Stuart Baum (22), a Democrat from Detroit, MI, attended Jewish day school growing up and is a recent graduate of Wayne State University where he served as student government president. Baum is an intern in the Michigan state legislature, where he serves as a community liaison, connecting residents’ concerns with legislative priorities. He is also working at the Brennan Center for Justice on advancing and protecting voting rights. As a member of the LGBTQ community, he would like to see more attention paid to gay rights in the presidential campaign.
We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
What do you think about the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic?
The federal response has been woefully inadequate so far. From denying the problem and calling it a hoax, to putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of it and failing to listen to the guidance of public health professionals, the administration’s handling of this has put lives at risk.
What do you think about the response in your state/community?
My state was proactive in handling this and has taken appropriate measures as informed by public health professionals to mitigate the spread of the virus. My university has also been forthcoming in this regard.
Has the threat from the virus been overblown?
No, the threat has not been overblown. Appropriate measures must be taken to curtail the spread of this pandemic, as it really does pose a risk to the most vulnerable members of our population.
Are people taking the threat from the virus seriously enough?
I don’t think it was taken seriously enough, at least initially. Now it seems like that is beginning to change. However, many of my peers [college-age] are failing to take the threat seriously and respect the guidelines informed by public health experts.
What measures have you taken in your own life to protect yourself and others from the virus?
I have begun to stay at home to the greatest extent possible, and practice social distancing.
During the most recent debate, who do you think was strongest in responding to questions about the pandemic —Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders? Who do you think won the debate?
I think that both candidates responded equally well to questions on the pandemic. I think that Bernie may have just barely won the debate with the way in which he exposed Biden for his lack of support for social security.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I worked the polls during the Michigan primary and many voters expressed concern about the virus. The city gave us wipes to help alleviate some of those concerns. This was before the virus had really begun to spread within the state though.