The battle of ages: Vermonters share election thoughts

A Donald Trump sign adorns a VT mechanic shop. Campaigns signs are popping up as the election nears.

As the nation gears up for the 2024 Presidential Election, the political landscape is buzzing with opinions and preferences.

With the high likelihood of a rematch between former President Donald Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden, voters from all walks of life are contemplating their choices and considering the impact of their decision.

In a small local sampling, there was one strong vote for Biden, one for Trump, three for the independent candidate Robert Kennedy Jr., two undecided votes, and one for an unlikely candidate – Kanye.

Emma Ezzo, a sophomore, said she will be supporting President Biden.

“I’m voting for Mr. Joey B. I voted for him because it would scare me if anybody in the Republican Party won. I also like having a female vice president,” she said.

On the complete other side of the ballot, Stephanie Burkenhamer, a nurse at Rutland Regional Hospital, says she’s voting for Donald Trump.

“I’m voting for Trump. I am a Republican. We saw the best economy under his presidency, along with an increase in employment, decrease in unemployment, decrease in homelessness and the most secure borders,” she said.

While Ezzo and Burkenheimer say they are sure of their votes, Andy Weinberg, a professor at VTSU Castleton, expresses disappointment with the choices of candidates.

“I have many concerns with this upcoming election and concerns with each candidate. I’m disappointed that this is the best we can do,” he said.

Weinberg’s sentiment echoes the frustration of many voters who believe the current political landscape falls short of expectations.

Along with Weinberg, Rich Clark, a political science professor at VTSU Castleton and experienced pollster, talked about the uncertainty surrounding the election. Clark also emphasizes the importance of professors staying impartial to encourage voting engagement among students, irrespective of their ideological affiliations.

“While the probability is extremely high that the two major party candidates will be Joe Biden and Donald Trump, neither has officially won their party’s nomination,” he said.

Gary Boyle is a 56-year-old Castleton resident who has voted in many elections in the past, is supporting the independent candidate, Robert Kennedy Jr.

“He’s gonna avenge his brother and his father. I believe what he talks about in his speeches. I like that he calls bullshit on people,” Boyle said.

Boyle is not the only one putting trust in Kennedy. Abby Astbury will be a first-time voter in this presidential election and said she too will be voting for the independent candidate, Kennedy.

“I don’t know much about any of the candidates, but I do know both Trump and Biden are getting old. It will be beneficial to have a fresh face in office,” she said.

Alexis Rodgers, a sophomore, though not registered to vote, offered a similar perspective to Boyle and Astbury.

“I’m not registered to vote, but if I were, I would be voting for the independent candidate. I feel that I would not be confident in voting either democratic or republican.”

There are even some voters that have no confidence in any party on the ballot, and plan to write in another person. Junior Jess Heinrichs is taking a very unique stance that doesn’t involve Biden or Trump or Kennedy.

“I’m voting for Kanye, strictly because he’s a genius,” Heinrichs said.

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