The undecided have decided
Every election season, scads of undecided voters flock to the polls, having only decided that morning — the Tuesday after the first Monday in November — which candidate had earned their vote. This year, however, it seems the undecided have decided — not to vote.
In a Fox News poll of registered voters, conducted July 31 through Aug. 2, one in five voters under age 35 wouldn’t choose between the two candidates, compared to just 12 percent of voters aged 35-54, and only 9 percent of voters 55 and older.
With undecided voters often determining the outcomes of elections, this contemplative fringe group is often the recipient of ridicule and mockery from the media. Countless Saturday Night Live skits, late night shows and even acclaimed news outlets like “The O’Reilly Factor” have played on the shortened words of undecided voters across the nation, depicting them as either stupid or uninformed.
According Frank Luntz of Time Magazine, there are two types of undecided voters.
“The first are useless. They simply don’t know or don’t care about the candidates and/or the political process. But the second? They will decide the election,” Luntz said. They are the none-of-the-above voter. They know a lot about both candidates and don’t like either one. They cannot stomach the choice between ‘crude’ and ‘corrupt’ (their words). These voters are like children living through a bitter divorce; watching with a mixture of fear and disdain as their parents argue, knowing they will soon be forced to choose with whom to live — a decision with no good outcome.”
But why is it that this election people who usually have simply not chosen a candidate to support yet, have chosen to abstain from the polls entirely?
Thomas Zeringue, an FGCU junior, said, “I don’t like Donald Trump, I don’t like Hillary and I would just pick the independent, but I don’t know enough about him. So, I’m just not going to vote.”
It seems much of this disdain is the product of a changing political rhetoric. When the main issues discussed during a presidential debate are Hillary Clinton’s emails and Donald Trump’s penis size, it’s not hard to imagine people being put off by the election.
Those who remain loyal to their party, regardless of who they supported in the primary, will have an easy decision come this November, whereas the people on the fence are presented with quite the conundrum.
In an interview with The Guardian, Kate, a 51-year-old from Los Angeles, California said, “So, who’s left? Jill Stein? No, too frivolous. Gary Johnson? No.” Kate, a 51-year-old from Los Angeles, California said in an interview with The Guardian. She goes on to say, “It’s so late in the cycle now I don’t believe there’s anything that can convince me to vote for any of the above. Most likely, I’ll vote for Bernie, writing his name next to ‘Other’ with a bold, black sharpie.”
President of the FGCU College Republicans, Kristina Kulavic, just hopes that her party wins back the white house. When asked her opinions on Trump, Kulavic said,
“Oh geez — I will stay loyal to my Republican party, meaning I will vote for him. He was not my first choice, but he will have my support,” Kulavic said when asked about her opinion of Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
Social media has taken over political discourse at an unprecedented level.
“This election is literally a meme,” Jason Stevenson, an FGCU sophomore, said
Another undecided FGCU voter, Luke Trumble, said the Comedy Central show, “South Park,” hits the election spot on.
“We pretty much have to choose between a ‘giant douche’ and a ‘turd-sandwich,’” Trumble said.
Since the candidates have secured their party’s nominations, voters on both ends of the political spectrum have claimed that their respective delegations were rigged. Democrats and Republicans have expressed outrage at their party’s chairperson — Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Reince Priebus, respectively.
Following the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) email server that exposed the unfair allocation of delegates in Clinton’s favor, Wasserman Schultz stepped down as chairwoman of the party during the Democratic National Convention on July 25. DNC Vice Chair, Donna Brazile, has served as Interim Chair through the election, a spokesperson said on Twitter.
There does, however, seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. Internet sensation, Ken Bone, captivated the audience at the second presidential debate and may have just reminded us that this is still about the people.
Though people seem discouraged from voting, thinking selecting a third party vote won’t make a difference, America shouldn’t forget that every vote counts.
“Your vote really, really, really counts,” Al Gore said, citing his own 2000 election loss while on the campaign trail with Clinton in Florida. “You can consider me as an Exhibit A.”
Despite the apparent distaste amongst voters, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the next president of the United Sates.