Highline students say they aren’t thrilled with the choices in this year’s election.
With ballots mailed to registered voters in Washington state, voting has already begun. Results won’t be released until the night of Nov. 3.
Voters must choose between President Donald Trump and his main challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden. Students are divided on who they like.
Some say they wouldn’t or won’t vote in this election.
“I know it’s a bad mindset to have as an American, but, at the moment, I would rather not vote,” said Frank Ton, a 17-year-old student at Highline. “I have been paying attention, but I haven’t done extensive enough research to actually pick one side.”
Ton said he does lean towards the left, but doesn’t feel that he has enough information to choose one candidate over the other. He did have gripes with oth candidates, nonetheless.
“What bothers me about Biden is how he just says that, ‘If you don’t want to vote for Trump, settle for me,’” Ton said. “You shouldn’t get pity votes.”
Ton was also frustrated with Trump’s handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “He’s shown a lack of awareness of the coronavirus,” he said. “COVID was eventually going to get to Trump. That’s what he gets. He should’ve taken the situation more seriously.”
Other students expressed similar frustrations.
Luis Carrera-Lara, also 17, was likewise critical of the president’s COVID-19 response.
“I dislike how he’s handled the COVID situation and believed that it wasn’t a big deal, like how he got COVID and proceeded to have a parade in his car the next day,” he said. “He put people in danger.”
Carrera-Lara was referring to Trump’s drive outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he was being treated for COVID-19, to visit supporters on Oct. 4. Several media outlets criticized the incident as irresponsible.
Like Ton, Carrera-Lara said that even if he could vote, he wouldn’t.
“I feel like the only people who your vote really matters for are the representative in local government,” Carrera-Lara said. “Those are the people who you should vote for.”
He said that his only exposure to the election so far has been through social media.
“I’ve only seen the memes,” he said.
Despite not paying much attention, Carrera-Lara said he does typically align with one party.
“I support the Democrats,” Carrera-Lara said. “I’m brown; I feel like that party would better represent me.”
Immigration was the key issue that drove Carrera-Lara to the Democratic side. It’s also the main source of his dislike for Trump.
“His policies would affect millions of immigrants that are here,” he said. “They’re hard-working citizens, they’re not taking jobs away from Americans.”
Carrera-Lara said his view stems from his personal experience. Both of his parents are immigrants, who have worked the kind of hard-working jobs that he describes, Carrera-Lara said.
“I think it’s essential to have people to do those kinds of jobs. And my parents are immigrants, so I don’t want to get kicked out,” he said.
Calvin Beltran, another 17-year-old Highline student, echoed similar grievances. But he said he would vote if he could.
“I would vote,” he said. “A bunch of people say they’re just not going to vote, but I feel like they basically are giving other people’s votes more value by forfeiting their own.”
Beltran said he doesn’t know enough to identify with one party or another.
“I don’t know anything about this stuff,” he said.
Despite this, there are aspects of each party that he likes. “I do agree with some stuff from the Republican party, but also things from the Democrats,” Beltran said. “I’m not hard-set on either side.”
Where he lets go of his ambiguity is when it comes to his less-than-optimistic opinion of the two candidates.
“I think both candidates are bad,” Beltran said. “But, we saw what Trump has done, and it’s honestly been pretty awful. I’d support Biden; he’s bad too, but probably not as bad.”
Some think that the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, isn’t meant for the job.
“Trump to me is a successful businessman but not a successful president. He fights for himself and has created problems within his own party,” said Dylon Huynh, second-year Highline student and engineering major.
“Trump is a racist who literally has no interest in the lives of the citizens (or non) living here, I’m pretty sure he just likes the power,” said Khaylene Moaje, second-year Highline student and art major.
Some choose to support one of the candidates because they are the lesser of two evils.
“I believe that the candidates from both parties are not great,” Huynh said. “However, I support whoever is in the Democratic party.”
Others gained their opinions based on the presidential debate, and dislike both candidates.
“They both brought up personal issues which weren’t even relevant to America’s real issues,” said Steven Nguyen, second-year Highline student and kinesiology major.
Some few said they like Trump.
Andrew Dibble said he is pleased with the job Trump has done as president so far.
“First I think Trump will bring the economy back and already has been bringing it back since COVID,” he said.
Dibble said he doesn’t think Biden has good relationships with other countries.
“Biden’s son was paid $3 million from Russia in a scam,” Dibble said, repeating a long-discredited rumor about Hunter Biden.
More students seemed to favor Biden.
“I would rather vote for Biden because we’ve already seen how Trump has ran the country and it’s better to have a new person for the hope of something better,” said Myla Myers.
The college student also talked about her dislike of Trump because he seems racist and simply does not seem to truly care about “all” of America.
“I’d rather vote for Biden because I don’t like how polarizing Trump is. I don’t think Trump is fit to be president. He does not have the character for it,” said Gabriel Pelogi.
Pelogi specifically likes Biden’s policies on school reform, prison reform and health care reform. He just does not think Biden will do anything too “extreme,” which will keep America stable and growing.
“I feel like neither of the candidates represent my core values, but I can see more room to fight inequality under Biden’s presidency. Biden has also made a proposal to fight climate change, whilst Trump still doesn’t believe that it is real,” Kenadie Turner said.