Long Island college students weigh in on 2016 election
By Brionna Rivers and Andrew Garcia
Similar to President Obama in the 2008 election, a large number of millennials are showing support for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and as in her 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton is again facing the challenge of running against a candidate with strong millennial appeal.
According to a Pew Research survey, in the 2008 primaries 57 percent of millennials supported Obama compared to the 38 percent that supported Clinton. In Wisconsin, Sanders managed to win 82 percent of votes from 18-29 year olds, compared to Hillary Clinton’s mere 18 percent. Sanders won the state overall by a 13 percent gap.
Among the millennial voters, college students on Long Island say they are frustrated and anxious about their economic future. They say they care the most about the issues of affordable education, student loan debt, income inequality and civil rights.
These fears are what draw many college students to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Young voters support Sanders because he is proposing tuition free college, single payer health care, and speaking out against certain civil rights cases.
“I’m planning on voting for Bernie Sanders.” said Marcela Villa, a student at LIU Post, “He just seems honest and he just seems like the best candidate for me right now.”
But some students think differently.
Roccanne Regnier, a Nassau Community College student, thinks Sanders’ promises are too good to be true.
“A lot of what Bernie Sanders is saying is actually feeding into everything that I want to hear, “ she said. “As a potential voter I think that I shouldn’t want to vote for someone who says just about everything that I want to hear.”
Lawrence Levy, the director of the National Center for Suburban Studies, said, “Certainly 18-34 year olds vote in the lowest percentages in every election, especially the primaries. There’s still a real question of how influential they can be on the way out and turn the tides because Sanders is already getting a historic turnout among young people.”
Throughout her campaign Clinton has also emphasized issues like college affordability, along with income inequality, and workplace policy reform. Clinton has said that people who came to the U.S. illegally should be able to apply for citizenship, a contrasting opinion to Republican front runner Donald J. Trump.
Trump says the U.S. should deport all undocumented individuals, freeze green cards, and ban all Muslims from entering the country, at least temporarily.
Shocked, Charles Caple, a Nassau Community College student, said he doesn’t support those views: “One of the biggest issues I have with this election are candidates trying to kick people out of the United States.”
With the New York primaries on April 19th ,the millennial vote has a significant potential impact.
“I think we’re pretty much at this fixed point.” said Levy. “Where Clinton has to hope there isn’t some game changing event that shifts the trajectory of the event, and Sanders has to hope that there is. And what that could be, I’m not even sure.”