What are young people thinking about the U.S. presidential election as it enters the home stretch? Four News-Decoder ambassadors speak out.

We asked News-Decoder’s ambassadors — a network of young adults around the world who believe in our mission — for their thoughts on the U.S. presidential race, now that the two major parties have held their nominating conventions. Here’s what four of them had to say.


“A worry for me is that we all thought that Brexit would not pass.”

– Simon Hoellerbauer

I am cautiously optimistic about Hillary Clinton’s chances.

Simon Hoellerbauer
Simon Hoellerbauer

In order to become the first U.S. female president, she will have to overcome some of the baggage that continues to hover around her. One of the many challenges that Clinton faces is that she, through her time as First Lady, her terms as senator and her service as Secretary of State, is tightly linked with the political establishment, which itself is under threat due to the deep frustration and dissatisfaction felt by many Americans.

Clinton has been, unfairly in my opinion, criticized for acting like a politician, for clawing her way up through the ranks, for making her own space, her own name (although she will always be linked with her husband). Trump has so far been able to define himself as an outsider.

Yet, although her unfavorability rating is fairly high, Trump’s is even higher. If she can focus her campaign on Trump’s inadequacies and doesn’t have to spend it defending herself, she should be able to gain enough votes.

As for Bernie Sanders supporters, we will have to see which group ends up having more of an influence: Sanders’ supporters who decide not to vote for Hillary, or Republicans who decide not to vote for Trump. If they cancel each other out, it might not be so much of an issue.

A worry for me is that we all thought that Brexit would not pass, yet pass it did. A Trump presidency would not be good for the United States, could have catastrophic implications for international cooperation and might lead to a more volatile international system.

***

“I want to jump for joy that America finally has a female presidential candidate.”

– Hannah Bedford

As a non-American, I have always viewed the United States from afar, and it seems to be a country of great intensity. Their elections are no exception. The money spent, the length of campaigns and their viciousness.

Hannah Bedford
Hannah Bedford

Yet in this election cycle there is a kind of fervor on both sides that resonates through the media. A passion for change.

That Trump has gotten this far is inconceivable to me, when his opinions and polices do not seem grounded in reality. On the other hand, I want to jump for joy that America finally has a female presidential candidate. It is a massive step forward for equality in the United States, a culmination of the change of attitudes within America over the past 50 years. You could say the same about Obama and racism, yet it has not translated into great reform as seen in the current troubles.

Clinton’s gender is the paradigm in which her campaign is being viewed. It colors everything. When they should be examining her policies and opinions, they see her clothes and attitude.

Regardless of who wins, I doubt that any great change will be possible given the current hostility between parties.

***

“Supporting Bernie Sanders became a subculture that spread like wildfire.”

– Sophie McLaughlin

Many young people my age in their late teens or early twenties have been chanting “Feel the Bern” for the past several months in support for Bernie Sanders. Their support became radical and unrestrained and lasted longer than it should have after it became clear that Hillary Clinton would be our nominee.

smclaughlin_westover
Sophie McLaughlin

Supporting Bernie Sanders became a subculture that spread like wildfire. It’s like in the movies, how when something becomes “the cool thing to do,” everyone’s doing it. These poorly educated followers of Sanders are the ones who are refusing to vote for Clinton. They do not understand that it isn’t “Bernie or bust.” It’s “learn to let go or watch a Trump administration bring this country to ruin.”

Bernie Sanders himself dismantled the “Bernie or bust” argument last week at the Democratic National Convention in his speech endorsing Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a more moderate version of Sanders, so young, newly-registered voters are not attracted to her as they were attracted to Sanders’s talk of revolution.

Young and old democrats need to unite, keep Trump out of the White House and #VoteBlueNoMatterWho.

***

“Can you imagine the United States with Donald Trump as a president?”

– Maria Isabel Veiga

maria-isabel (590x640)
Maria Isabel dos Santos Veiga

I like Hillary but it seems she is not popular. I read that Hillary is an explosive person, as if she was mad with something and couldn’t hide that. Maybe that is why she is unpopular.

The most interesting point of the U.S. election for me is to see how Donald Trump is growing. Can you imagine the United States with Donald Trump as a president?  I could not.

 

 


Simon Hoellerbauer (@hoellerbauers) is an Associate Scholar with the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Eurasia Program and a recent graduate of Kenyon College. This fall, Hoellerbauer will start his doctoral studies in Political Science at the University of North Carolina. He will focus on democratization and democracy promotion.

Hannah Bedford is studying History and Politics at Royal Holloway University in London. She is passionate about helping people and hopes to be a human rights lawyer.

smclaughlin_westoverSophie McLaughlin is a student at Westover School, an all-girls boarding school in Middlebury, Connecticut in the United States. Her passions include fighting for women’s rights, hiking and doing local community service. She works closely with Westover’s Rasin Center for Global Justice to help educate the student body on global issues and the importance of diversity.

Maria Isabel dos Santos Veiga was born and lives in Brazil, speaks four languages and is interested in diplomacy, international politics, world history and culture.

2 Comments

U.S. election: Thoughts on Hillary & Trump

  1. The US is a fiercely divided country. It was founded and flourished on it’s division since it’s inception. We’ve always pretended that we’re bigger than that while behind closed doors we know the truth and we keep it to ourselves. Well I could tell you honestly that %90 of americans don’t give a s$%& about the elections because they are so disillusioned will the business as usual, systematic gutting of the middle class and the constant degradation and exploitation of the lower class that it really doesn’t matter much. The future of this country has been out of our control for so long that we’re just spectators. The flash of hope that Bernie Sanders has given us is unbelievable. He has single handedly opened up the floor for discussion on political policy and types of government that hasn’t happened since the civil rights movement. I don’t believe in either Hillary or Clinton and feel their integrity is highly questionable and I can tell you personally I would rather vote green party than for either of them. On a side note I would love to see a new party like a labor party start that really represents the common american the worker that goes to work and comes home and doesn’t ask for anything but equality. Thanks for your consideration. In solidarity with all people that have love in their heart.

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