AHS Views On the PA Primary: Kasich preferred, Clinton and Sanders Supported

At the heart of the Avonworth community the Senior class of 2016 has the honor to take part in what will be truly a historical race. Both the Republican and Democratic PA primaries on Tuesday, April 26th held meaningful significance for students ready to use their voting right for the first time.

Students willing to interview with me shared mixed opinions, many of which were not reflective of coverage or polls from most major media outlets. Ryan Kantenwein, a Senior voting Republican, stated that he “doesn’t want Donald Trump to win the election due to his erratic and unpredictable nature.” Instead, he said he “will be voting for the more moderate and sensible Kasich in the primaries.”

Senior Kaitlyn Wieser, voting Democrat, said, “Being a woman does not make me choose Hillary Clinton specifically but it did help me choose my path to being a Democrat. I feel that the party draws more attention to the advancement of women’s rights and the LGBT community.” More specifically about her candidate choice, she stated, “I like how Bernie Sanders wants to move forward and wants to eliminate the 1 percent, but I lean more towards Hillary Clinton due to her experience and how she has more ties to Washington and I think she will be able to get more done.”

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Senior Kaitlyn Weiser, one of many Seniors voting Democrat. Weiser also attended a Bernie Sanders rally in Pittsburgh, but chose to vote for Clinton.

 

With the state primary being closed, only students voting Republican or Democrat could participate, frustrating self-proclaimed Libertarian Senior Jacob Joyce, who plans on voting next November for Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate representing the third largest party in America. So why choose a third party? Joyce sees it as a need to restore political focus and “force the country’s lawmakers {to} adhere to the Constitution. There’s a lot of acts made by mainly federal politicians that violate the Constitution in the name of grabbing power.”

Senior Jared Pekich, a political enigma, chose not to vote even though he was eligible. Pekich refuses to take part in the voting process due to being discouraged by his realization that “my vote was stripped of its true capabilities.”

Despite Donald Trump’s commanding lead in primary victories and frequently strong poll numbers, of the students interviewed, only Junior Noah Lantzy (who was not eligible to vote in the primary) said he would pledge his vote for Trump. “He would do the most for the country. We need to look at the country as a whole and not at the common man right now.”

According to a recent poll by 12th grade POD teacher Mr. Aguiar, teachers had more Democratic voters than Republicans, compared to students. Among Democrats, the teachers voted for Clinton over Sanders while students preferred Sanders.

One teacher agreed to share their point of view, however as PA state law prohibits teachers from using his or her position to influence how students vote, they chose to remain anonymous.

“I’m more conservative than I used to be,” said the teacher, who shared their concerns about the economy, the war on terrorism, and the upcoming presidential election.

They also commented on the Democratic candidates and their appeal to Millennials, both at Avonworth and throughout the country. “Young people today aren’t involved as they should be,” stated the teacher about their view of increasing apathy among Millennials. They believe “we have become obsessed with instant gratification,” which is why Sanders is appealing to young voters.

I wondered also about the community as a whole, so I continued reporting on the story at the polling place in Emsworth after I cast my own ballot.

Avonworth community voters in Emsworth outside of Sacred Heart Church.

Avonworth community voters in Emsworth outside of Sacred Heart Church.

 

I interviewed Tim Donavan, Judge of Elections in Emsworth, to see how people outside of the school system were being affected. Much of his focus was on the Republican primary.

“If the Republicans elect anyone other than Trump then it is a walk right to the White House for the Democrats. They should back their most supported candidate or they’re done.” said Donavan. Regarding Trump’s chances in a national election against Clinton, he stated, “Look, Trump isn’t a politician and people are tired of “established” politicians. And that’s why he is where he’s at. And at this point, I would give him a shot.”

Another active politician in the community, who will be running for Mayor of Pittsburgh next year, is Joe Micheal. Out of all of the candidates, he supported Kasich with a passion despite the difficult odds for earning the Republican party nomination. “In terms of getting to 1237 votes? No…{but} at the convention he could still swing around enough delegates to win the nomination.”

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Mr. Michael not only voted, but had his own political campaign materials for his campaign to become the next mayor of Pittsburgh.

 

If his vote for Kasich didn’t lead to a victory, he didn’t think the GOP would split into factions or a new party. “I wouldn’t say that, but if Trump wins the election, Gary Johnson will pick up a lot of steam. I can’t bring myself to vote for Hillary, and I don’t want to vote for Trump.”

“I don’t care if the president is a Democrat or a Republican… I just want them to be able to reach across the aisle and represent most Americans. Honestly, I don’t think that Trump will be able to reach across the aisle,” said Michael.

As a fellow registered voter, and Senior at Avonworth,  I have realized through my reporting that we are frequently taught by the media that there is a black and white line in politics. Conservatives stand over here, and Liberals over there. But through my various interviews I have seen the true nature of politics and it is all grey. It seemed both voting groups chose Kasich as their number one Republican candidate, yet it is now almost mid May and Kasich is no longer running. With all of the support I have seen for the quiet conservative, his campaign should have been more successful in PA.

This might reflect what I have seen in all my interviews. Considering both students and teachers input, never before in my life have I seen the school so divided on a single topic. Yet I saw the same look on every person no matter where they stood on the political scale. A look of contemplation and concern. With the general election looming ahead I can’t help but feel a premonition of things to come. A violent storm awaits us in November. The popular show Games of Thrones comes to mind. When the old king dies, a bloody war over the throne commences. The rich will battle the rich to see who can get richer. And who will suffer? The common man, the middle class.

The few who were brave enough to speak out against the pseudo-oligarchy were crushed like little bugs. For the past 30 years the middle classes has been slowly eaten away, and whoever is elected will only further the decay of the backbone of this country. Whether you hate Obama or love him I know one thing, we have taken for granted the recent political stability. So although we might be diving into Summer, I know deep in my heart that in this upcoming national election, “Winter is coming.”

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