It likely comes as no surprise that this presidential election will be monumental. So far, the campaign trail has been something of a showdown between Democratic contender Hillary Clinton and Republican roughian Donald Trump. But, let’s get real for a minute. There is a lot at stake this November. For most minority groups, their basic rights and safety are in danger. The middle and lower classes could face another debt crisis and a widening economic gap. People seeking asylum in the U.S. could be turned away at the border due to race and religion. This election could have detrimental consequences, so let’s make sure we understand what all is at stake on Nov. 8.
It goes without saying that the first race on the ballot will be the presidential race. Someone must be elected president, and it will either be Trump or Clinton. Our next president will have the power to rally American support for legislature, military action and social action. They will be considered the most important political figure in the country. This new leader will symbolize the basic values of a majority of registered voters. This president will have the ability to propose legislation such as healthcare reform or immigration reform. The next president will have the ability to determine the United States’ political course for the next few decades.
The next president will also have the power to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice. This means that they would have a hand in how the next 30-40 years of Supreme Court cases will turn out. For example, Clinton hopes to appoint a justice who will reverse the Citizens United decision of 2010, while Trump would like to appoint a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade. The next president will also likely have the power to appoint three to five new justices. This could mean 30-40 years of either liberal or conservative political progression.
Along with the presidential race is the race for congress. Currently, the Republican party controls both the House and Senate. The Republican party may lose their majority this November, and this could be huge. Historically, when a president and Congress share a political party, more reform occurs. Imagine what Clinton could do with a Democratic majority in Congress. There would likely be massive legal changes. This would mean that Clinton’s College Affordability Proposal could be passed. In contrast, a Republican Congress under a Trump presidency could lead to massive immigration reform.
It is easy to see how something as large as a presidential election could affect a country as a whole. It seems logical that the person in charge of a country would, in turn, have a substantial effect on how it functions during his or her presidency. The two things are inherently connected, but sometimes it is hard to see the effect an election can have on an individual.
To help understand the individual effect of this election on DU students, here are a couple of first hand accounts from DU students:
“This year’s election, especially the presidential part, affects me as a student because whoever wins can potentially change the direction of what jobs are favorable, depending on what programs they wish to provide funding for. For instance, if Trump gets elected, he will likely focus on business, but if Clinton gets elected, she will likely focus on international relations, which might force her to put funding on environmental projects if other countries wish to do so, or she might focus on diplomatic relations. No matter what, this could potentially change my career plans and thus my major amd academics,” said freshman Gui Zheng.
“As a student, this presidential election matters because there are so many issues on the candidates’ platforms and so much hanging on the line for the future. One of Clinton’s main platforms has been handling the student debt crisis. There’s also the fact that whoever becomes the president in this election is likely to get four to five Supreme Court appointments over their time in office. That means that they’ll have almost total control over what is and isn’t ruled as constitutional for the next 40-50 years. That’s huge,” said freshman Alyssa Holmes.
“In each election, the aftermath can be felt through every generation, but the 2016 presidential election carries more weight for millennials and students than elections in the past. As the first election I can vote in, I feel that there is more at stake this time around than there has been in the past. This election has forced me to become more informed and actively seek out information describing the challenges that this country faces. I think that this election has started a dialogue about the failures of our government, and on a college campus, that’s a great thing to have. More and more kids seem to want to be involved in politics, and students have ideas on how to make the nation better. Myself and others have become more disgruntled with the candidates that are up for election, and that has a huge negative impact on our trust in the government,” said freshman Kesiah Mendoza.
When this campaign cycle began in 2015, I wasn’t sure where I stood in the political world. I knew I was liberal, but that was about it. As the primary campaigns continued, myself and those around me became impassioned and I soon developed a love for politics. Beyond my new interests, I began to notice the growing impact this election would have on my life. I am a student with thousands of dollars in student loans. I am from the lower class and have worked jobs for minimum wage for years. I need good and affordable healthcare and so does my family. I am a woman in a culture that is predominantly manipulated by older men.
If Clinton wins this election and Congress goes to the Democrats, there is a possibility that things could improve for me and those like me. The minimum wage could be increased to a living wage, which would make college more affordable. Clinton’s College Affordability proposal could make it through congress and make college cost $60,000 for one year of attendance. Healthcare reform could allow many people, myself included, access to reliable, reasonable healthcare. Lastly, with Clinton as president, the country may start to take women in positions of power more seriously. They may begin to recognize female autonomy and capability, and that could open doors for so many women in this country.
On Nov. 8, either Clinton or Trump will become president. This election will determine America’s political course for decades. This election will determine if marginalized citizens gain safety and acceptance or further prosecution and violence. This election will determine if the lower classes are lifted from poverty or driven further into debt. It will determine the rights of minorities, immigrants, women and the LGBTQ+ community. It will affect every single person on this campus. Make sure you know how your vote will affect you and your peers before you make your final decision.
With that being said, use your freedom to change the world. Make sure to vote.