Millennial voters have called this year’s election, among other things, a “joke” and “crazy,” but because their age group makes up a staggering 31% of voters, the say they have is impressive.
So how are Charlotte’s millennial voters feeling about the whole thing? Not well.
“For the first time in three elections, I am still completely undecided,” one voter told me, who has been so put off by this election cycle that he’s leaning toward not voting at all.
Another views this year’s vote as a “vote of approval,” citing the fact that the ‘If you don’t vote for him or her, then you’re giving a vote to her or him’ argument is statistically untrue.
“Both sides can’t be correct,” he said. “I view that statement as an attempt to take away the power of my vote, and the reason why we are relegated to just two candidates. Ultimately, I see my vote as a ‘vote of approval,’ rather than attempting to vote for the winner.”
When the Agenda put out a call for thoughts on this year’s election from citizens 18 to 30, the response was overwhelming and incredibly varied, with voters supporting Clinton, Trump and Johnson and others not voting at all.
Here’s what they said.
On Hillary Clinton
“This election would not be close if the Democrats had nominated a mainstream, wholesome politician like Joe Biden or Martin O’Malley or Mark Warner or Elizabeth Warren, or probably even Bernie Sanders, even though he’s crazy. But no, it’s only the most scandal-plagued Democrat in the last thirty years.”
“I already knew I couldn’t vote for trump, but I’ve admitted to myself that I could vote for Hillary. Out of the two candidates, she has to win, but I’m not convinced enough to support her. With the revelations coming from the “Podesta emails”, it’s looking even less palatable.”
“Hillary is an off-putting lunatic who wants something for everyone which is unrealistic and would continue us down a path of stagnancy.”
“I think that Hilary sucks because she is a criminal. If you research the Clinton Foundation, you’ll see a ton of sketchy stuff. Pretty sure the way it’s set up, people pay her for stuff they want done… Russia deposited a bunch of money to the foundation then all the sudden they ended up with a bunch of uranium? The foundation is just a way for her to amass massive amounts of wealth and hide it behind something that supposedly a good cause in my opinion. She has experience in politics. But she was part of the cabinet that sky rocketed national debt, largely responsible for the rise in isis from actions taken (or not taken) in Syria, not to mention Benghazi where she turned her back on American lives, also they handed Iran a couple billion dollars to release hostages (that’s why we have Seal Team 6)… the list goes on… Can’t wait to see where this one goes…”
“Now, I will be perfectly fair to Hillary. Benghazi is not a thing that she is responsible for. Most of her scandals are manufactured by the fever swamps of right-wing media, and crazy uncles sharing Facebook memes among each other is not helping matters. She is congenitally incapable of telling the truth! It’s never the crime, it’s the cover-up. Like, just tell the truth: “Yeah, I had a home-brew email server; knowing what I now know about email security, that was a mistake.” But no, her IT guy is on reddit trying to figure out how to cover it all up. Or, “Yeah, I’m not feeling well, I got diagnosed with pneumonia a while ago and it’s hasn’t cleared up” vs. “She was overheated but now she’s fine and watch her hug this small child that spontaneously ran up to her on the street … actually, she has pneumonia. Despite this fault, she is still, from an ethical perspective, light-years better than Trump.”
“During primary season, I was a Bernie Sanders supporter. I loved his passion, authenticity and many of his policies. Despite being Bernie’s rival during the Democratic primary, once the major party nominees were decided, it was clear to me that the only logical choice is Hillary Clinton. She is arguably the most qualified candidate to ever run for President. She has put forth detailed policies and plans for every issue, as well as how everything will be paid for. She is calm, cool and collected, and has the demeanor needed to be President. She has the experience and knowledge necessary to build on the economic progress we’ve made under Barack Obama. Her experience as Secretary of State will be critical in managing our foreign affairs in an increasingly connected world. I trust she will nominate Supreme Court justices who will defend important social issues (such as women’s right to choose, gay marriage, health care) from attacks by conservatives, and overturn Citizens United so we can get money out of politics. She’ll help continue Bernie’s “revolution” by leading us towards renewable energy, debt free college, universal health care, and fighting for the 99% who most need a voice in Washington.”
“The only way to stop Donald Trump from becoming President is to vote FOR Hillary Clinton, so on Election Day, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.”
“I think if we had to pick between the lesser of two evils… up until recently, I would have picked Trump. However, with everything going on I do not think he is the best person to lead our country. On the flip side… I think Hilary is absolutely terrible. I am horrified of her possibly becoming president. I think she is corrupt, manipulative and just down right insane.”
“The leaked videos of Clinton Campaign staffers coordinating voter fraud, discussing destroying ballots that vote for Republicans, and paying people to incite violence at Trump rallies are highly disturbing to the core tenets of Democracy. Even discounting the years of corruption and lies from the Clinton camp, the fact that Hillary Clinton refuses to wage a fair campaign gives me great discomfort with the idea that she could lead our nation.”
“Without taking into account the content of the leaked emails from the highest levels of Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff and the Clinton Foundation, the Secretary’s lack of discretion and wanton disregard for security protocols exposed classified state secrets to those who would do harm to the American people. This careless disregard for the rules is indicative of an executive who believes that she owes allegiance only to herself and not the electorate. The corruption that has been exposed within the Clinton Foundation is appalling. An organization that prides itself on being progressive takes millions of dollars from countries that systematically slaughter their gay populations and treat women as property. This is beyond hypocritical and disgusting. The fact that as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sold ambassadorships and access to executives to donors shows that she is not the champion of the people as she frequently trumpets; she personifies corrupt politics as usual with a different set of rules for the elites.”
On Donald Trump
“Trump is a total non-starter. I mean, where to begin? I could list a dozen things that would be utterly disqualifying for anyone not named Donald Trump and it wouldn’t even scratch the surface of his sheer unsuitability for dogcatcher, much less President.”
“I really hope that Hillary Clinton not only wins, but wins by a very large margin, because Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the election being ‘rigged’ and his unwillingness to accept the results, is unprecedented, un-American and dangerous. I would hate to see post-election violence break out, but if Donald Trump is unwilling to concede (if he loses), that is exactly what he’s encouraging. We’ve always had a peaceful transfer of power in America, and Donald Trump threatens that tradition and our entire democracy. He, and all the bigotry and hateful rhetoric he stands for, MUST be defeated!”
“Trump has made a mockery of the system, which is good, but he’s also playing everyone for a fool by getting people to think he actually wants to be president.”
“I, like a lot of at-heart Republicans, can’t possibly support Trump. I’m mostly surprised by how people are surprised at all that Trump would say those things and treat women that way. He’s been a pig openly in the public eye for thirty years.”
“Recently, several women have come out and basically confirmed that the sexual assaults Trump was bragging about in the Trump Tapes really did occur. It’s disgusting and irredeemable behavior, but I can’t say I’m surprised. He has proven over the past year, beyond any reasonable doubt, that he has no regard for anyone but himself, and is completely unqualified with regards to his policies, understanding of our government and how it works and his temperament and behavior to be President of the United States. The most shocking part of all this is that there are still men and women who support Donald Trump for President. I can’t wrap my mind around how anyone could possibly support a guy who not only sexually assaulted women, but bragged about being able to get away with it because he’s ‘a star.’ The apology he gave, during which he defended his actions and shifted blame to Bill Clinton (who, I might add, is not running for President), was absolutely pathetic. As an American who plans to vote, I do not accept his unauthentic apology.”
“Like many other millennials, I would describe myself as fiscally conservative and socially moderate. I’m a registered Republican but I vote based on the candidates, not solely on party. I feel like the GOP’s current focus is misguided, both on the state and national level.”
“He insulted prisoners of war, the family of a fallen solider, African Americans, women, the poor and even the Pope. His tendency to respond to criticism with hateful rhetoric and lies (like implying that Ted Cruz’s wife is ugly, incessantly calling him “Lyin’ Ted” and saying his father was involved in the JFK assassination) is disturbing and childish. I wish his twitter behavior could be chalked up to late night drunk tweeting, but the scary reality is that Donald Trump doesn’t even drink alcohol and is completely sober when he rants and raves like a drunken lunatic.”
“Trump… this surely had to be a joke, right? He’s just gaining support from a divided party, only to drop out at the last second and endorse the candidate he believes to be the best one for the job, right? Okay… this is really happening. What a nightmare. I will admit, however, after getting down to the nitty gritty details and reading about his position on the issues, I can’t say they’re all that bad. I might actually (gasp) agree with some of them. But will this arrogant, pompous, inappropriate human be able to interact with the leaders of the world and deal with foreign relations without completely embarrassing the country as well as gaining said leaders respect at the same time? Yeah… didn’t think so.”
“A wall is an idiotic idea that will cost taxpayers money and accomplish nothing. His insistence that Mexico will pay for the wall is, quite frankly, insulting to the intelligence of the American people. His tax cuts will greatly help the wealthy and do little to nothing to help those who need it most. His lack of experience and knowledge with regards to foreign policy, combined with his comments about using nukes and his un-Presidential temperament, is downright scary and dangerous. He does not believe in climate change and calls it a hoax created by the Chinese. He talks about bringing jobs back to America, yet has a lifetime track record of making his products almost anywhere BUT America. Fact checkers show that he lies roughly 75% of the time he opens his mouth. While Hillary Clinton is arguably the most qualified candidate in our nation’s history, Donald Trump is without a doubt the least qualified candidate in history.”
“Who knows? What if he does well? He’s just crazy but it does seem like he’s slightly trying more than when he first was running. It makes you wonder if he’s just a distraction to force your vote the other way and to distract from a world war that seems like will happen in the near future.”
On third party candidates and not voting
“I’ve made the educated choice to stay home on election day with a large glass of wine dreaming about the days when America had great leadership and an extremely bright future. Yes, I see the passionate Facebook posts trying to guilt me into it because you know, I’m a woman and I have rights! But does the 19th Amendment really make me feel so passionate that I should vote blindly for candidates I deem unqualified to be the next Commander in Chief? Not exactly. I’ve heard all the arguments. I’ve seen all the news articles. I’ve read all the political blogs about why I should vote one way or the other. I just don’t feel comfortable with any part of electing either of the two humans we’ve grown to know and (not exactly) love over the past 18 months or so. I am, however, extremely fearful of what this election means for our country. Regardless of if I vote or not, one of these buffoons IS going to be running America in a few short months. What is going to happen to the United States of America? What is going to happen to its people? With all the recent division between Americans, is this election only going to deepen the wounds we’ve already bestowed upon one another? There are so many uncertainties.”
“As for the 3rd party candidates, they simply have no chance to win. I am just old enough to remember the 2000 election, when a 3rd party candidate who didn’t have a chance took just enough votes from Al Gore in Florida to cause him to lose that state, and allow George W. Bush to become President. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is infinitely worse than George W. Bush. With the stakes so high this election, and North Carolina being a swing state, I plan on trying my best to convince my friends who are ‘Never Trump’ Gary Johnson supporters that being against Trump isn’t enough…”
“The scene at my parents’ house last month:
Mom: “Are you still voting for that pothead?”
Me: “What are my other options?”
Mom: [laughs] “A liar and a felon.”
Me: “And which is which?”
Mom: “Well, that’s a good point.””
“I’m a registered Republican but will soon be changing my affiliation to independent as I do not see my values aligning with the GOP’s platform at anytime in the near future. I cannot in good faith vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I do not believe Hillary has the integrity or morals to hold the Presidency. The same can be said for Mr. Trump, his morals and integrity bring into question his ability to hold the highest office in the land. ”
“I am going to vote third party this year. I haven’t settled on a candidate yet, but I have decided not to vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I think the burden is on each of those campaigns to convince me why they are best for the job, and in my eyes, they have both fallen short. To me, the main premise of their plea can be summed up as: ‘At least I am not him or her.'”
“Let’s talk Gary “What is Aleppo” Johnson. Now, the nice thing about not knowing Aleppo is that he’s very unlikely to bomb it, which his opponents would likely do – Hillary being an interventionist and Donald being a real-life Jack D. Ripper (“Nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”). There is a reason that Johnson leads among military officers. It’s very important to me that we disengage from foreign wars. Governor Johnson and I generally agree about the size and scope of government – low taxes, low services and what essential things the free market can’t handle efficiently, the government can work on. He has been for gay marriage long before Hillary was (publicly, anyway – and that goes back to the point, of course she was for gay marriage, but a majority of the country wasn’t there yet, so she lied for political gain). We have disagreements, of course – I’m not totally down with drugs, and I don’t think he’s necessarily thought through the ramifications of his positions on anti-discrimination laws. The reason I am not a full Libertarian is that Libertarians are crazy and want to shut down public schools. Governor Johnson does not want to do this, of course, but the Libertarian Party can be kind of out there.”
“I will be voting for Gary Johnson this November and while I do not believe in, nor agree, with everything Johnson stands for I am tired of the GOP and DNC holding my vote hostage year after year through the use of fear and uncertainty. As a country I feel we the people would be better represented if we had a three party system. ”
“I strongly feel that Gary Johnson is the most reasonable Presidential candidate remaining. He and his running mate were successful two-term Republican governors in Democratic states and actually have more combined experience running a government than any other ticket. However, they are excluded from the debates because they haven’t reached an arbitrary polling number determined by an organization created by the two major parties. I’d like to see a third party candidate at least given a chance, but it’s pretty much impossible under the current system. Despite that, I’ll still vote for Governor Johnson because he is the best candidate in my eyes. As he has said, ‘A wasted vote is a vote that you don’t believe in.'”