With the 2016 November primaries right around the corner, many Castleton University students and faculty members aren’t excited about choosing their next president. Of the 15 people interviewed, only four are voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Five said they would be writing someone else in, three said they’d vote for Gary Johnson, one won’t be voting at all and two chose not to share.
“Neither of them should be in office. I am truly ashamed of the people that are running,” said Wendy Bishop, a custodian at Castleton. “I think I should be president.”
With all of the controversy swarming around the two candidates over the last few months – like Clinton’s email scandal or Trump’s wall, students are beginning to wonder if there is any credibility left in this election at all.
“We have Trump who just kind of came out of nowhere with what seems like no political background … then there’s Hillary, who flip flops back and forth with her beliefs, and denies everything when it is brought up,” said Nick Barnier, a member of the Vermont National Guard and a junior at Castleton.
This is a common theme around campus, with many students believing the candidates are using inappropriate tactics to gain the support of voters. Brittany Verge, a junior in the athletic training program, is fed up.
“I am not voting for the lesser of two evils,” she said. “Donald Trump is using fear to get votes, and Hillary is just using her history as her selling point. I feel like neither of them have actual values.”
While 11 students and faculty members plan to refrain from voting for either of the top candidates, those who are tried to explain their reasons.
Kyla Leary, a senior majoring in ecology, said Trump’s “outrageous” policy ideas could possibly leave her unemployed.
“I don’t want to vote for her, but that’s my only choice,” Leary said.
Although there is a large liberal demographic at Castleton, there are plenty of conservative values to go around as well.
“I’m voting for Trump because he’s fighting for the 1 percent. That means something in my family. My dad worked his ass off for what he has, ya know?” said Alina Sarli, a sophomore majoring in graphic design.
Students say the media is also playing a huge role in this year’s election, because people are choosing to get their information from bias news outlets, instead of gathering their own information and learning the facts. This is a scary thought for some, including Rosa Wallace, a junior health education major and community advisor.
“I’m worried that a lot of Americans are going to succumb to media and base their vote off the slander, instead of using their intelligence to sort out who is really the best option for president,” she said.
Chris Manjuck, a senior majoring in communication, decided to do his own research on what candidate would be best for him. When asked who he would vote for if the election was tomorrow, he gave a much different answer from all of the others.
“I would vote for Gary Johnson because he is the most moderate of the three candidates,” he said. “I do not trust Hillary, and Trump speaks his mind, which I like, but it could also get us in a lot of trouble.”
While students and faculty members believe this election is a circus, Richard Clark, political science program coordinator and director of the Polling Institute at Castleton, believes this is normal election-time behavior.
“American politics has always had an entertainment factor,” Clark said.
But while talking about the recent behavior of the candidates, Clark said Americans are seeing some firsts this election season.
“We’ve never had a candidate use the tone and language Trump has used, and show such a lack of understanding of the office he seeks,” Clark said.
When asked about Clinton, Clark said, “The email scandal was bad on her part. There is a difference between doing something stupid and doing something scandalous.”