Campus News

Students evaluate presidential election

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Republican, Democrat or independent? In the next few weeks, millions of American students will be asking themselves that question. The U.S. presidential election on Nov. 6 is right around the corner. Voter turnout among college-age citizens has been on the rise in recent presidential elections. According to election trends site CivicYouth.org, 2008 saw the highest voter turnout among 18-30 year olds since 1992 - the third highest in history. Education related issues such as student loans and graduates finding jobs after college are on the radar of both Republican Governor Mitt Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama. If you are not yet registered to vote, it’s not too late. Just take a few minutes to register online at IndianaVoters.com. The deadline is Oct. 9. So what do Bethel students think about the upcoming election? Opinions are diverse around the Bethel campus. Some students lean toward Romney or Obama, but many are still undecided. “I feel like Romney will be a much better economic leader than Obama because Obama has proven that he can’t do what he said he would do,” freshman Tyler VonArsekle said. “I’d say it’s (Obama’s four years in office) been negative because the economy hasn’t gotten better. It’s gotten worse. . . . I think four years is enough.” Freshman Jordan Miya plans to vote for Obama but said Romney was not all bad: “I think he did well in Massachusetts serving as governor there, but I think Obama just has the experience. . . . A lot of people say that he messed up in these four years but it’s really like what Bush left for Obama. He can’t do miracles, so I mean he can’t really fix a big mess that Bush left behind. He’s made countless jobs and he’s brought countless troops back from Iraq. That’s something a lot of people forget.” Sophomore Cinnamon Green had a negative view of Obama’s first term: “I understand it takes more than four years to get our economy back together again. But I feel like he could have done more than he did.” She also added that everyone should vote. “You can’t complain if you aren’t trying to make a difference. If you don’t vote, you can’t be mad when your person doesn’t win.” “No one can be perfect, they can’t serve everybody,” Sophomore Kevin Kirkland said about Obama’s time in office. Kirkland describes himself as an independent leaning toward Obama: “I like him because he’s more relatable to me. He came to Elkhart to talk about unemployment, he came to South Bend to talk about jobs. So I like that he goes out and tries to talk to people.” Junior Emma Vargo was unimpressed with Obama’s four years in office: “I think that Obama really hasn’t followed through with what he said, so I’m probably leaning toward Romney at this point. Obama’s stance is that he really didn’t have enough time to finish everything he said, but I don’t think that’s what you say to get reelected.” She added that she thinks Romney will back the constitution and, “Hopefully he can use some of his business knowledge to boost the economy more.” “I just don’t like a lot of the decisions Obama is making, putting us more in debt,” senior Rebecca Griffin said. “I think it could have been a lot worse than it is right now. But I also think he could have done a better job. . . . I’m leaning toward Romney but I definitely need to do more research.” Senior Erika Green was also critical of Obama: “I don’t like his policies on abortion and I don’t like his policies overseas, specifically how he presents America to other countries. . . . I don’t think it can get any worse than Obama.” Some students expressed frustration at both the Republican and Democratic candidates. “I was planning on not voting because both parties aren’t looking very appealing at this point,” senior William Detturen said. “There’s a lot of mudslinging and there’s not a lot of positives. . . . I don’t see there being any person that I’d really want to vote for.” Senior Michael Goodson had a similar view of the choices this year: “I really hate both of them. It’s all about rhetoric and such. When I watched the convention basically it’s like, ‘I’m going to solve your problems,’ but the problem after that is they don’t explain how they’re going to solve the problem. . . . Both (Romney and Obama) are just showmen. I may look up some candidate that won’t win and just pick him because it’s almost impossible to choose between two idiots.” A Gallup Poll released in late August showed Obama with an impressive lead among younger voters (58% to 34%) while older voters flock to Romney (54% to 39%). One thing worth noting is that only 61 percent of the young people polled said they plan on voting. In contrast, 86 percent of older people said they will make it out to vote on Nov. 6. In perhaps the most memorable line of his speech at the Republican National Convention this year, Romney’s vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan said this to young people, “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.” College-age young people recognized in 2008 that they have the power to change an election. They showed up at the polls in record numbers and were key in the election of Barack Obama. In 2012, their impact remains to be seen. The potential for another record turnout is possible. But it won’t happen unless individuals across the country take a few minutes out of their busy schedule to cast a ballot on Nov. 6.
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