Trump’s century mark is coming and it seems almost surreal. For many of us at North Dakota State, this was the first time we could vote in a presidential election.
This presidential election was bonkers it seems. It has single-handedly divided friend groups and families alike. The mere mention of the wrong name can stir contempt in some people’s heart.
What do you think? Is the nation where you thought it was going to be after the new president’s first 100 days? I went around and asked three very different voters their thoughts on the crazy, historical and overall memorable, 2016 election.
Breann Hogie: The Hillary Clinton voter
“I voted for Hillary Clinton.”
Breann hails from the great state of Minnesota, the land of hot dish and a state that voted for Clinton.
Ultimately the nation, or the Electoral College, chose differently.
When you casted your ballot where did you see the nation today?
“I thought it was going to be an extension of the presidency under Barack Obama … and having our first woman president, not that it is all about that, it would have been awesome, but also caring about education and caring about the world… and progress,” Hogie said.
Hillary Clinton would have been the first female president and that is a very big deal. With former president Obama calling Clinton the most qualified person to ever run for president it is a good question to ask.
“You don’t wanna say that she didn’t get it because she was a woman,” Hogie said. “Someone with very similar policies, had they had a penis, they probably would have been elected. That’s the world we live in.”
Much has been said about the nation after Trump was elected, with some saying a rise in hate crimes and sexism is directly related to Trump’s victory and his personal rhetoric.
“There has been more reason to come out as a feminist now… just being objectified, on University (Drive) being cat-called is still so prevalent,” Hogie said.
In your opinion, if Hillary Clinton was voted president does that go away?
“I think people respect that person as a leader,” Hogie said.
Currently, that is not being echoed in the liberal community. Does one respect the office of the president only when they are your party?
“I respect that the presidency has influence over what happens,” Hogie said.
People voted for Hillary Clinton. In fact, most people voted for Hillary Clinton. She won the popular vote and some are saying the Electoral College is broken.
For Hogie, she didn’t have to worry about that, but what about a Clinton voter in North Dakota, does your vote really matter?
“Maybe that is why the Electoral College is outdated,” Hogie said. “I would have to research more. My state voted the way that I did, so I felt like I was a part of that.”
How do you feel after this election?
“Frustrated,” Hogie said. “Frustrated that a lot of individuals and friends chose to vote on party lines.”
Would you vote again?
“Of course,” Hogie said.
Charles Steinberger: The Gary Johnson voter
Gary Johnson, a Libertarian, came in third place in the presidential election, gathering 3.27 percent of the popular vote. Johnson garnered more attention than any other third party candidate had ever gathered in history.
“When I casted my ballot, I thought Hillary had it in the bag,” Steinberger said, but somewhere deep down he also thought, “Gary might pull an upset and it might go to the Senate and then it goes to Gary.”
This is shocking, most notability because a third-party candidate hasn’t ever won a presidential election. Steinberger believed that Gary had a shot though.
“Yeah, I honestly did,” Steinberger said. “I was one of those dreamers.”
Steinberger shares something most voters (including the other two interviewed) could not understand. That is no recognition from the Electoral College.
Ultimately, one must ask, “Did your vote matter?”
“No, not really,” Steinberger said. “I have been ingrained since I was really young that if you don’t vote Republican your vote doesn’t really count in North Dakota.”
And this is a major problem. Having an educated voter feeling like their vote didn’t even matter should sicken us as a nation. We have designed a system where not everyone’s voice is equal. Only two voices are welcomed to run for the most powerful position in our government. Does Steinberger agree with this system?
“No, not really,” Steinberger said. “But it is better than what some countries have.”
How did this election leave Steinberger?
“It kind of put a sour taste in my mouth,” Steinberger said. “It kind of showed you know democracy will win the people’s vote does matter, but if you’re not part of the two main parties then you’re out of luck.”
For Steinberger, this wasn’t a rash decision, this wasn’t a nonsensical vote, “Both candidates (Clinton, Trump) made me nauseous … Gary was the only one who didn’t make me want to puke.”
This was the case for the 2016 election. Where do you go if you dislike both options’ “main” options?
The system ignores these people. Only catering to the majority, with the minority lost to vote with their gut.
“Would you vote again?”
“Oh yeah,” Steinberger said. “My father was a Vietnam veteran. He lost a lot of friends … their sacrifice wasn’t in vain so I would wake up on Election Day and not vote. You have to wake up and vote even when your vote doesn’t matter.”
Conner Hatfield: The Trump voter
Donald Trump won the 2016 election. His campaign and overall victory is historical in many merits, mostly for the utter shock among the journalist community and his rhetoric.
Where did you see America today when you casted your ballot?
“One hundred days, I would have thought more would have happened… He has done a lot of little things,” Hatfield said. “I would have wanted one big thing to actually get the ball rolling.”
This is to be expected.
“He is not a career politician, I expected a learning curve,” Hatfield said.
This was something though that he campaigned on. It is easy to say healthcare will be easy to reform, but ultimately it is a hard task for any president, let alone Trump.
“This is not too far off from what I really expected,” Hatfield said.
Trump was the unsung, billionaire, presidential candidate that was set to shake up Washington. He has also played a lot of golf after bashing his predecessor for vacation time though during his time in Washington.
“I am a little disappointed in that … and I know he has said that he wants to downsize the Executive Branch … but that doesn’t excuse surpassing eight years of travel expenses in one year,” Hatfield said.
With Hatfield being a Trump guy it would almost seem logical to assume he is fine with the Electoral College.
“The main thing I don’t like about the Electoral College is voters aren’t tied to that decision… I don’t agree with that… But I don’t know… Popular vote we could do that sure that makes complete sense.”
Hatfield would need to do more research though, claiming again that he ultimately doesn’t know the whole issue.
Another thing Trump did during his campaign was garner passion for imprisonment of Hillary Clinton after her email scandal.
“I was never a big ‘Lock her up’ kind of guy,” Hatfield said, which has become kind of a hypocritical issue for some people, with Trump’s scandals coming to light regarding election manipulation.
“I guarantee there was stuff his campaign did that they shouldn’t have,” Hatfield said. “I have just accepted that kind of thing doesn’t affect how I vote. Stuff happens all the time, it is just a fact of governments now a day.”
Overall though after the dust has settled, it is important to ask, especially to a Trump voter, would you do it again? Are you happy with your vote?
“To me, it comes down to three things: am I satisfied with the rate of change of legislative change and actions? No I am not,” Hatfield said. “Am I happy with young people’s involvement in politics and them forming opinions and becoming educated? No. Do I think that because Donald Trump is in office that those two things are increased? Yes.”
As for the outrage that has followed Trump’s victory.
“Fight it, if you don’t like it vote,” Hatfield said. “And maybe I do like the popular vote because I want change in government… I want people to be involved in politics. I think those things are met by Donald Trump being in office, and if he gets things done, great.”
Trump is our president. To some people, they thought we would all be gone by now. Others thought healthcare reform was just around the corner. For others, still, they thought a third-party candidate had a chance to be president.
To say the 2016 election wasn’t historical would be wrong. To say that it left a bitter taste in some of our mouths would be true. To say there needs to be change would be true as well. To ignore statistics, facts or people based on party lines is foolish.
America needs to congress. Does our voice matter? Does the system work?
In Trump’s first 100 days we may have just started a conversation.