The 2020 primaries are slowly creeping up on us as the presidential election inches closer and closer.
Candidates have been traveling from state to state hosting meet and greets, rallies, visiting college campuses and making their rounds on social media in this evolving digital era.
Florida A&M University students seem to be passionate about issues they want to see resolved by the nation’s next leader, but have the students done their research on the candidates?
There are currently 18 candidates in the running with 15 Democrats and 3 Republican candidates, including brash stand-out and current president, Donald Trump.
The country’s biggest concern across the board regardless of party is health care, which is what Quya Thomas cares about the most.
Five FAMU students with different genders, ethnicities, majors and home towns named issues like police brutality, education, health care, student loans and more that they would like to see the next president identify as top priorities.
Thomas, a sophomore nursing student, typically leans toward the Democratic Party, but for this election, she said it depends on the candidate. She said she doubts if she will vote.
Young black voters seem to be straying away from the tradition of assumed Democratic leaning and are more open to other parties and ideas during this election.
Thomas said the party doesn’t make a difference because neither may be able to solve the issues she cares about the most. She referenced the last election as an example.
“Like when it was Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, it seemed like all Trump cared about was money and Clinton didn’t seem like she was actually going to help,” Thomas said.
She hasn’t figured out which candidate could tackle this issue to gain her vote.
“I mainly care about health care because my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she doesn’t really have health care so she has to pay out of pocket for treatment. So if a candidate could provide us with health care, then that’d be great,” Thomas said.
According to Politico’s Voter’s Guide, some Democratic candidates want citizens to cover some of the costs of their medical bills, but Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want to create a plan for full coverage for dental, vision, abortion and long-term care services.
Christian Miley, a sophomore accounting student, doesn’t identify with either party. In fact, he said his views are swaying at the moment.
“I understand that each party has their pros and cons. I developed my own independent thinking, so I just go with the individual candidates’ ideology,” Miley said.
Miley’s biggest concerns are police brutality and immigration.
“First and foremost, I fall into that category [police brutality]. I could be the next victim. Police brutality could put me on the next front page, being a young black male,” Miley said.
Drop-out candidates Kamala Harris and Bill De Blasio have both faced severe criticism for their past involvement with law enforcement.
Miley also cares about immigration reform and policies that the next president will bring to the table.
“I also really care about immigration as well because I’m Jamaican. That hits really close to home for me because it’s just not Mexicans —it’s everybody from South American, the islands, Europe and even Asia. Some of my family has immigrated as well and their lives could be in jeopardy as well,” Miley said.
But Miley said that he hasn’t been keeping up with the race. He’s not familiar with any of the candidates, he said.
Former vice president and Democratic candidate Joe Biden is currently in the lead for the Democratic nomination with 43 percent of the black vote. His chief opponent, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, is a far second choice with 20 percent, according to a study by Quinnipiac.
FAMU students don’t seem to understand how important it is to know the candidates across the board and whose policies and beliefs they most align with.