Campus climate: The election

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Danielle Stoecker, Staff Writer

There are only a few weeks left until the 2016 presidential election and the release of the two candidates’ scandals are creating quite the grand finale on what has been a very unusual election. Donald Trump’s leaked audio and Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails have caused both of their approval ratings to fluctuate.

“At this point, any negative news is just a distraction from major policy plans,” Chairman of the Department of Government and Politics Luke Perry said. “Both candidates just want to tighten their message, but the release of these scandals is making that difficult.”

Perry believes that this election has focused more on the candidates’ personalities rather than the candidates’ plans on policy.

In a typical election, roughly two-thirds of the campaign focuses on the issues the nation is facing and about one-third on the candidates’ personalities. However, those ratios have been switched in this presidential election, with most of the focus on the character and behaviors of both the Democratic and Republican candidates.

Perry thinks that at this point, “it cannot get any worse for Donald Trump.” Between the release of the audio from 11 years ago, the sexual harassment accusations and the fact that he will not turn over his tax releases, his campaign is very damaged.

Clinton’s leaked emails are not ideal for her campaign either, but Perry believes that Clinton is ahead by so much in the polls that her scandal is not as noteworthy.

There seems to be split opinion on the Utica College campus between how much influence the release of these scandals are influencing voters.

“I don’t think any scandals that come out within these last few weeks before the election will change my mind,” junior Sierra McCarthy said. “I’ve had my mind made up for a while now and I plan on standing by my choice come election day.”

UC junior Jake Ryan also shares McCarthy’s view on the situation.

“I do not fully support either main candidate,” Ryan said. “But these scandals have not changed my decision on which candidate I plan on voting for.”

Perry believes that these scandals will lead to a decrease in voter turnout for young adults. He doesn’t think that young adults feel too attached to either candidate in this election, and that that will keep them home on Election Day.

It is possible that these scandals might not only effect the 2016 presidential election, but also those of the United States House of Representatives and the Senate. Since the release of Trump’s audiotapes, Democratic senate candidates’ ratings have increased tremendously in numerous states.

As of now, Perry thinks that Clinton is most likely going to be elected as the 45th President of the United States. If this ends up being the case, Perry is most concerned with Trump’s reaction, as Trump had already said that if Clinton wins, he would challenge the election.

Perry believes that if Trump was to challenge the election, it could be extremely damaging to our democracy.

“America holds the largest amount of free and fair elections each year, and if Donald Trump comes out and challenges that and says that they’re corrupt, that would be damaging to our democracy as a whole,” Perry said.


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