Election 2016 is in full swing upon us. Regardless of political affiliations, it has been fascinating to watch from any perspective. With a large pool of candidates that has dwindled down to a select few: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the frontrunners of the Democrats and Republicans, though Jill Stein and Gary Johnson remain as third-party candidates for the Green Party and Libertarian Party.
When Clinton and Trump first announced their candidacies, some people were unsure of what to think. “I didn’t have much attachment to one in particular,” says Alysa Cross, of the SMUMN Peace and Justice Club. “When it’s that early in the election cycle, I try to hear all of their platforms before making a decision.”
Joseph Kleve, of the SMUMN College Republicans, says that he was “somewhat skeptical.” The national atmosphere in this particular election has been somewhat tense. “I think in general people are afraid to voice their opinion on candidates, especially Trump supporters,” says Kleve. Cross adds, “It seems like the citizens of the United States feel like they are unsure about the two major party candidates…. There is still over a month until the election, so many voters have yet to get involved in the election process.”
Candidates on both sides of the two major parties have been criticized for past or current actions throughout the campaign. Cross wishes that the candidates would do less late-night comedy talk shows (both candidates have recently appeared on Jimmy Fallon, and both on the recent season of Saturday Night Live). “It gives me a sense that the campaign isn’t being taken seriously, which is frustrating to see,” says Cross. Kleve says, “I do however wish that there would be a little more censorship elephant-side, but I think we need someone in leadership who will not lie or sugarcoat it.”
For anyone out there who is on the fence about voting, Kleve and Cross agree that the best thing to do is research. “I think that voting is just one way to use our voices and advocate for what we want. The more involved we are in politics, the better we can understand what is happening within our government and what we can do to improve our country,” says Cross.
Kleve concurs. “If you’re on the fence about voting, educate yourself about the candidates. All it takes is a quick Google search and you can find the candidates’ policies on just about everything. Vote for someone who you believe will change this country for the better and make America great again.”
As college students – new, mid-degree, and soon-to-graduate – this election will be especially important, as many, if not all of us, will graduate within the next several years. The next president’s policies and cabinet will impact us, perhaps in the ways we live, think, educate ourselves, and so forth. Just think – by the time that many of this year’s incoming freshmen cross the stage at commencement and embark into the workforce, it will be election time again.