What are the most important issues of the presidential race? Readers respond.

Photo by Dyana Wing So on Unsplash.

America asked readers of its daily email newsletter to rank the issues important to them in the upcoming election and to explain their answers. Here is a curated selection of their responses.


The Five Most Important Issues in the 2020 election, as ranked by respondents:

  1. Response to the coronavirus pandemic
  2. Health care
  3. Race relations
  4. Respect for democratic norms and institutions
  5. Immigration

If the coronavirus doesn’t get controlled, none of the other issues will matter. There will be no way to get an education on all levels, race relations will be handled in the streets, no one will have adequate health care, etc. What matters the most to me is getting a president who understands the Constitution, his job and is a morally decent person.

—Nancy Hughey
Wichita, Kan.

If we don’t take care of reconciling the “Two Americas” through racial healing and addressing economic disparities, we will not survive as a nation nor have the will or resources to take on our other challenges.

—Charles Milteer
Greenville, S.C.

One of the things I find most frustrating in national politics is the failure to recognize abortion’s interconnectedness with other issues. I believe that it is more important to eliminate abortion than to ban it, but in the zeal to make it illegal, we have abdicated responsibility for the reform and renewal of our health care system (or access to health care). I’m tired of the false dichotomies that plague the Catholic vote.

—Tracy Keeter
Broken Arrow, Okla.

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There is no greater violence than abortion. To me, it is astounding that many seem to miss the connection between the violence of abortion and all the other violence that prevails in our world. If we are to become a nonviolent people, we cannot succeed by trying to wipe out violence in some areas and accepting it in others.

—Jan Sullivan
Allegany, N.Y.

I indicated that abortion is “very important”; and because of that I will be looking at policies that not only protect the unborn but reduce the need to even consider abortion. These include immigration, poverty, health care, paid parental leave, race relations, sexual assault and treatment of women.

—Katie Herzing
Charlotte, N.C.

Without keeping the democratic norms, getting rid of corruption and equal rights for all, we risk becoming one of the many other nondemocratic struggling world entities.

—Jenni Roeber
Montrose, Colo.

I feel that the rampant corruption in the Trump administration and Donald Trump’s aberrant personality pose real and present existential threats to our democracy. His defeat in November is critical for the renewal of respect and trust between parties and for the healing of this nation. Sadly, these goals will undoubtedly take time to achieve. No doubt, Trump certainly ripped the scab off some truly ugly facets of our society that had been kept in check by a sense of propriety, social pressure and a relatively shared national moral compass. Under Trump, however, propriety flew out the window with his name-calling, followed by his abject cruelty, overt racism, xenophobia and misogyny.

—Cynthia Poire Mathews
Campton, N.H.

Race relations is high on my list because it includes the distribution of wealth in the country along with gun control, prison reform and the issue of the treatment of immigrants. It is one central issue that influences a number of other controversial issues as well.

—Anne Bracchi
Lady Lake, Fla.

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