at Carlmont High School. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and spending time with friends and family. Twitter: @RainaLahiri
Calista Shohet, Staff Writer
Calista Shohet is a senior at Carlmont High School. This is her third year writing for Scot Scoop. She is very involved on the Carlmont campus and is president of Lunch Bunch, a club where people can make friends with their peers. Twitter: @CaliShohet
Jessica Conley, Staff Writer
Jessica Conley is a senior at Carlmont High School and enjoys creating cartoons and writing for Scot Scoop. She loves playing water polo and skiing. In addition to sports, she is actively involved in the community, participating in Belmont's Youth Advisory Committee and as Senior Patrol Leader of BSA Troop 301. To check out her portfolio, click here. Twitter: @jessicaconley_

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