Video by Taylor Jacobs
by Jacqueline Stoughton
As Connecticut primary night looms near, many Central Connecticut students have plans to cast their votes for Bernie Sanders. The vast majority, however, either don’t plan on voting or know what the purpose of the primary election is.
“I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. I know a lot of people say his policies are unrealistic, but I want to see some sort of change in the political system because clearly it’s not really working that well,” said Conner Henry, 20, CCSU social work major. “I feel like he’s the only person who could really change things and everyone else is just going with what everyone else has been doing and it’s not working.”
Despite the primaries now being two weeks away, polls open on April 26th. Students feel as though CCSU isn’t doing enough to promote and educate why it’s important to vote in primary elections, what they are and how to do it.
“It’s a big deal and it’s going to affect everyone on this campus so they’re [CCSU] obviously not doing enough as far as promoting to vote in the primaries. No one knows that the primaries are coming up,” said Henry.
Unlike many other American voters who plan to vote for Sanders but would also support Hillary Clinton if she were to win the nomination, many CCSU students are reluctant to give her their vote, even if it came down to choosing between Clinton or Donald Trump.
“I would want to vote because this year’s the first time I get to vote and I want my voice to be heard,” said Zoey Grant, 20, CCSU psychology major, explaining she would prefer to cast a write-in vote. “I don’t want to have to vote for someone just because I don’t want to vote for Donald Trump. I’m not just going to vote for someone because I don’t like the other person.”
Grant explained that she believes the university could be doing more to educate and encourage students to vote in the primary elections.
“I think the university in general needs to start doing stuff, maybe like holding parties for the primaries and really talking about it in classes because I think that’s really important, but I know so many people who don’t know what a primary is,” said Grant. “They don’t know anything about what the candidates have said. Most of these students are eligible to vote now, they should be aware of whom they’re voting for.”
In the midst of a Sanders-supportive campus environment, there are few at CCSU who would rather give their vote to Trump.
“I feel like a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters and pretty much all of the other supporters have a very negative view on the people who support Trump, not just Trump himself,” said Jason Coffin, 19, CCSU computer science major. “He’s not the typical politician. Ted Cruz has been a senator and done a bunch of useless things, whereas here’s a guy with real life executive experience and it’s like, how is this a hard choice?”
Coffin explained despite being the most controversial of the candidates, he feels as though the media builds up the negativity surrounding Trump.
“I’m the type of person that usually sees the news then goes, ‘what a bunch of lies.’ The media over blows things,” said Coffin. “They build a straw man against Trump, he’s racist, he’s all these things but he’s just not. Other countries build walls and they’re not racist. The arguments against Trump aren’t very logical they’re more emotional.”
Other than some outliers, many students give their support to Sanders, because they believe he will be able to provide the best, most cost effective educational options. Students tend to choose Sanders over Clinton mainly due to severed trust.
“I feel Hillary is very dubious,” said Paul Chowaniec, 24, CCSU communications major. “If it was between Hillary and Trump, maybe I would vote for Hillary because at least she has decent foreign relations and experience and credentials with that.”
According to David Perkarski, 26, CCSU sociology major, he’s giving his support to Sanders because he supports the working middle-class.
“I’m going to be a middle working class type person. With Bernie, he’s trying to keep people from falling out of the middle class. The biggest reason why I’m not supporting Senator Clinton besides Benghazi, is she’s outsourcing jobs. Bernie wants to keep jobs in America and has a good plan for students,” said Perkarski. “Given the two Democratic choices, I think Bernie is the way to go.”
So far for Republicans, Trump holds the lead with 743 delegates, Cruz with 545 and John Kasich with 143 with 854 still to be claimed before naming the GOP presidential nominee. For Democrats, Clinton is in the lead with 1,756 followed by Sanders with 1,068 with 1,941 delegates still to be won, according to AP.
The primary elections, when parties vote for who they want their presidential nominee to be, happening in Connecticut in a short two weeks will be closed elections. Meaning, if you’re a registered Independent, you must switch to either a Democrat affiliation if you wish to vote for Clinton or Sanders or a Republican affiliation if you plan to cast a vote for any of the GOP candidates. Voters have until primary day to make the change.
Contributed reporting by Taylor Jacobs.