For over a year now, the 2016 presidential election has been looming over American voters. College students especially have found that their first presidential election has been anything but normal, especially choosing between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. Fresh U interviewed six freshman Clinton supporters to see what about the candidate convinced them to vote in her favor.
First, how would you describe your political beliefs?
Brooke Schneider, a freshman at Syracuse University:
I would say I am moderately Democratic.
Hoa D.*, a freshman at Brooklyn College:
- I want someone who is genuinely for the people instead of personal gains.
Grace B.*, a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh:
I'm definitely liberal regarding pretty much all issues.
Autumn Hall, a freshman at Elon University:
Libertarian: fiscally conservative, socially Democratic, but not liberal.
Cheyenne Wood, a freshman at Syracuse University:
I consider myself to be very liberal.
Erin M.*, a sophomore at West Chester University:
What about Hillary Clinton - or Donald Trump - convinced you to vote for her?
Clinton has convinced me to vote for her through her clear expression of policy and her presentation at debates and in daily life. While her email scandal has created a whirlwind in the media and many utilize this as a reason to not vote for her, I refuse to look past Trump's consistent and belligerent sexism, racism, misogyny, Islamophobia and all-around disregard for anyone but white men.
I chose her because f**k Trump.
I've known that my vote would undoubtedly go to Clinton because of her impressive amount of experience and how well my beliefs align with hers.
- Her competency, her experience, [and] her strength. And she's a... queen who I've workshopped since fifth grade, okay?
Clinton has spent her life working in public service. She knows it better than anyone. Some people bash that as being a “career politician” but I call that experience.
Although Hillary has her faults, which many of her supporters acknowledge and understand, she has the political experience and level-temperedness to lead the country. Donald Trump has been caught on video on multiple occasions saying racist, sexist, islamophobic, ableist, and xenophobic language time and and time again and I just simply cannot support a president who does not support America in its entirety. We're the melting pot of America, and I believe Hillary welcomes diversity whereas Trump condemns it and even promotes violence to counteract it.
How do you believe Clinton will positively benefit the country?
I believe Clinton will bring a variety of skill sets to our country that will bring us closer to a cohesive unit in sex, gender, nationality and religion. She looks out for the welfare of everyone, not only those at the top. Specifically, I believe that she will fix the divide among races and close the pay gap between women and men.
Clinton will make advancements that benefit the whole of the country, not just a select few, and protect and build upon the rights that we do have now.
She's [going to be] the first female president so this will empower women and encourage them to make their voices heard.
I believe she'll be a stabilizing force in the economy and in social issues while also working to push through things that she’s currently supporting, like social justice, women's rights and education.
I expect her to fight for everyone of all races, cultures and socioeconomic classes.
Hillary has concrete policies for women, children, minorities in addition to gun reform, economic reconstruction and environmental improvement. She's said on numerous occasions that she believes in a woman's right of choice, which for me, as a female, is so incredibly important to continue to fight for equality. With the rising number of mass shootings and school shootings she acknowledges that gun reform is necessary. She also recognizes that climate change is extremely real and is willing to take the extra steps towards ending fracking and drilling in the Arctic which is essential. Her open minded ideals and forward-thinking will put an everlasting, positive impact on our country.
What does this election mean to college students?
I believe that this election is actually making college students more interested in politics and the future of our country politically. Because this election has proven to be so ridiculous in the way it has been and continues to be handled, college students talk about the candidates far more often than I have heard in an election before. Whether they talk about the candidates socially or based off of politics, the mere fact that they are talking about them at all is what convinces me that we, as students, are far more invested in this election than before.
I feel like they're at the age where they have to start actually dealing with issues caused by the government. What they get out of this election is what they demand. They have the votes that really, really matter.
This is a monumental election for college students because we are about to enter the professional world and we finally have a say in the direction our country heads in.
- The college students now will not be in college long enough to get the cost of college benefits she proposes, but their job prospects are deeply impacted by this election. The economy is either going to be handled by someone experienced, or someone who is too busy building a wall and so called 'jobs' he's going to create - even though we are at natural unemployment - to worry about the economy.
Read the the policies of each of the candidates on student loans. That speaks volumes.
College students, especially, would benefit so much from having Hillary as president. Not only has she expressed her dissatisfaction with the ever-climbing debt that college students continue to face, she's also willing to fight for us and open the opportunity of higher education to people who simply just cannot afford it in its current state. College education has essentially turned into a business, and she is willing to make the changes to turn it back into an opportunity to learn and to succeed for all people, not just the wealthy but also for the children who have grown up thinking that college was too far out of reach.
What would you say to someone unsure of which way to vote?
If someone is on the fence, truthfully I voice my opinions, but I never try to sway or convince someone to lean one way or the other. I firmly believe in having individual opinions based on personal investigation, not believing in something or someone because you're told to. In short, I keep an arm's length from dinner table politics.
They both suck, so you might as well pick the one with experience.
Take politics out of the picture for a second and think logically about the two people who are running. Who would you want your kids looking up to?
- Get over your trust issues with her and be a rational human being.
I’d ask them whose temperament they trust with the nuclear codes.
For someone who is still undecided, this election is astronomically important. We have a candidate who is adamantly against diversity and differences who promotes the idea of violence and hatred through scapegoating and putting blame on undeserving minorities instead of addressing the problems directly at home in the U.S. Yes, Hillary Clinton is not ideal; however, she represents the whole instead of only just a few. I genuinely fear for our country at the thought of Donald Trump becoming our president...
Why do you support Hillary Clinton?
I am voting for Hillary Clinton because I truly believe that she is nothing short of the best option for our country in this current election.
- I don't. She's better than Trump, though.
Clinton is a well-rounded, extremely qualified, inclusive and dedicated individual. She conducts herself with eloquence and is a respectable human, unlike Trump. It's time to have a woman leading our country, and she's fit for the job.
- She's the Beyoncé of politicians.
Although she is not perfect, I support Hillary Clinton because I believe she truly cares about the people in this country and has the necessary experience to succeed as president.
I support Hillary Clinton because she supports me as a woman, as a college student [and] as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. She supports my friends as people of color and as minorities. She is the most qualified person to run this country while being incredibly inclusive and proactive in protecting our country and its environment. I support Hillary Clinton because I simply cannot support Donald Trump. He is the epitome of hatred and immaturity. He is not fit to be our president and is representative of everything I'd like to see our country move away from.
With the election only eight days away, students continue to make their final decisions as to who their votes will favor. To read the opinions of right-leaning students, check out Fresh U's coverage here, and stay tuned for students in favor of Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein.
*Last names are shortened for interviewee's privacy.
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Lead image credit: Comedy Central via YouTube.