Before election season began, it seemed as if Hillary Clinton would be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. However, as the season has gotten underway Bernie Sanders has been pulling in the youth vote at a much higher rate than Clinton.
Voters under 30 are adamant that “Bernie,” is the man for them. They are “feeling the Bern” and only expect good things from him if he wins the nomination.
Out of 25 people under 30 asked throughout Northern New Jersey, three said they were not informed enough to make a decision, one said they would vote for Clinton, and 21 said they would vote for Sanders.
Many people are backing Sanders because they feel he is addressing the issues that matter to them. Caitlin Forde, 23, of Union said, “He gets that the average American is exhausted with politics and politicians, with shut downs and filibusters that only stagnate any progress. He knows that we want change, that America needs to change in a lot of ways. And so far, he’s proven he can stick to his message, especially in regards to money in politics and human rights. That’s impressive, and makes him seem trustworthy.”
Gemma Johnson, 23, of Morris Plains is one of many who does not care about the political party label. She said, “He really wants to make a change, he wants to help the country live up to its amazing potential and you can tell he’s dead serious because he uses the term “socialist” in his political identity. He is a “democratic socialist,” but using the “s” word in general is something people generally try to steer away from because it’s like using a curse word.”
Amy Lynch, 23, of Montclair does not want her fate to befall anyone else. “In December 2014, when I had just graduated college, I was told that the cost of my college education caused my family to lose our house of 26 years. My debt from student loans was well over $100k, and finding a job in my field was a constant struggle. The time came where I got a job within a branch of the federal government and at the same time, I was homeless sleeping in my car. No one should regret the college education they received, because many people do not even have the money to attend college in the first place.” Lynch hopes that with Sanders’s free college proposal other students will not fall into the same type of debt sentence.
Jane Rothrock, 19, of Hampton, is thankful that Sanders is truly invested for the people in this country, “Bernie cares, and above all, he has cared his entire life. He marched for civil rights in the 1960s and defended gay rights in the 1980s. He has been at the forefront of basic human rights every time the opportunity arose. He is the only one that realizes that we are all human beings inhabiting the same planet, and that we all deserve to be treated that way. We all deserve education, we all deserve a living wage, we all deserve marriage. We as a country have the means to give everyone a good quality of life and progress as a people, and Bernie is the only one who seems to realize that.”
Lauren Sharon, 29, of Manville is among those who believe Sanders is more sympathetic to women than Clinton, “More important than my agreeing with him on most issues, is his consistency in continuing to fight for the same causes which can’t exactly be said for Hillary. I just feel he has more integrity even when it comes to women’s issues due to his consistency.”
Others cannot get beyond Clinton’s past. Sarah Decker, 23, of Morris Plains said, “Whenever I hear “Clinton” I think of Bill Clinton and his affairs. I know they’re two completely different people, but it’s just a connection that’s not going to go away.”
Kate Fosco, 30, of Hopatcong thinks that it’s time for new blood in the White House. She said, “I’m over political dynasties. Hillary seems kind of like an elitist and more like a status quo kind of candidate. Bernie seems to be firm on his commitment to break up the big banks and to identify Wall Street as one of the biggest problems with our economy.”
The support for Sanders was not unanimous. Abby Letson, 20, of Hackettstown supports Clinton. “I am voting for Hillary for the one reason that we’ve never had a female president,” Letson said. “That struck me really hard recently and it’s actually unfathomable.”
While Jon Muñoz, 19, of Hampton had a lot to say about Sanders’s and Clinton’s positions on the issues, he summed it all up in a fun way, “Bernie is like that cute grandpa that always makes you happy and tells you stories and makes you feel good,” Muñoz said. “Hillary just reminds me of the grandmother who brings hard lemon candies and then asks when you’re getting married.”
Montclair State | New Jersey