It is an intimidating challenge to be a young voter in this election. When I was in high school, I used to dread going to AP government because our political system seemed too complex and unpredictable.
Today, I am 19 and have come to terms with the reality that I cannot be an apathetic citizen — I should vote this year.
My experiences at Elon have increased my political consciousness. But unknown issues of this election have sparked uncertainty in an undecided voter like me — and like many other college students, I am not sure which candidate is worthy of my vote.
On Sept. 29, Elon Fall Convocation speaker Bob Woodward illuminated my concerns about the upcoming election in a lecture titled “The Race for the White House in 2016: Bob Woodward’s Critical History from Nixon to Obama.”
Each question he asked was more hard-hitting than the last, emphasizing the realities of today that make tomorrow an unnerving inevitability. With the presidential election near, Woodward discussed the propensities for Americans, young and old, to distrust the political system.
Though there are four presidential candidates, the two major party candidates — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — have transformed the election process into a never-ending soap opera.
The narrative of Twitter rants, groundless accusations and deviation from issues that should matter to the public debunk the importance of the electoral process in addressing critical issues.
Despite decades of intense scrutiny under the public limelight, we still have unanswered questions about these candidates.
The Guardian describes Millennials as the single most important voting block this election, though young voters are not too thrilled about either candidate.
While a significant number of Millennials voted for President Barack Obama during both term elections, Clinton has struggled to maintain the vote, competing with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Trump has also marginalized young voters with his tweets and off-the-cuff remarks about minority groups.
Part of the reason the Millennial and young voter is attracted to this election is because of matters pertaining to education and its cost.
With the increasing cost in college tuition intersecting with the transition from student to adulthood, it is daunting to imagine that one of these candidates will shape the remainder of my college experience. Despite spoken promises on education, there is still uncertainty in how these candidates will fix it.
When he interviewed Obama, Woodward realized that the stress of being president has a physiological and physical toll on the body.
Trump and Clinton are more than ten years older than Obama, yet they claim their health statuses will not hinder their abilities to fulfill the duties as president. Clinton, who I commend for releasing her tax returns, has already been scrutinized for her health status and, of course, her emails.
Equally so, Trump has declined to release his tax returns. As participants in the political process, we expect more from our presidential candidates. An interview on “The Dr. Oz Show” and a doctor’s note do not suffice.
Another important consideration in a voter’s mind is the personal attributes of a person that make a good presidential candidate. Presidents have to make thoughtful — and sometimes courageous — decisions they believe are beneficial for the majority of the country.
Today, we need a candidate with enough fortitude to make decisions that will benefit us. When Americans have to choose between two polarizing figures — an egotistical, racially divisive billionaire and a calculated bureaucrat — there will be disagreement no matter the outcome.
We need a candidate with a temperament to accept dissenting voices. With this in mind, young voters are uncertain how to proceed when the personal attributes of these candidates are in question.
The major party candidates of the 2016 presidential election pose unknowns and uncertainties that concern an undecided voter like myself. In the final moments of his speech, Woodward captured the mood of the undecided voter: “What I really worry about is that we don’t know what goes on in the centers of power.”
In 2016, we should expect more from our candidates, and we deserve more from our candidates.
Now more than ever, the undecided voter needs a candidate who will discuss these unknowns and uncertainties in the White House with a vision to unify the country.