Central students voting for the first time are not enamored by their choices or the political landscape.
The election is going on as we publish this, and the world is holding its breath. The political landscape this year is deeply polarized, with neither side willing to negotiate with the other. At the same time, it seems much of the electorate is left stranded between die-hard Trump fans and devoted Clinton supporters with no voice, leaving a large number of voters unsatisfied with their options. Some of our seniors are able to vote in this groundbreaking election, doing their part to make history in this tumultuous time, and their opinions mirror the general moods expressed by many in the general electorate.
To say there’s dissatisfaction among the youth with the proceedings this election season is an understatement. Many students are frustrated with the state of affairs, finding this election a complete violation of their freedom to choose the best possible candidate. “Honestly this election is kind of a joke. They’re giving us two awful candidates and are expecting us to make a decision,” says Wynter Miller. Clayton Eldridge agrees, saying, “As far as I’m concerned, the election is illegitimate, because one candidate is running illegally, and the other is not qualified to be president. It should be Bernie versus Trump.”
Most students seem to be stuck on the fence, not willing to commit to any one side, terrified of the consequences of either choice. “I don’t want to vote for anybody,” says Mallori Brennan. “You’re supposed to vote for the lesser of two evils here is how I see it, but I’m just upset because we had so many good choices, and who did we get? The spray tan and the felon.” Lexus Orozco mirrors this opinion, “I feel like I’m stuck in between a rock and a hard place, and I’d rather bash my head in than decide between the two.”
“The electoral college is an archaic system from a time when the majority of the American population was illiterate, but it’s no longer needed.”
So strong is the dissonance between the parties this season that the youth are repelled from proceedings, some even going so far as to call for a total redesign of the current election system. “I think we should have majority vote,” Matt Vidal says. “It should have been Al Gore’s Election in 2000. The electoral college is an archaic system from a time when the majority of the American population was illiterate, but it’s no longer needed because all Americans have access to information on the election. The American people are more informed now.” This sentiment is gaining ground both in private and public political circles, and to some, after an election as divisive as this one, it is common sense to expect radical change to our election system. Even if the electoral college’s days are numbered, it is doubtful that it will die so soon.
To some, the political landscape after this election is a more pressing matter than the election itself. “I think that in terms of presidential election, the winner of this election pales in comparison to the change that could occur in modern politics,” says Brennan Brink. “The Republican party could cease to exist and this election has brought political corruption into the eye of the public.” Again, after an election like this, the American public expects some changes to their political systems, if not to make the elections more reflective of the actual majority vote, then at least to ease tensions and make our choices more manageable when large elections like this year’s occur.
All in all, Central’s seniors are an accurate microcosm of the American electorate this election. The generalized dissatisfaction, fear of making a bad choice when neither choice seems good, and the desire to change a system that’s radically out of touch with its own electorate is a theme that is repeated in the wider political landscape all over America. Where this election takes us politically is yet to be seen, but hopefully we’ll look back at it to see it as just another election fraught with mudslinging and scandal.
Sage Preble is the Editor-in-Chief of the Pine Needle.
Photo: Vote by Theresa Thompson on Flickr