Why these Canadian kids are still talking about the U.S. election

CBC Kids News • Published 2020-11-23 10:08

U.S. politics full of 'adrenaline' says student

Are you still thinking and talking about the U.S. election, even though it happened more than two weeks ago?

If so, you’re not alone.

Students at a Grade 7 class at St. Michael Catholic School in Guelph, Ontario, can’t stop talking about it either.

“Our class all have different opinions,” said Sophia Steininger, 12, in an interview with CBC Kids News.

“One day we were just doing work and then we all started, like, debating who would win and who was better and stuff,” she said.

Now her teacher, Jennifer Karkut, has to put a pause on those debates so that students can get other work done.

Why are these kids so interested in an election that isn’t even in their own country?

U.S. politics is entertaining with lots at stake

For Stefan Maggiolo, 11, watching the debates “really gave me adrenaline.”

He said he loves the excitement and conversation around the U.S. election.

From left, Marley, Stefan and Sophia are curious to see ‘what Kamala Harris and Joe Biden have to come up with and offer,’ said Sophia. (Image submitted by Jennifer Karkut)

They have a lot of questions, too.

Those questions include what happens if Donald Trump doesn’t admit he lost, and whether mail-in ballots had an effect on the election results.

For Marley Sullivan, 12, as well as Sophia, seeing vice-president-elect Kamala Harris make history stood out.

“Kamala Harris showed us all that by believing in yourself anything is possible,” they said in a written reflection sent to CBC Kids News.

They’re inspired, but wonder if Trump will welcome her and president-elect Joe Biden into power.

Students in Jennifer Karkut’s class participated in debates about the U.S. election from behind these separators due to COVID-19. (Image submitted by Jennifer Karkut)

For Stefan, the debates were the most entertaining, but he says they might not always have been fair.

“I feel it was a little unfair because [Trump] couldn’t really talk. He got shushed a lot,” he said.

How do they feel about mail-in ballots?

A big topic of discussion in the group is mail-in ballots and voter fraud.

The trio has been watching Trump’s Twitter feed, where he claims the election was “rigged.”

So far, there is no evidence to back up his claim.

Stefan said he has “mixed feelings” about mail-in ballots and questioned if it was easy to cheat.

Mail-in voting is common in many democractic nations including Canada and there are systems in place to prevent cheating.

He also talked about seeing mail-in ballots thrown in the trash on the news and thinking it wasn’t fair, especially if those votes were for Donald Trump.

Stefan said he’s seen information like this, that appear to ballots in the garbage. This particular tweet went viral back in September and has since been proven false. The tweet has been deleted. (Image credit: ElijahShaffer/Twitter)

In response to the viral tweet that showed ballots in the garbage, the county responsible for the ballots tried to stop the spread of misinformation. (Image credit: CountyofSonoma/Twitter)

There’s been no proof of ballots being thrown out despite reports, but that hasn’t stopped photos and misinformation circulating online.

But Stefan still said enough is enough.

“I feel like Donald Trump should just let go. Just let Joe Biden be a leader,” he said.

Marley agreed.

“There has been no evidence with false counting and Joe Biden is the rightful winner,” she said.

But wait, what about Canadian politics?

For these kids, Canadian politics isn’t as entertaining.

When asked why, they said there wasn’t as much at stake here in Canada.

Marley and Sophia wrote a reflection on the U.S. election together. (Images submitted by Jennifer Karkut, graphic design by Philip Street/CBC) 

“I feel like it’s not nearly as exciting,” said Sophia “I paid no attention to [the most recent Canadian election], but this year I did pay a lot of attention because of the U.S. election.”

Stefan said he likes our current prime minister, Justin Trudeau, but prefers focusing on American politics.

Stefan also reflected on his thoughts about how exciting the election was. (Images submitted by Jennifer Karkut, graphic design by Philip Street/CBC) 

Predictions for the future?

The Grade 7 group will continue watching what happens, especially as Trump’s term as president ends in January 2021.

They aren’t sure if Trump will concede anytime soon.

Marley predicts Trump will keep making excuses not to leave the White House.

Sofia said Trump needs to accept the loss.

But Stefan said he thinks Trump will wait to concede until all his election lawsuits are done in court.

Although the next steps in the U.S. presidential election might be unclear, if one thing is for sure, this Grade 7 class will be watching to see how it all unfolds.

Jennifer Karkut's grade 7 class recently took part in a CBC Kids News in the Classroom tour. Want your class to have a virtual visit with a CBC Kids News producer? Check the link for future tour dates.

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