For students and teachers alike, as November 2, 2016 approaches, their excitement for the upcoming election is only increasing.
“It’ll be a really interesting election to watch,” Eric Findeis, biology teacher and sponsor for the RJR Young Democrats, said.
Students, including Reynolds’ three political clubs for young Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, are already preparing for the event.
“I’ve been watching the debates and following all their different campaign speeches and discussing with the Young Democrats club,” senior Ariel Freedman, co-president of Young Democrats, said. “Simply watching the news and watching the different candidates and where they take their stands on certain issues.”
Others plan on participating in different ways.
“(I’m) turning 18. I’m going to vote for the first time and I’m super excited,” junior Ryan Baker said.
Although the Republican candidates have been receiving a majority of the attention, if only because there are so many of them, there are still debates over who the best candidate would be among the Democrats currently running. Following the withdrawal of Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee, and Lawrence Lessig, the remaining major candidates are Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders. Each has a distinct platform, unique ideas and devoted supporters, but also issues with their candidacy.
O’Malley, perhaps the least well-known of those still in the race, still has some merit as far as the election is concerned.
“Honestly, I think it’s unfair that Martin O’Malley doesn’t get a lot of play because he has a lot of interesting ideas,” Findeis said. “He’s done well in some of the debates so that people can at least get an idea of who he is, and he has very centrist and proactive ideas about what he wants to do as president. In the long run you have to be known and (he’s) living in the shadow of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.”
Far more contentious is the debate between Clinton and Sanders, which ranges from the trustworthiness of each candidate, to their level of liberalism, to their appeal to voters.“I think in a time of intense political sectionalism, like we’re living in now, it’s important to have somebody who’s an outsider but also somebody who’s reasonable and I think Bernie Sanders encapsulates that pretty perfectly,” Baker said. “I think he’s a pretty down-to-earth person and that’s what we need in office today. He definitely has different ideas. I think that there have been a lot of things going not so great for our country and maybe a different perspective or just trying something new would be beneficial to us and we shouldn’t be afraid of it.”
“I like Bernie Sanders but I do think he is too radical and I don’t think he would win the presidential election nor do I think he would make decisions that would be best for everyone as president,” Freedman said. “I think Hillary is definitely the strongest candidate. Her stances are liberal enough but still in the middle enough to appease people. I think there are people that will hold too much prejudice against her for being a woman and the email scandal but I think that she can take the hits and keep going and I think that people will grow to respect that.”
Other supporters of Hillary believe that rather than acting to further polarize the two parties, she will be able to bring them together. “I’ve always seen her as someone willing to cross the aisle and make decisions based on what’s right,” Findeis said.
However, some people doubt her reliability as a candidate. “I’m just not sure I really trust Hillary,” Baker said. “I feel like she’s really good at manipulating people and the way she says stuff isn’t always necessarily what she means to say but more like what she wants people to hear. Obviously that has some benefits but I value people over just politicians, so I’m not sure I want Hillary to be president.”
Added junior Ben Williams: “There’s a difference between politics and doing something right.”