It's been a wild year on the campaign trail. The stage has been set. Contenders picked. Now the country is bracing to vote for the next president of this glorious country. Will it be secretary Hillary Clinton who has been called the most qualified candidate of all time? Or Donald Trump? Billionaire businessman turned reality star who is promising to make America great again?
David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University says although Clinton and Trump are the last standing candidates, they are the least two popular nominees in the last 40 years. Schultz says we haven't seen an election year like this one in recent American history. "This is in many ways, the first one that I would say is not ready for primetime TV. Between the accusations of Bill Clinton and his infidelities, Donald Trump and the 'Access [Hollywood]' video about women-
this is certainly the kind of stuff you don't have a lot of kids, young kids be able to watch.
We wanted to get a general consensus of who Minnesotans are voting for in the upcoming election. So we took to the streets to find out. Two thirds of the locals we spoke to said they will be voting for Hilary Clinton, less than a third said they will be voting for Donald Trump and the rest were undecided. One voter said he will be voting for democratic nominee Clinton because she is the most qualified candidate, another said they will vote for her because she is the lesser of 'two evils.' Those who are voting for Trump say they are tired of the 'same old, same old' under Barack Obama's presidency and says Clinton will not bring about change. Others voting for Trump say they want someone who is strong. One undecided voter explained she is looking for a future president that will address the current issues that face the nation today.
However, addressing issues have seemed to be lost in translation as presidential hopefuls Clinton and Trump focus on one others character flaws. "On Trump's side, he really has made the issue of character a big support for him saying that he is the kind of person who will bring about real change in Washington. Clinton on the other hand, I think has wanted to talk about public policy, but for a variety of reasons, the email scandal continues to dog her," explains professor Schultz.
So then what are the top issues among voters? Those we spoke to said the economy, debt, terrorism and the "ISIS situation", marriage equality, climate change, minimum wage and having the right president in office.
The 2016 elections has been a bumpy ride and rightfully so. Much of this election has been about character assassination and highly unforgivable mistakes. Clinton's emails, Trump’s vulgar, sexist language towards women, Clinton’s untrustworthiness, Trump’s tax records or lack thereof and the list goes on and on and on.
I sort of describe it as the Jerry Springer show without Jerry Springer. People want to tune in and watch it because they want to see what's going to happen next. And there's a lot of electricity there. I think for partisans, they love the idea if Trump says to Clinton 'I'm going to put you in jail.' Clinton people love it when she makes accusations in terms of him not being sorry. So, that just adds to the fuel. -Professor Schultz.
Schultz adds both candidates are using fear in different ways. "Trump is using fear of immigrants, fear of Muslims and Clinton is using fear of Donald Trump."
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has strongly voiced his opinion on combating Terrorism, citing Muslims immigrants and calling for a ban- once suggesting Muslims living in the U.S. wear a badge naming their religious identity. This drew outrage among many Americans, as well as support. We decided to do a social experiment to get people's thoughts.
First, we presented a highly educated, driven young man in his 30’s who works for a fortune 500 company. He’s been on work visa for over 10 years. He's also an Arab and Muslim.
We asked locals if they thought he should be supported by the US government to stay and complete his immigration process.
One Trump supporter said no. "When we got 'em coming over here, people bombing, bombing us, blowing us up. This never use to happen when I was a kid and it just seemed like a lot more safer and nobody would mess with the U.S. But now, everybody is taking their shots at us. I think everybody should be sent back to where they came from just to see how everything works out to get our business straighten out at home." Others said yes, the U.S. should support his path to citizenship. One woman said he's proven he's not the 'ISIS' type and she would be comfortable sitting next to him or even talk to him.
At the same time, we turned the tables and asked the same question to the same people, but presented another young man who is also smart, driven, holds a high ranking position at a great company and is on a work visa from England with hopes to become an American citizen. A Clinton supporter said he doesn't see the difference between both men and that the U.S. should support the both of them to become citizens. The same Trump supporter said everyone on Green Cards, visas and work permits in America should be sent back to their countries and that we should take care of our own [citizens], as well as our own issues and problems before we let them come back to the U.S.
Exercising Your Right to Vote
For most of the 2016 race to the White House, Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump have been in dead heat. But according to ABC’s latest News inaugural 2016 election tracking poll, Hilary now leads her opponent by 9 points among likely voters. "The entire election is all about a handful of swing voters and a few swing counties and a few swing states that are going to decide things. There's only about 10 or 12 states that are really in play at this point, within those 10 or 12 states there's only a few counties that really matter. Whoever wins those counties, wins those states and wins the election," explains Schultz.
Before 40 years ago, 15 percent of the population identified as swing voters. Today, that number has decreased to 5 percent of American voters.
Schultz says people weren't as attached to their partisan political positions as they are now. "So it's really critical that it's about the turnout. It's really about how well she [Clinton] versus Donald Trump are going to be able to mobilize their voters and bring over those last minute swing voters to their side."
In the last 2012 presidential election, Minnesota led the nation with more than 76 percent of eligible Minnesota voters casting ballots. According to Pew Research Center, millions of Americans have already cast their vote for the next 2016 U.S. president, forecasting this year’s voter turnout to break records.
So what are the requirements to vote in Minnesota?
1) Must be in the state 20 days prior to voting; 2) Must be a resident in the precinct where you will be casting your vote 3) Cannot be convicted of a Felony 4) Register
To find your polling place, go to the Minnesota Secretary of State polling place locator in order to register and cast your vote at your nearest district.