A young gen­er­a­tion loves Obama, cool to Clin­ton, Trump

The Standard Journal - - STATE/NATIONAL -

DURHAM, North Carolina (AP) — A new gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can vot­ers has few if any pro­found po­lit­i­cal me­mories of any pres­i­dent other than Barack Obama, and that ap­pears to be hav­ing an ef­fect on how they per­ceive their choices for his suc­ces­sor.

A new GenFor­ward sur­vey sug­gests mil­len­ni­als as a whole dis­ap­prove over­whelm­ingly of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, and in­ter­views with col­lege stu­dents in the bat­tle­ground state of North Carolina found many first-time vot­ers see the 70-year-old real es­tate mogul as of­fen­sive, un­pre­pared and even racist.

About 60 per­cent of those vot­ers age 18 to 30, mean­while, ap­prove of the job Obama is do­ing.

Yet those sen­ti­ments don't nec­es­sar­ily ben­e­fit Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton, 68, rais­ing ques­tions about whether the for­mer sec­re­tary of state can gen­er­ate the same level of sup­port among an age bracket that helped Obama win two terms.

Here's what some mil­len­nial vot­ers have to say about Clin­ton, Trump, Obama and the state of the na­tion.

Duke Univer­sity grad­u­ate stu­dent Jen­nifer Le­nart, 23, is con­sid­er­ing third-party choices, ar­gu­ing that an­other Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion would be dom­i­nated, fairly or not, by con­tro­versy and grid­lock:

"I do like her, but be­cause of what I keep hear­ing, it's too much, too over­whelm­ing. I'd rather start from a clean slate so we don't have to deal with this any­more."

Joey Ab­bate, a 21-year-old var­sity wrestler at Duke, de­scribes him­self as a Repub­li­can un­happy with the state of the na­tion. The Cal­i­for­nia na­tive will vote for Trump, but says he isn't con­fi­dent in his choice:

"There needs to be some change, and I don't re­ally see that com­ing with Clin­ton. ... I know there would be some change with Trump. I just don't know whether it would be good or bad. It's tough to know be­cause he doesn't have any po­lit­i­cal back­ground. I feel like with Trump you're al­most in the dark, you know. ... With Clin­ton you kind of know what you're get­ting."

Thayer Atkins, a 20- yearold Duke stu­dent and var­sity wrestler from Texas, says he's a Repub­li­can who op­posed Obama's re-elec­tion and will vote for Trump, but he doesn't "fear" an­other Demo­cratic ad­min­is­tra­tion:

"While some things have hap­pened I don't agree with, I don't re­ally think that's the case that we're go­ing down the tubes. ... I'm not sit­ting here say­ing, 'If Hil­lary gets elected, that's the nail in the cof­fin. We're done.' I just think she gets us far­ther away from where I think we need to be."

Micah English, a 21-year-old Duke stu­dent from Mary­land who sup­ports Clin­ton, says she tries to dis­suade her fel­low mil­len­ni­als from vot­ing for a third-party can­di­date.

"If you want to ad­vance a cause against the two (ma­jor) par­ties, it is not done by vot­ing for pres­i­dent. Do that at the lo­cal and state level. Build the le­git­i­macy of the party. Get more peo­ple on your side. Make the ideas more main­stream. That's not how I think Amer­i­can democ­racy would be, but that is the sys­tem we have. It would be great if Gary John­son or Jill Stein could win a na­tional elec­tion, but they can't."

Vikram Seeth­palli, a 19-yearold Duke stu­dent, backed Bernie San­ders in the Demo­cratic pri­mary, but says Clin­ton is clearly prefer­able to Trump:

"One of the main things I hear (from fel­low mil­len­ni­als) is just want­ing a change in Wash­ing­ton, no mat­ter what it is. The other is peo­ple think­ing she's com­pletely un­trust­wor­thy. One of the rea­sons I ini­tially wasn't go­ing to vote for her was the money as­pect — the cam­paign fi­nance. But I put it in the sim­plest terms. If Trump is elected and you voted for Gary John­son, will you re­gret your de­ci­sion if thou­sands of peo­ple are be­ing de­ported and you didn't vote for the only other vi­able can­di­date?"

Ben Ezroni, 19, of New York de­scribes him­self as a re­luc­tant Trump sup­porter: "I'm tired of the GOP and the same old politi­cians. But I feel like Hil­lary brings that same im­age as well. When I think of Hil­lary, I think of spe­cial in­ter­est groups, I think about the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion, all that stuff. I'm just look­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent. I feel like that's what Obama brought."

Pau­los Mu­ruts, a 19-yearold Duke stu­dent from North Carolina, finds Trump "racist," but says he might have to be con­vinced ac­tu­ally to vote for Clin­ton.

"Hil­lary has the ex­pe­ri­ence. I would trust her more in the board­room with other lead­ers. She was top lawyer, served as sec­re­tary of state. I just don't think Trump has the per­son­al­ity for the job. He's too re­ac­tive. You just have to have the right tem­per­a­ment. ... (But) she doesn't in­spire ex­cite­ment." But on Obama: "Love Pres­i­dent Obama. He's got a swag­ger. He plays basketball. The things he does in public. He's tight with all these athletes. ... He's ac­tu­ally ac­com­plished a lot, and with all the crit­i­cism and op­po­si­tion he faces, he just takes it. He's cool."

Arielle Kahn, a 21-year-old Duke Univer­sity se­nior from New York, says much of Clin­ton's strug­gle to con­nect with vot­ers stems from un­con­scious sex­ism:

"It's' so in­grained in our so­ci­ety how women are treated. Peo­ple say, 'Oh, she's not the best politi­cian,' be­cause she's not per­fect. ... In com­par­i­son to Trump? He's the worst politi­cian, and the mere fact that she has to be the model of per­fec­tion to even be con­sid­ered on the same play­ing field? That's just wrong."

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