By Ava F. Hall
The 2016 presidential election is just weeks away, and the students and staff of Novato High have plenty of opinions on the presidential candidates. This showdown will feature Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, two bitter rivals.
The campaigns for both candidates have been ongoing since late spring, and the media coverage of the election has provided us with a window into the craziness of the battle. The latest debate delivered insight into both of the candidate's policies, strategies, and their resilience under pressure.
This debate was one of many sources that could influence voters. News channels like CNN or MSNBC and newspapers across the United States give details and interviews, providing quality, possibly unbiased reporting.
People often influence other people’s opinions, and simply walking around Novato High you can find many different beliefs about the election.
You have probably seen the boy who wears the “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” baseball cap around campus. Maybe you thought he was joking, even mocking Trump supporters; but that is not the case at all.
“I fully support Trump,” sophomore David Raiger said. “Trump’s actually gonna take a stand and say what he’s going to say.”
Raiger was clear in his distrust of Donald Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, and also voiced his disappointment in current president Barack Obama.
He clearly stated his disgust that Clinton did not go to jail for having classified emails on her public server. “It would have a been a whole national crisis if, you know, the emails were a thing,” said Raiger.
As many Trump supporters voice their negative opinions of Hillary Clinton, many Marin County residents are doing the same to Trump.
Marin is an overwhelmingly Democratic county, and has continuously voted for Democratic candidates since 1972 (Wikipedia). Therefore, Novato High would be expected to have a fair amount of staunch Clinton supporters. The high school lives up to the expectation.
“More people support Hillary [on campus] because they have no choice,” said sophomore Melina Paisley. “She is the lesser of two evils. She’s not fantastic, but she’s definitely better than the alternative.”
Hillary’s support in our home state stems from her very liberal policies in a very liberal California. She believes in debt-free college, banning major assault weapons, and focusing on climate change, among other ideals, according to her website.
“She’ll be able to continue Obama’s legacy in a way, but she’ll also be able to introduce her own policies,” said Paisley.
Hillary’s support also comes from from a national boycott of Trump. #NeverTrump continues to be a trending hashtag on Twitter, and Trump remains a constant source for memes and mockery.
In addition, Paisley mourned the end of the Bernie Sanders campaign. “Everybody in California really, really liked Bernie, and now he’s gone. Now everybody is sad,” said Paisley.
Sanders suspended his campaign in July, and many of his supporters were left with no direction.
The Libertarian candidate provided those wanderers with a map.
“Because of our economic conditions and our social conditions, I think that a libertarian would be best suited for now,” said Emily Yamaguchi, a senior at Novato High.
The libertarian presidential candidate this election year is Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico. As a libertarian, Johnson would have government play a minimal role in everything.
“He believes in free trade, which is little government control over economics,” said Yamaguchi.
Johnson came under fire recently for his ignorance on foreign policy. On MSNBC, when asked about the Syrian city Aleppo, Johnson had to ask, “and what is Aleppo?”
On a recent CNN Town Hall, when asked about his favorite foreign leader, Johnson could not name a president or prime minister until his running mate, Bill Weld, hastily gave him some names.
“He doesn’t know a lot about foreign policy but the other major party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they're really untrustworthy and they are pretty outright ridiculous,” said Yamaguchi.
Faced with unpopular and unfavorable candidates, voters can turn to the third party libertarian candidate.
However, undecided voters discovered there is a fourth path this election. Unfortunately, it’s the path to nowhere.
“I don’t think that either of them [Trump and Hillary] particularly well represent who or what I would want to vote for,” said Dany Kambur, AP Human Geography teacher. Kambur has decided he is not voting for any candidate. He is unhappy with Trump’s nationalistic and racist persona; whereas Hillary has too many ties with big banks and Obama, who is a “diet George Bush,” according to Kambur.
Many people in this nation share Kambur’s views on the presidential election. In fact, a Washington Post poll reports that Clinton has an unpopularity rate of 56%, while Trump has a rate of 63%. This is the highest unpopularity rate for any candidates recorded in U.S. history. As a result, many people won’t be casting ballots on Super Tuesday.
President Barack Obama opposes this.
“If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump,” Obama said on The Steve Harvey Morning Show.
However, Kambur says he and California should not be affected by Obama’s comments. “It doesn’t matter if I get everyone in Novato to vote for a different candidate or not vote at all, California is going to be a blue state,” said Kambur. “In essence, my vote doesn’t matter.”
Swing states like Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Florida (Politico) are the places where the people’s votes matter. Their populations are almost evenly divided between Democrat and Republican voters. The presidential candidates go to these states to rally more voters on their side.
As freshmen Elizabeth Conte put bluntly, “It [the election] kind of seems like a joke.”
Let’s hope the presidency of either candidate isn’t one.