Without a doubt, the 2016 Presidential Election has been the messiest in US History. The race to the White House has been a long one, and by now, a good amount of Americans are just about exhausted. But, today’s the day. The final battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Clinton appears to have the upper hand in the polls. The New York Times reported that she holds an 85 percent chance of defeating Trump in this election. To some, that’s a huge sigh of relief. But to others, the idea of a Clinton presidency looks just as bleak.
A large part of this election was encouraging young voters to cast their ballot. With millennials holding about 31 percent of the electorate, both candidates have been trying their best to target the youth of America and get their vote.
As a certified millennial, I can say with confidence that I’m not a huge fan of either candidate. I was more terrified then inspired by these two. As a woman, it’s hard to say I support Trump after his comments. Naturally, I love the idea of a woman president, but something about Clinton doesn’t sit right with me.
Like most of my generation, Bernie Sanders stole my heart and, originally, my vote. Once each party officially had their nominees, and Bernie wasn’t one of them, I decided that I wasn’t going to vote in this election, or at least vote third party. But, just as Mr. Bernie Sanders said, “this is not the time for a protest vote.”
I realized voting in this election was huge, and will determine not only the fate of the country, but of the world. Voting for the lesser of two evils became my motto this election season. This was my first chance to vote in a presidential election. I was 23 days away from turning 18 when President Obama was up against Mitt Romney in the polls. My first time voting, and quite frankly, the options sucked. I do find some comfort in knowing my fellow youths feel the same way, however.
“Voting for my first time this election is kind of exciting and kind of terrifying, you know?” Angela Broderick, 21, said. “I think it’s going to be cool to say, to my kids and grandkids and my students down the line, that I voted for the first time when we were deciding whether or not the world was going to sh*t.”
Millennials who voted in the 2012 election feel differently now than they did then. Janelle Clausen, a 23-year-old journalism student, said she feels her vote matters more this time around.
“The first time I voted [ in 2012] didn’t feel so real. I didn’t feel like my vote would have any consequence, so I went third party,” Clausen said. “Objectively speaking, Trump would be a disaster. I am not throwing away my conscience for the sake of balance this election. I could do that for Romney and Obama, but not this.”
Regardless of the candidates, voting for the first time in this election is a special moment for young voters.
“It felt great to vote for the first time as an immigrant in an election where it matters,” Ronny Reyes, a 21-year-old Ecuadorian-American, said. “I couldn’t help but smile when the machine scanned my ballot and the screen read, ‘Your vote counted.'”