“Modern campaign,” “media circus,” and “uncharted territory” are just a few terms that Central Oregon Community College instructors Rodney Hanson and Thomas Barry used to describe the differences in the upcoming Presidential election.
Political Science Instructor Rodney Hanson weighed in on the differences, and said that “campaigns have changed,” and that many voters are left in limbo, wondering just who is deserving of their vote.
With such a different type of election coming up, many voters don’t know where to turn.
Judy Stiegler, a Political Science instructor at COCC and former Oregon House of Representatives member mentioned the changing dynamic of elections and the lack of civil discourse in the process. She also mentioned that this may be witnessing one of the most undisciplined primary cycles the United States has seen.
“It’s the reality show mentality that they’re appealing to,” Stiegler stated.
One factor that sets this election apart from previous elections is the the diversity of political views found in the major candidates. Thomas Barry, a sociology instructor at COCC noted that there is an openly self-labeled democratic socialist in the race for the first time in decades.
“If you fully remove Sanders, nobody is talking about issues of economic inequality, economic injustice, [or] corporate America,” Barry said. Hanson and Stigler also mentioned that Bernie Sanders is giving the younger generations more attention while also speaking up about issues not normally addressed.
“I think people feel left behind by the system,” Hanson said when addressing Bernie’s popularity with the young, working-class voters.
However, Stiegler also pointed out that while Sanders is appealing to a younger demographic, he hasn’t given many specific solutions to the problems that he has addressed throughout his campaign.
Hillary Clinton’s experience in the field was noted by both Stiegler and Hanson. Barry mentioned that this is the furthest a female candidate has made it in the presidential race. Stiegler mentioned that after Clinton’s recent e-mail scandal, the female candidate doesn’t look very trustworthy to voters.
“If she gets the nomination, will she start to move back to the right?” Hanson asked. Barry added that the Clintons do have a dynasty and this election could affect it positively or negatively.
“Hillary has a harder time connecting to her audience. She’s not a natural politician, but she does have a broad base of experience within the National government,” Stiegler said.
Donald Trump is arguably the candidate bringing the most controversy to this primary season.
“America is already a great country” Stiegler said, weighing in on Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Hanson brought up Trump’s willingness to speak out as “refreshing.”
“It’s a news story.” said Barry who also pointed out that the election has become charismatic in a different way. Hanson recognized that Trump isn’t using much Political Action Committee money for campaign advertising, possibly due to his popularity in the media. Trump’s lack of diplomacy and this election cycle becoming a “circus” in terms of entertainment were also key points made by Barry.
“Trump speaks to a certain segment of society who only want to be told what they want to hear … It’s no substance, all ego, misogynistic, and all about him,” Stiegler said.
Donald Trump’s opposition on the Republican side was Ted Cruz, who suspended his presidential campaign on May 3.
“Cruz caters to the people he knows will support him … He points out issues, but doesn’t offer solutions. He’s inciting anger,” Stigler said.
Hanson gave some insight as to why he believes people vote the way they do. He noticed that people often vote according to their socioeconomic status. He also related the upcoming election to the 1968 election where he described the “widespread anger” as similar to the reaction the current election is receiving.
This is a new kind of campaign according to Hansen. A new kind of campaign that will force many voters to evolve.
McKayla Schneider | The Broadside