Based on a political survey about the election conducted by the Los Medanos College Experience over the past few weeks, the verdict is clear — students aren’t happy with their choices. This attitude coincides with the overall theme of how most millennials have been reported to view this election nationwide since Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump officially became their respective party’s nominee in July.
“Either option is horrible,” said one student in the survey, who was not planning to register to vote in the upcoming November election. “It’s choosing between cancer and death.”
Other survey respondents, who also said they were not planning to register, cited the major-party candidates as the reason for their dismay as well.
“Either candidate will make America shitty,” observed another student. Other respondents commented: “The candidates, to me, do not represent my values,” “I hate our candidates,” and “There is no right choice for these elections.”
These comments represent the dominant theme of most of the responses given by the 115 LMC students surveyed between Oct. 10 and Nov. 2, most of whom fell in the millennial age range — 89 said they were younger than 26, 16 were between the age of 26 and 50, and 1 fell in the 50-64 age group.
Of those surveyed, 79 students said they were registered to vote, with 10 indicating they were planning to register in time to vote this November. Seventy-seven said they were actually planning to cast their ballots by Election Tuesday, with one maybe and two saying they would not be heading out to the polls.
And while Clinton was the leader, with 36 of those who were planning to vote saying she was their intended presidential pick, none seemed too enthusiastic about the choice.
Mia Warren, who volunteered to giver her name in the otherwise anonymous survey, said she was voting for Clinton, “though I really wanted Bernie.”
But Warren wasn’t the only one to express they felt some sort of trepidation with their intention to select Clinton on the Nov. 8 ballot.
“Sadly — very, very sadly — Hillary,” said one surveyee, with another calling Clinton “the lesser of two evils.” Another student agreed, indicating a probable vote for her — although it might change before election time — because Trump was just not an option.
And while 17 students said they were voting Trump — one of whom said “Clinton is scary” — most agreed neither candidate was the best option.
“I’m Republican, but I dislike Trump,” said one student who was not sure who to vote for when the time comes, while others said things like “both are not very good options,” “anyone but them” and “they both suck.”
Mattison Dellinger used commonly heard rhetoric to convey the point, which has been used repeatedly on the national stage.
“Hillary for prison. Take a dump on Trump,” said Dellinger, who is opting not to vote this time around.
Six students said they were unsure of who they were going to vote for — two said definitely not Trump — while three said they refused to vote for a major-party candidate and another three named third-party nominees. Jimmy Carter even got a mention.
The Clinton-Trump saga has been at the forefront of this election season, which became more saturated when they each clinched their party’s nominations, and, even when asked about their concerns or interests on local issues and elections, most of the students could not separate what is going on nationally with what is happening in their own backyards.
When surveyed about what types of politics and government they followed, students selected local 28 times and state 44 times, with national coming in at 69 and international at 29. But only 32 said they knew the names of nominees running for local or state offices, with 63 saying no. And, while 29 people were named, two national figures rounded out the top with one other being mentioned — Trump had 10 mentions, Clinton had 11 and Bernie Sanders came in with 1. The local candidates mentioned were Steve Barr, who is running for Contra Costa County supervisor, U.S. Senate contender Kamala Harris, and the U.S. representative incumbent for California’s 9th congressional district Jerry McNerney.
And, while 46 different issues or propositions were named when asked about what concerned or interested them most, students selected the next president as the third most mentioned coming in at five — taxation and medical/healthcare were third with eight mentions and educational issues were first with 10.
“I’m concerned with the possibility of Donald Trump becoming president,” said one student, while others said “not having Hillary or Trump win,” “not Donald Trump,” and “who will become our next president — a liar or a racist.”
One of the biggest issues in this election that voters have not been able to get past, especially millennials, is whether either candidate can be trusted with the powers that come with working in the Oval Office. The new Post-ABC News Tracking Poll released Nov. 2 has put Trump at 46 percent of likely voters citing him as the most trustworthy candidate, with Clinton trailing behind at 38 percent. Although Trump has an eight-point edge in this area over Clinton, both received what would be considered a failing grade — and students surveyed here on campus agree with the national averages. Forty-five percent of those who responded to the question indicated they saw neither candidate as trustworthy, but the survey also revealed students had a different view of the candidates individually than the national poll — 32 percent of those who responded to the survey question said Clinton was the more trustworthy candidate, while only 13 percent chose Trump.
“If I had to choose, Clinton but not by much,” said Stephanie Lutz, while another said Clinton was close enough of a trustworthy choice.
But, again, other comments reiterated the lack of excitement for the candidates chosen to compete to represent us for the next few years, including: pleading the fifth, it’s like picking your poison and the question was funny. And the first presidential debate didn’t seem to help these lackluster views improve, it only demonstrated the polarized hatred for one candidate or the other, with responses like “Hillary needs to be arrested” and “Trump has very many things wrong with him.” And they were also both described as “clowns” and “pieces of shit.”
Of the 54 students who said they watched the first nationally-televised presidential debate between Trump and Clinton, only 25 said it had influenced their views of the candidates.
“It did, I felt like it showed more fault within Donald Trump and showed some change policies with Clinton,” Stephanie Lutz.
Warren echoed her sentiments.
“Yes, though I don’t particularly like Hillary, I admired how she stuck to her guns and didn’t let the puckered asshole push her around,” said Warren.
But 39 of the students said it didn’t have an effect on them.
“Just showed the residing prejudice and ignorance our country upholds,” said one student, while Andrew Gonzalez said, “There was no chance I would vote for Trump, regardless.”
Next Tuesday will bring this contentious and emotionally‑charged race to an end, and now all we can do is wait.