By Rylie Frohock
The Scene staff
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are neck and neck in national polls, but most Forest Park students randomly contacted by The Scene are leaning Democratic. Some see Clinton as the better of two bad candidates in the presidential election.
“I don’t like either of them, but if I have to choose, I’d choose Hillary over Trump any day,” said general transfer student Jeleesa McAlpine, 25.
“Trump is not somebody who should be running the country because he is going to run it like a business. There is a difference between running a business and running a country.”
McAlpine thinks the media have been biased against Clinton, focusing too much on her email controversy and questions about her health and not enough on her plans and accomplishments.
Clinical lab student Danielle Hart, 24, also is a Clinton supporter. “I’m actually speechless,” she said. “It shocks me that (Trump is) actually a candidate. I still think it’s a joke right now.
I think that if Trump gets in the White House, America is done for.” Hart likes the idea that Clinton at least claims to be for the middle class, which is how Hart classifies her family, and she is hopeful that Clinton would create more job opportunities.
English major David Corwin, 25, understands people’s concerns about Clinton. He said he usually votes Democratic but liked U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas during the primary campaign and could have supported the “right Republican” in the general election. Now that the race is between Clinton and Trump, Corwin is going blue.
“I just really think Donald Trump is an idiot,” he said. “I think he’s too gung-ho, and while I think there are a lot of issues with Hillary Clinton and how honest she is going to be, I think she’s a career politician who is doing to do what the people want her to do. Popular opinion will affect her policy making a lot, which I think would be a good thing.”
Automotive tech major Stephen Burkhard, 20, who considers himself a Republican, supports Trump for president. Burkhard said Clinton is dishonest and pointed to allegations that she put national security at risk by using a private email server while secretary of state.
“She’s sneaky, lying … I’m one of those people that said Hillary for prison,” Burkhard said. “I don’t want to vote for someone who is giving away secrets to the enemy. That could screw us in the end.” Burkhard likes the fact Trump has a business background, and he feels it could help him get the country on the right track financially.
Like McAlpine, Burkhard considers the media biased, but against Trump, not Clinton. “The media is trying to pull out every bad thing that he’s doing and sweep under the rug what Hillary is doing,” Burckhard said.
Some students are still undecided on which candidate to support in the election.
General transfer student Megan Monti believes Clinton would be a better advocate for equal rights as the first woman president. She disagrees with Trump on some issues and considers him “stupid.” But Monti isn’t ready to make a final decision on how to cast her ballot Nov. 8. “I still have to look into the candidates and read more about it,” she said.
Business major Bob Flynn, 55, also is wavering. “Donald Trump has no political experience,” he said. “And Hillary is … I feel, lying about her past with Benghazi and the emails.” Flynn was referring to the 2012 attack by Islamic terrorists on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in the deaths of two Americans. Critics blamed Clinton’s State Department for denying requests for additional security.
Secondary education major Joe Tillman, 20, who considers himself a Libertarian, is supporting that party’s nominee, Gary Johnson, a businessman and former Republican governor of New Mexico.
Jill Stein is the Green Party nominee for president.
“None of the politicians are going to bring through all of the promises they make,” Tillman said. “The people who think Trump is actually going to build a wall are insane. He’s also not going to ban every Muslim coming into the country; it’s bad for business. The fact of the matter is that he’s ballsy enough to say it on television. We don’t need that as a leader.”
Tillman said he believes Clinton is qualified for the job but that he doesn’t trust her. He likes that Johnson is “relatively unknown” and supported by a group of people who aren’t lobbyists.
“He doesn’t pander to the stupidest among a particular group,” Tillman said. “He panders to people who like think for themselves. … I feel like we need to get ourselves straightened out before we try policing the world, and I feel like Gary Johnson would do that.”
Many are apprehensive about voting for a third-party candidate, knowing that he or she would lose the election and fearing it could benefit a less-qualified candidate. But Tillman doesn’t see a vote for Johnson as “wasted,” arguing that it’s important for Americans to voice their opinions and, if desired, take a stand against the status quo.
Some Forest Park students are so fed up with the American political system that they’re refusing to vote in the presidential election.
Auto mechanic technician major Luis Quiroz, 23, complains that Democrats don’t “push toward self-development” and Republicans worry too much about helping the rich. He doesn’t like Trump or Clinton. “It’s like choosing where to get shot,” Quiroz said. “One is an open racist, and the other one is a liar. Both have their flaws, and I’m not voting.”