2016 Presidential Election Proving to Be Historic on Many Levels


Jonathan Espinoza, Co-Editor

Despite the controversy surrounding both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be a historic event.

In many states across the country, history is already being made as voter registration reaches all-time highs.  In Texas alone, voter registration numbers are expected to be in excess of 15 million.  But although registration numbers are the highest they have ever been, that does not necessarily correlate to actual voter turnout.

“Compared to other states, Texas turnout is usually much lower than the rest of the country,” said Dr. Dave Rausch, Teel Bivins professor of political science.  “We do have a younger population, and we might see a huge surge in early voting, but I don’t think it will be much higher than normal.”

However, normal is not a word many would use to describe the presidential race itself. Very quickly, the usual political talk of policy and agenda was replaced with personal attacks on character and integrity.

“As many have pointed out, this election has become a lot more personality-oriented and a lot less policy-oriented,” Rausch said.

And it is the stance on policy that has become lost to many voters amid the negative campaigning.  Across the board, each candidate has taken a firm stance on various topics ranging from environment to foreign policy.

On the environment, Clinton is for green energy jobs, while Trump feels they are costly and ineffective.  On foreign policy, Trump suggests being tough and uncompromising while Clinton suggests strength, not confrontation.

In addition to Clinton and Trump, the race for the White House consists of two other candidates: Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, each of whom is hoping to garner votes across the country despite polls showing the race to be primarily between the two major parties.

In a four-way race, polls in Montana and Virginia show the greatest impact of either Johnson or Stein. These polls rank Johnson at 11% with Stein at at 0% and 2% respectively.

In addition to record-breaking voter registration numbers, history will also be made if either Trump or Clinton are elected.  The Republican nominee will be the country’s first billionaire mogul reality star to sit in the Oval Office should he win the election. Controversies aside, Trump continues to have strong support, especially when it comes to the issues important to his base.

“I’m voting for Trump because, out of the two candidates, he most aligns with the Republican core,” said Daniel Winton, sophomore political science major.  “He’s pro-gun, anti-abortion, will be stricter on immigration laws.  Trump wants all the current illegals to have citizenship, which is something most people don’t realize; he wants everyone in the country right now to be a citizen and then make it harder to get into the country if you are not a citizen.  When it comes down to it, I am going to vote for the man or woman who most fits the silhouette of the Republican party, and right now, that is Donald Trump.”

Clinton, while no stranger to controversy herself, maintains a sizeable lead over her Republican opponent.  During the 2012 presidential election, Clinton made history by becoming the first woman to win a presidential primary; should she win the election in November, she will be the first First Lady, turned Senator, turned Secretary of State to hold the office.

“It’s a travesty how little women are represented, especially since we are more than 50% of the population,” said Lindsey O’Neal, junior political science major.  “I think Secretary Clinton has experience, and I think a lot of people know that that is her biggest asset.  But I think beyond that, people actually look at her policies…I think health care is going to be a huge project, and I think it is going to be an effective one, and I genuinely believe she is trying to strengthen cooperation between both parties.”

A signature trademark to American democracy is the peaceful transfer of power after elections.  The American people get to, essentially, over throw their government and it is often times welcome.  While some hardliners, on both the Republican and Democratic side, fear the worst if one candidate is elected over the other Rausch has these words of advice, “The sun will probably come up on November 9th, no matter who is elected.”