With the 2016 Presidential election less a week away, the nation finalizes their choice of candidate amidst a campaign season filled with controversy.
In CNN’s latest average of five national polls, Hillary Clinton currently holds a lead with 47% of the vote, as compared to Donald Trump’s 42%.
For most Northwestern students, this election is the first in which they are eligible to vote. As of Sept. 30, Northwestern announced that a record rate of 96% of the freshman class of 2020 was registered to vote, with assistance from the new online platform NUVotes.org and in-person registration in Norris for the past month.
For Northwestern students voting in Illinois, many are confident that the predominantly “blue” nature of the state will ensure that Hillary will receive Illinois’ 20 Electoral College votes.
“I’m more concerned with my local elected officials than I am for the President of the United States,” said Ryan Albelda, a McCormick student. “For the state of Illinois, the election is pretty much decided that the state will always go democratic, so I’m not as concerned with the national election.”
Other Clinton supporters are rallying behind strong anti-Trump sentiments.
“I think Clinton’s got it, and I personally think the damage is done already,” said international student Lim Li Keen (Leeks). “I’m also an international student, so from a foreigner’s point of view, I think Trump is an idiot.”
This is a particularly important election because it will also decide which party has Senate control. The main two contenders for Illinois State Senator are Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Tammy Duckworth.
“I’m also concerned about the fate of Congress and how well Congress works with the president. Currently, it looks like Hillary is in the lead, so how well Congress works with her is really important for how well our government works,” Albelda said.
The political climate on campus and across the nation seems to reflect the controversial nature of the election season thus far. The two highly polarizing candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have faced a nearly unparalleled number of scandals.
FBI director James Comey reopened the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server last Friday as new emails have surfaced from the FBI’s seemingly unrelated probe of Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner. This find raises questions about whether the case will be resolved before the election on Tuesday.
“The debate about Hillary’s email server has been affecting her entire campaign, but I thought the focus would eventually move on to other issues,” said Weinberg student Alisha Gandhi. “At this point, I think most voters are already decided on a candidate, so I’m not sure how the fact that the FBI are reopening the case just days before the election is going to affect her.”
Another issue that the Clinton campaign has recently faced involves a released video that shows members of the Democratic National Committee planning how they could spur disorder and chaos at Trump rallies.
Trump is still dealing with the aftermath of making sexually explicit comments about women, which led to ten different women coming forward as alleged victims of Trump’s sexual misconduct. Other questions regarding racially charged comments, failed business dealings, and potentially unlawful tax methods continue to plague the Trump campaign as well.
On Oct. 19, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took to the stage in Las Vegas for the final debate to solidify their bases and claim any remaining undecided voters. Moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, addressed the topics of Supreme Court, immigration, the economy, debt and entitlements, foreign hot spots, and fitness to be president.
Many Northwestern students expressed disapproval for how to the two candidates have presented themselves during this election cycle.
“The third debate seemed pretty annoying with the yelling back and forth. There wasn’t much of a difference between the three debates,” said Albelda. “The topics were different, but not their behavior.”
During the debate, Trump claimed that he may not accept the result if he were to lose due to a potentially rigged election. He doubled down on this claim last Thursday at a rally when he said, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win.” This comment that drew sharp criticism from people across party lines, drew heavy media attention, and emerged as one of the most talked about moments from the debate.
Trump is currently campaigning in Michigan, a surprising choice since it is a traditionally Democratic state. Clinton, on the other hand, is focusing on the battleground states of Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina.
Oct. 22 was the last day to register in the state of Illinois, and voting for the U.S Presidential election will occur on Nov. 8.