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Opinion: Things to remember for the upcoming 2020 election

Alex Toth, Co Editor In-Chief

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It might seem like a ways away, but the 2020 presidential election is quickly starting to gain serious candidates, and like any election, there are a lot to choose from. Sitting president Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, as presidential incumbents are rarely challenged, but if you’re a Democrat looking for someone to support, it might seem like a daunting task with the–at the moment–18 candidates.

Maybe most importantly of all is to not let social media influence your decision too much. Twitter and Instagram may be a good place to find potential candidates, but they’re definitely not the place to get all your information about them. Generally, social media is a shallow environment for political discourse, and it seems that only the more extreme points of view get any kind of attention.

Potential candidate Andrew Yang gained most of his following from Twitter with the #YangGang hashtag and a slew of other memes, but any useful information about the platform Yang is running on can’t be found within 280 characters. More research is necessary to fully understand any given candidate; you can’t just look at who’s trending or who’s cool at the moment and decide to back them. To do so would be a disservice to your integrity as a voter.

At this point you may be asking, where can I get reliable information about any given candidate? And there’s not always a consistent answer to that question, but typically a candidate’s website outlines their specific beliefs and platform that they’re running on. Take any outside information with a grain of salt, but that isn’t to say outside information isn’t useful.

Finding unbiased news outlets and filtering through information that way is a good method to get information you couldn’t from the candidate themselves. This can be a difficult task due to the internet’s knack for having tens of thousands of sites to choose from, but doing the work to find a good source is worth it.

I personally am a fan of Associated Press and NPR, which are about as unbiased as you can get in the in the internet politisphere (if you want a chart of how larger news organizations sway politically visit the Media Bias Chart). Both of these organizations provide topical world and national news that caters to a large audience, not just a niche interest group or specific party, which makes them both refreshing options.

Talking to friends and family is always a great option, not only to learn, but also to get different perspectives on different candidates. Everyone has a different opinion, so hearing people out in an open way is one way to develop your own beliefs. While you shouldn’t take everything others say as fact, discussion and even debate (if you want to go that far with it) can help you balance your own set of beliefs through civil discourse and disagreement.

For a full list and short descriptions of candidates visit The New York Times list.

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Opinion: Things to remember for the upcoming 2020 election