As University of Michigan students line up at the polls Tuesday to select either Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton or Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, some are expressing more hesitancy than enthusiasm as they cast their ballot and wait for the results.
The race in Michigan has significantly narrowed in the final weeks leading up to the election, after Clinton’s lead in Michigan of 11 percent as late as October 21st diminished to a lead of only three percent t heading into Election Day, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.
Both the Clinton and Trump campaigns have spent considerable amounts of time in the state during the last week. On Monday, both Clinton and Trump held events in Allendale and Grand Rapids, and multiple surrogates visited as well, including a stop from President Barack Obama in Ann Arbor.
In the final Michigan Daily student survey before the election completed on November 6th, 76 percent said they would vote for Clinton, 13 percent would vote for Trump and six percent for Gary Johnson. However, in the same survey, only 32.1 percent of Clinton voters and 11.5 percent of Trump voters said they were “excited” at the prospect of a presidency of their chosen candidate. This trend mirrors the national perception of the two candidates, with 54.4 percent viewing Clinton as “unfavorable” and 58.5 percent viewing Trump as “unfavorable,” according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.
Some students at the polls Tuesday echoed this sentiment, including LSA senior Anam Shah who said he cast his ballot for Clinton, but may have chosen differently if he had a choice of other candidates.
“Honestly, it’s pretty much a lesser of two evils,” Shah said. “I am not a fan of her foreign policy, domestically, she’s perfectly fine; given any other Democratic nominee and I had a choice, I may not have gone with her.”
Echoing Shah’s sentiments, LSA junior Dom Hamid said he doesn’t find either candidate appealing, but cast his ballot for Trump as a vote against the political establishment that he feels Clinton embodies.
“Both candidates are the most unfavorable candidates in modern history; I don’t care for either of them, I don’t respect either of them,” Hamid said. “I voted for Trump because my vote was mostly an anti-establishment vote, I think that the Clintons really encapsulate about what is really wrong about government these days just in general.”
Law student Michael Trombetta said he voted for Clinton, but also expressed discontent with the choices.
“It sucks that we picked these two people, because they’re both clowns, honestly, they’re both clowns.” Trombetta. “It just sucks that this is what we’re left with, but honestly, I just want to be alive in four years and I feel like Hillary gives me that chance.”
Ann Arbor resident Ryan Wolande, who graduated from the University in April, wouldn’t share who he voted for, but expressed distaste by saying he thinks this election is an extremely poor reflection on the United States.
“Oh it was horrible! We all know that, I don’t know anybody on any side who doesn’t say that,” Lawrence said. “I think the amount of vilification, the amount of negativity, and of course the craziness of it, but I think Hillary’s been by and large a voice of sanity in the midst of an awful lot of craziness.”
LSA junior Drew Summersett, said he voted for libertarian candidate Johnson because he felt he couldn’t justify a vote for Clinton or Trump. He said he found Trump to be rude and selfish, and cited his questionable business tactics as reasons for his decision.
“I cannot in good conscience vote for the main party candidates,” Summersett said. “Trump’s not a good businessman in terms of other people besides himself, and I don’t want that kind of person as my president.
Clinton’s email scandal also played a role in his decision, Summersett said. He added that as a member of the military, he questions Clinton’s responsibility despite her being recently acquitted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“For Hillary, yes, she’s been acquitted twice for the email thing, but I’m actually a military member myself and for us if anything like that happened even once that’s enough to go to jail for,” Summersett said. “For someone who has so much more authority and responsibility than me to be able to get away with something like that, not to mention she should know better, I don’t want that as my commander in chief.”
Similarly, LSA freshman Sarah Riedel said the choice for president wasn’t preferable, but
“I voted for Trump because I believe that he is the lesser of two evils in this campaign,” Riedel said.
However, some students were more enthusiastic about their choice — either because of the candidate they selected, or over concerns about their opponent. LSA senior Matt Sehrsweeney said although he doesn’t love Clinton, it was an easy choice for him to vote for her because he believes Clinton has many similarities to Obama.
“I don’t love her at all, but I think in many respects, she’d make a very good President,” Sehrsweeney said. “I don’t like her foreign policy at all, but she is astoundingly well prepared to be President and I think domestically she supports some important things.”
Rackham student Nikolas Midtunn also voted for Clinton, but said he misses when the tone between candidates was more civil and the prospect of the Republican winning was less frightening.
“I’m almost nostalgic for previous elections, like Mitt Romney and George Bush, they seemed so innocent,” Midtunn said. “I’ve voted Democrat my whole life, but the stakes just seemed so much lower, it was so much safer.”
Law Prof. Michael Bloom, who voted for Clinton, instead expressed fear at the prospect of a Trump presidency.
“It (the election) has gotten me more fired up about politics,” Bloom said. “I went to college here, I graduated 10 years ago, and I was a history major, and I took classes on the rise of Naziism and vimer Germany, and a lot of that redirect sounded too familiar.”