Build-A-President: policies, personalities and politics

Illustration by Myah Anglin | The Signal

Although there is no such thing as a perfect world with a perfect president, it is nice to dream about it, one where a president would go to bat against some of the most pressing issues for students.

As voters cast ballots for their preferred candidate, Georgia State students create their ideal presidential candidate. From looks to personality and policies, students piece together which traits would make their ideal president.

When considering what qualities make a well-rounded president, a few primary attributes come to mind: honesty, knowledge, accountability and education. These traits join together to play a significant role in how someone could potentially run a nation. 

Relatable and Understanding

A central characteristic that students wish to see in a presidential candidate is the ability to relate to the general public. Having a relatable and politically aware president allows voters and supporters to feel confident about who they are putting in office.

Senior Kayla Waldron envisions a relatable president who always has the citizens’ best interests in mind. To her, a successful nation has a president with a solid plan of action, along with means of execution. 

She wants a responsive, youthful president who cares about the same things she does, such as free healthcare, equal rights and free college.

“Ideally, having a background in politics would be preferred,” Waldron said.“Even though I know the idea of a president being radical is contradictory, I want them to be just as passionate as I am about certain issues in the world.”

 She continued to describe some of the goals and issues she wanted other politicians to address such as LGBTQ+ rights and reparations. Only then would Waldron consider a candidate to be worth her vote.

Sophomore Brianna Ferguson described her ideal president as one with similar hopes of understanding and respect. She wishes to elect a president with life experiences similar to the average citizen.

“More often than not, the president makes decisions that affect those they cannot relate to, so it is important to have a president who isn’t so far removed from society that we question whether or not we’re experiencing the same reality,” Ferguson said. “I also want a person of color because then we would have a chance of seeing equal opportunities for everyone.”

Junior Joanna John aligns with Ferguson’s ideals and believes a president from a similar economic background would be more understanding of the common issues citizens face on a daily basis. To efficiently lead a nation and its people, it takes more than an upper-class tax bracket and generational wealth.

“As far as policies go, I think I would like someone that focuses mainly on reversing the damaging effects of climate change and trying to fix the ongoing homelessness epidemic in America,” John said. “These are both very important things that affect our daily lives but are often swept under the rug and never dealt with in a timely fashion or at all.”

John likened her ideal candidate to presidential candidate Andrew Yang and U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She believes both of these political figures have the drive to fully serve their communities and a passion for creating a better future for all.

Policies and Politics

Other students focus more on the presidential candidate’s policies instead of other outside factors. For those who live in the states or have family overseas, choosing a president who supports the right causes can make or break someone’s vote. 

Those with families in foreign countries are not awarded the luxury of looking at just one side of a president. Each part of a policy can have a great effect on both parties and both ends of the world.

For students like junior Noor Salameh, she often feels torn when it comes to politics as her home is here in the United States, but her second home with the rest of her family is in Jordan.

Considering presidential qualities on a deeper level, Salameh is more concerned with policy than personality traits. Being that Salameh and her family is from the Middle East, it is hard for her to agree with a president’s beliefs, let alone vote for one. Some policies may be reasonable within the U.S. but could create foreign affairs conflicts, which concerns Salameh.

“Having a president that can change with the times and understand that the world they [grew up] in isn’t exactly the same world they are the president [of] is crucial,” Salameh said. “I have to think of both my home here and overseas, so that’s why it is so hard for me to vote sometimes because a president has always had a very good domestic policy but a horrible foreign policy.”

Understanding foreign policy is essential because it can unknowingly tear families and nations apart. Although this is out of one citizen’s control, it is still important to recognize.

Junior Nicholas Perry pictures his ideal president as a mix between Bernie Sanders and Malcolm X. These figures are well known for their unique approaches and contributions to the civil rights era.

“Hypothetically speaking, I would want my ideal president to be someone who is honest, yet passionate about the policies and political issues they stand behind,” Perry said. “We are often let down by politicians who fill our heads up with empty promises with no means to fulfill them.” 

One of the voter’s primary duties is to stay informed about candidates’ agendas, both past and present.

Education and Empathy

Education and compassion play significant roles in being a good president. Voters trust their ideal candidate to have a strong understanding of what they are promoting.

In addition to viewing good policy as the main focus of a president, some are more concerned with the politicians’ educational and political transcript. Although it might be useful to have a president who looks like them, sophomore Saeteay Moore believes it’s best to have a president with a sound understanding of the policies and politics they propose.

Most students believe having a well-educated candidate will lead to a more successful presidency. Taking this into consideration, Moore envisions an empathetic and honest president to fulfill the role properly.

“If you’re going for the highest power in an organization, you must have the background to do it efficiently,” Moore said. “Their history in politics can predict what they can and would do as president.”

Sophomore Oluwadamilola Fakoya believes there is no room for playing around as president. Politicians must always have a plan and a reliable solution for everything since citizens trust them with their money, education and livelihood.

“Taking into account our current president, he doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Fakoya said. “He thinks that this position is all fun and games. Now, look at where it has got us.”

Fakoya expresses her desire to have an educated president who is motivated to make a change in the world. 

“I want a president that is well-educated on all topics and moves towards a solution that works for everyone’s good and well-being, such as providing universal health care instead of favoring the upper class over any other class,” she said.

Treating politics like a walk in the park is not encouraged on either side of the aisle. Every decision, policy and compromise made as president can leave a mark on a nation that will last for years.

Although this election and its candidates may not be perfect, it does not hurt to hope and wish for a brighter future for the nation. 

“These qualities are important because they are an important part of leadership. Because if you wish to lead a group to influence some change, that group needs to feel sure about who they’re following,” Moore said. “If you’re going to be selling the ‘American Dream,’ they need to be willing to live up to it and fight against injustice and inequality for all.”