STUDENTS TURN OUT FOR THIRD PARTIES TRUMP, CAMPUS ORGS TAKE STOCK
University at Albany students carried feelings of fear, hope, and frustration last week as the presidential race came to a close.
From 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, residential students and nearby residents came to the Campus Center ballroom to vote. At one point in the afternoon the line stretched outside of the building.
Voter turnout results from the polling site will be released by Thursday, the Albany County Board of Elections reported.
For students like Esteban Badia, a sophomore communications major, this was his first time being eligible to hit the polls in a presidential election. He is also the son of immigrants, and was inspired to head to the polls by his parents’ past ineligibility to vote.
“To come here and eventually have the right to vote, I just felt like I had to [vote],” he said.
While Badia hit the polls to fulfill a civic obligation, Peter Ortiz, a junior physics major, reached the Campus Center ballroom to protest.
Feeling disaffected by both major candidates, Ortiz, a former Bernie Sanders supporter moved to Gary Johnson. Disappointed by the candidate’s performance, Ortiz decided to vote for himself, his friends, and Master Chief, a protagonist from the Halo series.
“I just realized that none of them represent my views to the point where I felt comfortable voting for them,” Ortiz said.
About an hour after Ortiz left the Campus Center, the voting line started reaching into the hallway entrance. Blocking the entrance, students were eventually instructed to line up out the door.
Jenny Dhoumo, a sophomore English major, considered leaving the line several times. However, feeling pressure from her friends to vote, Dhoumo remained in line.
“My friends were like, ‘Do you really want Trump, Jenny?’ and I was like ‘Fine,’” she said. “It made me feel like I needed to get out there.”
Dhoumo’s ballot added another point to Clinton’s lead in the popular vote, but did not hold back a Trump presidency. The president-elect won the race with 279 electoral votes by flipping long-standing blue states like Wisconsin and Michigan to his advantage contrary to prior polling.
Exit polls show that Clinton largely outperformed Trump in 45 states with voters ages 18-29. Despite the lead among millennials, Trump secured the election with working class white voters by wide margins in addition to lower turnout among minority groups.
Although several key demographic voting blocs for Democrats slumped, third party candidates such as Johnson and Jill Stein received a boost in this election.
Kat Slye, a public policy graduate student, believes that dissatisfaction with both major party nominees opened up a new door for third parties to expand their influence.
“I think moving forward, third parties could help move our country in the right direction, but we need to educate the voters that this is not a wasted vote,” Slye said. “I have heard that way too much in this election cycle.”
As Slye remained hopeful about the future of third parties, other students responded to the election results with fear and anxiety. On Wednesday, Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program was put on high alert to watch out for stress among students.
On the same day, Pride Alliance President Laura Evelyn quickly arranged an event to reduce stress for students fearful of an undivided Republican government reversing the LGBTQ protections pushed under the Obama administration.
“We need to conceal those emotions and use our anger in a constructive way,” Evelyn said.
Protests and riots against Trump have broken out nationwide across major cities in the wake of the election results and across the country; protesters have accused Trump of using scare tactics to draw support for bigoted policies.
Aligned with Trump, Emily Aubin, a junior psychology major, believes that stereotypes of bigotry, especially launched at Trump supporters in the wake of election, have been largely counterproductive.
“I just feel like everyone has their own opinions and beliefs and people should come together instead of bashing Trump supporters,” Aubin said. “Trump supporters are not bad people at all.”
For UASBIG, the university’s student-run investment fund, the impact of this election stretches far beyond social concerns. By selecting low-risk, underpriced, diverse stocks in advance, Trump’s victory has had an upwards impact on the group’s portfolio overall.
Although the market was originally volatile with Trump’s rise in the Electoral College, it regained a foothold after the results were clear.
Correlated with Trump’s position to increase military spending, aerospace and defense stocks brought UASBIG’s portfolio up.
“We’ve put the election into our pitches and we make sure that everything is accounted for,” said Phillip Walters, Chief Public Relations Director for UASBIG.