Amid the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, it’s easy to forget that we are in the middle of an election year. It looks as if we may have to choose between the re-election of President Trump and the likely Democratic nominee Former-Vice-President Joe Biden. This race could have lasting implications for the future of our country as well as the nature of healthcare. Over the past few days, we’ve asked nurses for their choice in the upcoming election.
The Results Are In
Here at Scrubs Mag, we used our Facebook page “Funny Nurses” to conduct a poll for the 2020 Presidential election. The poll asked users for whom they plan on voting come November. It went out to nearly 2 million fans of the page and we got a whopping 20,000 responses. The results show:
- 41% plan on voting for President Trump
- 59% plan on voting for Former-VP Joe Biden
A lot can change between now and November. It’s also not clear how we will vote later this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many states are looking to ramp up mail-in voting instead of having voters cast their ballots in person, but it’s not clear if everyone will get the chance to use this option.
The poll got over a thousand comments, and nurses weren’t shy when it came to expressing their opinions. Lots of users said they would vote for anyone other than President Trump, while others were quick to voice their support for the current president. Others accused Trump supporters of condoning and contributing to racial inequality across the country.
Clearly, we are in for a contentious election year.
Nurses at the Ballot Box
Nurses have long wielded significant political power in this country. They make up one of the largest workforces in the country, with 3.8 million RNs across the U.S. The industry also adds around 200,000 new registered nurse positions every year. If we recall the 2016 presidential election, President Trump won several states in the Midwest by just tens of thousands of votes. Nurses could easily sway the election if they unify their efforts.
Nurses and healthcare providers regularly meet with elected officials and policymakers to discuss healthcare topics, such as the need for PPE, staff-patient ratios, and dozens of other issues that can affect your life and career. As a nurse, you can use your profession to advocate for your facility, colleagues, and the overall health and wellbeing of your patients. If you’re new to politics, use The ABCs of Lobbying from the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing to contact your local representative.
2020 and Beyond
Healthcare remains a pressing issue in this year’s election. The coronavirus has forced the country to rethink its approach to public health. Many states will need additional funds from the federal government to keep their workers safe on the job as new sectors of the economy continue to reopen. Clear federal health guidelines could also alter the country’s response to the pandemic going forward. So far, President Trump has largely left the response up to the states. Counties and states continue to open up at their own pace, even as infections continue to rise.
The 2020 election will likely be a check on President Trump’s performance. If people feel the president has done a good job responding to the coronavirus pandemic, they will likely cast their ballot in his favor; if voters feel government leadership has been lacking, this is their chance to vote against Trump.
The president has repeated several mistruths throughout the pandemic, such as insisting that everyone can get a test if they want one, drinking or injecting bleach may help prevent infection, and touting hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment method. These are the kinds of headlines that keep nurses up at night. Many nurses have had to correct this information as they consult with their patients.
New polls suggest the president has taken a hit in recent weeks in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests. Several tweets from the president have been met with sharp criticism, such as, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which was widely interpreted as a threat to protesters. He also urged city mayors and state governors to “take back” their cities from protesters, which goes against our history of peaceful protest.
Between the protests and the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has been a year unlike any other. Many of us feel as if we are being pulled in different directions at once as we respond to what’s happening in the news. Keeping up with politics may seem like a fool’s errand in the current moment. Regardless of what political party you call home, everyone should cast a ballot this November.
We all have a duty to vote under the U.S. Constitution. These can be scary times for everyone, but the only way forward is to stay informed and vote with your head.
Nurses Vote 2020 is a new initiative from the American Nurses Association that’s designed to keep nurses in the know when it comes to politics. The website is full of helpful information on the latest candidates, as well as the issues that impact nurses directly. Use this site to stay politically engaged during the election, so you can vote for the candidate that shares your legislative priorities.