And they’re off! The 2016 race to be the next leader of the greatest country in the world has begun. Got Democrats to the left and Republicans to the right. Regardless of affiliation, these candidates are eager to say the right thing in order to get votes.
There is one candidate that has stolen the spotlight. His name, as you might already know, is Donald Trump.
It seems as though there is a new headline about him every day. Trump offended women by saying this; Trump offended this racial group by saying that, and so on. One of Trump’s biggest advantages is that he constantly receives attention from the press. No matter if it’s good coverage or bad coverage, Trump continues to have his name plastered all over the media, making him the most well known candidate across the states.
If it’s bad news he’s in, Trump sure knows how to bring even more attention out of the situation. He regularly uses Twitter to call out companies such as Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, and more for their negative attitudes toward his campaign.
He even attacks individual reporters. Megyn Kelly’s name has frequently made an appearance on Trump’s twitter feed. His most recent tweet about Kelly, “Why does @megynkelly devote so much time on her shows to me, almost always negative? Without me her ratings would tank. Get a life Megyn!” Trump loves to credit himself for bringing fame to Kelly.
So what do college educated students think of the race and Donald Trump?
After the first republican debate, I over heard two male students, clad in their fraternity letters, in my international relations class talking about their reactions. One of the students praised Trump for his idea of building a wall, to keep “them” out. The other student strongly agreed. This statement caught me off guard because I’ve always thought of SCU as an accepting environment. It was reassuring to know that fellow students were taking time to watch the debate, but not so great to hear immigrants being referred to as “them.”
But of course, not everyone at Santa Clara agrees with Trump.
“Honestly, I’m nervous. I think Donald Trump is a joke. I think a lot of students who agree with what Trump is saying don’t necessarily understand the consequences of his policies, but again I don’t know if that’s applicable to the majority,” Explained Lidia Diaz Fong, junior Political Science major at Santa Clara.
Everyone can voice their opinions on Trump and the other candidates, but student turnout on Election Day is what really matters when it comes to choosing the next president.
Recently, there has been an increase in criticizing younger generations on their voter turnouts. In 2014, youth voter turnout fell to its lowest level on record. Just 19.9 percent of 18- to 29-year-old citizens cast ballots last fall, compared with an average of 26.6 percent for the same age range in other midterm elections over the previous 40 years, showed a study released by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.
The election is associated with many issues that are salient to the younger voters, including lowering the price of college, legalizing marijuana, gun control, and a women’s right to choose. Hopefully, these issues will be enough to get the younger generations to the voting booths.
Voting is something we as American citizens take for granted. We haven’t lived in a time where voting was a privilege. America prides itself on the freedoms of democracy. If we feel that the right to elect our government is important, why don’t college students choose to vote?
I asked a few students their opinions about voting in the 2016 election. One senior said, “yes I’m registered to vote but, I don’t know if I’ll actually vote in this election because personally I think politics is a lot of talk and no action,” expressing his frustration with politics in the United States.
Finding the time to actually make it to the voting stations is another reason for inadequate youth participation. Students have class, work, papers, and midterms packed into their tight schedules. Making time in these strict schedules isn’t easy. Emily Takimoto, junior engineer student, expressed that, “I want to vote, but it’s matter of if I find the time to do so on Election Day.”
The youth participation in this election is vital. We are electing the individual who is going to be calling the shots on the issues that we care about. These decisions that the next president makes are going to be affecting our generation for the next four years. If we want to have a say, and have our voices heard, we need to do make an effort to increase the youth presence at voting stations everywhere.
Get educated, get registered, and get out and vote (for anyone who’s name is not Donald Trump.)
Photo courtesy of NBC