The presidential election is just around the corner and Shepherd students are preparing to make their choices.
The University’s political clubs, the College Republicans and the University Democrats, are aware that students have a voice and want Shepherd students to be informed about their choices on Nov. 8.
The University Democrats say that Hillary Clinton is the right choice for America, and the right choice for Shepherd students. Club President Daniela Powers and Vice President Sam Cooper agreed in an interview that Clinton is an extremely qualiﬁed candidate and that her experience as a U.S. senator and the U.S. Secretary of State has given her the ability to tackle economic and foreign affairs.
Powers and Cooper also agreed that Clinton is running a campaign that inspires national unity. Clinton’s campaign slogan “Stronger Together” showcases her commitment to unity and she stands strong in her commitment to the idea that America thrives when united, they agreed.
As far as the student loan problem goes, Powers and Cooper agreed with Clinton’s proposal to forgive student loan debts and her adoption of a version of the plan by Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, a U.S. Senator from Vermont, that he proposed during his campaign for the Democratic nomination. Clinton has proposed free college tuition for children of working class families that meet income reqirements.
Shepherd students should vote for Hillary Clinton, Powers and Cooper agreed, because she is committed to every American and can guide the nation toward collective prosperity.
The College Republicans, however, see Donald Trump as the president that America needs. Courtney Knill, vice president of the College Republicans, said that Trump’s international business experience was the key to his readiness to handle foreign policy and the economy. Trump’s business dealings show his success “at making deals, [and that] he is also very strong and will not let other countries take advantage of the United States.”
Trump has a history of unifying people, according to Knill, as demonstrated by his efforts to “desegregate the golf course resorts that he owned in Palm Beach, Florida” and his urging of “other private clubs in the area to do the same thing.”
If elected president, Knill said, Trump’s efforts to heal the economy will provide students the opportunity to “have a much easier time paying back student loans because there will be so many more good job opportunities available to them when they ﬁnish school.”
Trump should be the candidate that students support, Knill said, because Trump will improve the economy, provide a strong defense against terror, institute immigration reforms, and unite America.
This election cycle is radically different from those of the recent past, said Stephanie Slocum-Schaffer, a political science professor at Shepherd University.
Turnout among younger voters this year will likely “be about the same as they have been in the last couple of presidential election cycles, or perhaps even a little less,” she said. Slocum-Schaffer notes that while Sanders was able to successfully mobilize younger voters, the Democratic and Republican nominees have not had similar success.
In fact, she said that the “historically high rates of unpopularity of both major party candidates will result in lower turnout across the board, including among young voters.”
The 2016 race has befuddled political analysts, said Slocum-Schaffer, and has signiﬁcantly limited the ability for polls to “capture the actual intentions and likely voting behavior of the average American for many reasons, not the least of which is the high level of ﬂuidity in attitudes about both candidates.” This ﬂuidity may make the presidential debates this year a more signiﬁcant aspect of voter persuasion than they have been in the recent past, she said.
For students interested in watching the debate on Sep. 26, the University Democrats are hosting a debate watch party at the Town Run Brewery in Shepherdstown in conjunction with the Jefferson County Democratic Party. Students interested in the College Republicans can visit their tailgate at Rams home games between the football stadium and the dining hall and can participate in GOP political calling drives. The College Republicans are also planning on a voter registration drive before the election.