Millennials Vote, But Some Unimpressed with Candidates

Presidential Election 2016

Photo by Judayah Murray. Trilingual signs used to encourage multilingual voters from D.C. to cast their votes on November 8, 2016.

Hyattsville, Md. – In 2012, millennial voters made an impact on the outcome of the presidential election. Millennial voters went in droves for President Barack Obama’s re-election with 67 percent voting for him in comparison to 30 per cent for Mitt Romney. For 2016, both the Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are jockeying for millennial votes.

Before the election Clinton was leading Trump among millenials by 28-points.

Amber Cleafer, 28, arrived to Hyattsville Middle School to vote before heading in to work. As a millennial, this is her third election. She, however, is not fully confident in either candidate.

“I got everything I wanted out of President Obama’s presidency. I did not have any issues or qualms with how he ran his presidency. If I could vote for him again, I would,” said Cleafer. “I actually wanted Bernie as the Democratic nominee. I’m not a big fan of Hillary at all, but I’m taking what I can get at this point,” she said.

Yun Shuk, a 30-year-old voting at Hyattsville Middle School, had similar opinions.

“I got what I wanted out of President Obama’s term. I think so, but I’d like four more years,” Shuk said. “I was indifferent with the Democratic nominee. I preferred Bernie over Hillary and honestly just feel like I’m getting the lesser of two evils.”

However, not all millenials share the same view. Dressed in all white, 25-year -old New Jersey native, Brian Dittmeier said he was supporting Hillary Clinton.

"I voted for this candidate because I wanted to vote for an inclusive society and I think there is only one candidate who offered that option," he said. 

Though she is voting for Clinton, Cleafer was reluctant to.

“I did not want Clinton to be the Democratic nominee. Historically, I think people tend to forget the type of association she had with the mass incarceration of black people, as well as the school [to] prison pipeline that was further perpetuated with her husband in office,” said Cleafer.  

“Seeing those types of things supported as I’m growing up and being of age now when she’s running for presidency is not something that I would typically support.” D.C. resident, Clara Edmonson, said she was excited, but nervous about this vote. "Hillary is the lesser of the two evils. I do believe she will be a better president than Trump, but do I like her as a candidate? Not so much," the 23-year-old Catholic University student said. 

Melanie Gant, a 23-year-old first-time voter, dismissed Trump, but raised concerns about Clinton’s capabilities.

“I’m not concerned with her gender. I’m concerned with whether or not she can get the job done. I know Trump can’t, so he’s not getting my vote. If Clinton is elected president, I just hope the world would become a better place.”

Cleafer is much less hopeful in the Democratic nominee. “I think the millennial vote will be much lower this year as opposed to when Obama was running. Millennials are unimpressed with who is running and feel as if they’ve been backed into a corner with this election. The whole getting the ‘lesser of two evils’ is causing millennials to feel that they’re just not going to vote at all.”

“At the end of the day, I’m not excited about the election but I still have to do my part for the type of America that I want to live in. Everyone’s vote will count but I don’t think the overall feeling from a millennial standpoint is that it WILL count,” said Cleafer.

“Hillary must be the outcome. That’s the only thing I can hope for with who’s running against her. In all honesty, I, as a black woman, don’t think Hillary will do anything for us black people but I also don’t think she’ll put anything in place against us, whereas I think Donald Trump will have things in place that will directly impact us,” Cleafer said.  

Note: The original story was corrected to show that Brian Dittmeier is a New Jersey native who said he voted for Hillary Clinton.