Student supporters of Sanders reflect on Clinton choice
It is March of 2016. MSU is on spring break. Campus is quiet—but Lansing’s City Hall is hopping with students.
This puzzled City Clerk Marie Wicks, who had far too many students coming in and going out for it to be just a regular spring break. It was almost like a destination spot.
“If you remember, the primaries this year were over spring break,” Wicks said. “But I had students walking into City Hall that day to register to vote in person. Never before that day had I had that. Because who wants to come into City Hall? Nothing fun happens there.”
That day, Wicks said she had more than 200 students vote an absentee ballot. This was noteworthy, she said, because in the past, she’s only ever seen one student vote absentee in East Lansing.
“I started saying to students, ‘what’s getting you all jazzed to vote absentee? Why are you coming in to register?’” Wicks said. “And almost to a person, those students said, ‘Bernie Sanders.’”
And those were the students who helped Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) take the primary in Michigan, Wicks said. Those were the students who believed in his message, who fell for what Wicks called his “personality and dynamic.”
But since the Michigan primary election, the news eventually fell on the many students who were ever-attracted to the Sanders dynamic. Sanders dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Students now have a choice to make, Wicks said.
“Hopefully this will resonate in students,” Wicks said. “Hopefully this makes them think, ‘hey, we almost made this happen. We could make something else happen, too. Something better.’”
Sanders scored highest in millennial voters, and inspired students by his talk of political revolution, political theory and constitutional democracy sophomore Jasen Erbeznik said.
“There’s always a certain rebelliousness in the youth,” Erbeznik said. “Sanders was a member of the civil rights movement in the '60s. There’s always an urge within youth to break out from the standard, and to many of us, Hillary Clinton is that standard.”
Erbeznik described Sanders’ fall as “disheartening.”
According to an NBC poll, Clinton scores very low in trustworthiness. Erbeznik echoes this. But he admitted he is one of the many student supporters for Sanders who has “begrudgingly” switched over to Hillary Clinton.
“She’s experienced,” Erbeznik said. “And we want someone experienced to lead this country, in my opinion.”
Environmental studies and sustainability junior Willow Hassel said it was a long decision process to make the switch to Clinton. Ultimately, with how close the election was turning out, she decided she could not afford to vote third party, even though she doesn’t really like either of the candidates.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want to waste my vote,” Hassel said. “I can’t get behind either of the third party candidates, and I do not like that Donald Trump wants to abolish the EPA.”
Ex-Sanders, now-Clinton supporter and sustainable parks recreation and tourism senior Megan Myslinski said she’ll vote Hillary, but wants the promises Sanders made famous to students. She does not believe Clinton will deliver.
“With Hillary, we’re getting business as usual, “ Myslinski said. “She won’t ruin anything any more than any president ever has, in my opinion. We’re just not getting the revolution we wanted.”