The 2016 Presidential election has been one of the most untraditional and most divisive in recent memory.
Starting from a field of 12 candidates in the GOP, Donald Trump was able to prevail despite controversy surrounding his campaign from the beginning.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton won the nomination despite a passionate following for Senator Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party’s admitted favoritism of Clinton.
For the first time since 2000, a third party candidate, Libertarian Gary Johnson has picked up a plurality of support. Also, Green party candidate Dr. Jill Stein has picked up some respectable support.
Currently, in a four way match up poll from Real Clear Politics, Clinton leads with 41.7% of the vote, with Trump at 39.6%, just a 2.1% lead, followed by Johnson with 9.3%, and Stein with 3.1%, respectively. With the first presidential debate just two weeks away, there is still a chance for a three- way debate if Johnson can pick up 15% of the vote.
Though most candidates are disliked by the opposing party, our nation has never seen a presidential race where two candidates are considered unfavorable by over 65% of the nation. Between Donald Trump’s repeated outlandish comments and Hillary Clinton’s email controversy, it is not unfathomable.
Recently, Trump has come under fire for his unpredictable stances on immigration. He initially stated he would build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border, which became the pillar of his campaign. A couple of weeks ago, Trump took a trip to sit down with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Neto to talk about future relations, but Neto remained firm on the topic saying he would fight such a wall and Mexico would not fund it either.
Pre-Law sophomore Jessica Mizell has an interesting perspective on this topic.
“I am half Hispanic and the family members that I have that live in the U.S. have come over legal,” Mizell said. “I believe that if you want to live the American dream, respect the policies that were created for a reason. I like Trump because I agree with most of his ideas for his candidacy. I think we need to put a limit on how much the nation gives out to illegal immigrants. We also need to stop letting people abuse the system and start working for their own worth.”
Trump’s friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin has been criticized because of the tension between Russia and the United States.
Foreign policy has become an important talking point lately as ISIS has continued their stronghold of Iraq and Syria. Trump has said he would “bomb the hell out of them,” and institute torture methods “worse than water boarding.”
Clinton’s camp has said they would take a stronger stand to combat ISIS than the Obama Administration, while still ensuring our country remains safe.
President of the Bearkat Democrats, sociology senior London Sneden, said if Trump gets his way on foreign policy it may do more harm to the country that good.
“If the Republican party gets its’ way we will just run over and bomb every suspect,” Sneden said. “That is probably the worst thing we could do. Uncalculated violence in U.S. foreign policy is what caused the creation of ISIS to begin with.”
Recent controversy has also been with the third party candidate. Gary Johnson was featured on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where he was asked what he would do about Allepo (Syria), which he answered “What is Allepo?” Political commentators and internet trolls alike had a field day with the response.
The support for Bernie Sanders was seen wildly among young, college age millennials, but also supported by many far-left democrats. Sanders conceded to Clinton at the Democratic National Convention and asked for his supporters to rally around her, though many “Bernie or Bust” voters still cannot rap their heads around that. Many are planning to write him in or vote for Stein. However, many younger voters, “Never Trump” Republicans, and right-leaning independents have started to “feel the Johnson.”
Mizell said the third party aspect is not needed and it just distracts the voters.
“I think third party candidates will hurt the system because they are votes wasted on people who I do not think will have a chance in actually winning the election.”
The 2016 election will continue to be one unlike any other. The whirlwind of this election will surely go past November 11, and this will continue to be a talking point of SHSU students, representing every ideology out there.