Election Aftermath: University of Arizona Students Talk About Life In A Trump Presidency

Young voters have mixed feelings about the results of the 2016 presidential election, including first-time presidential voters at the University of Arizona.

Nationally, 56 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and 35 percent voted for Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to an analysis of exit polls done by USA Today.

Of those voters, the 70 percent who were white favored Trump over Clinton, 58 percent to 37 percent.  Blacks, Latinos and Asians voted about 2-to-1 for Clinton.

Young Tucson voters shared their reasons for why they voted for the party they did, along with their hopes and fears for the future of our country.

— Sammy Minsk, Clayton Soileau and Eileen Kerrigan

      Crystal Yabes didn’t vote in the presidential election and she didn’t like the outcome. She says she’ll be better prepared next time.

By Claudia Johnson and Morgan Buttafuoco

Crystal Yabes, a sophomore pre-business major at the University of Arizona is an outgoing 19 year-old woman who enjoys talking with her friends, hanging out on University Boulevard, and watching Netflix during her spare time.

In her second year at the UA, with a bunch of business classes under her belt, she is feeling more confident about her business knowledge. Her understanding of politics is still a gray area. She decided to not participate in her first presidential election.

She is from Sacramento, California but now lives in Tucson, which made her unsure where she should register. Yabes said the main reason she did not vote was because it was hard to figure out if the “facts” that people were throwing around were true, or if people were just stating their opinions.

”I don’t really watch anything, and then you hear other people’s viewpoints, you get confused on what they believe in and what’s correct. Just hearing everyone talk about it, I wasn’t sure what’s the right choice and who to vote for, so I just didn’t vote,” said Yabes.

Yabes said she was disturbed when Republican Donald Trump was elected. She said that in the future she plans to have a better understanding of politics and its effect on her future. “I will get more involved and slowly adapt to everything that’s happening in the political world,” said Yabes.  

Yabes said she did not discuss the election with her parents but said that her parents voted for Trump. She said that her Asian-Filipino parents agreed with Trump’s opposition to abortion and liked his proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act.

Brandon Gunningham says many of his friends can’t believe he voted for Donald Trump.

By Melissa Vasquez and Tori Cutcher

Brandon Gunningham, 19, cast his first vote in November. Like many voters, he found himself picking between the lesser of two evils and, for him, that option was Donald Trump.

Gunningham, a sophomore studying mathematics at the University of Arizona, also works as a financial advisor for Primerica, a financial advising and insurance company. Gunningham said he based his vote largely on the economic policies presented by both candidates. “He will help us improve our economy. I hope he gives more jobs, maybe he might not resolve debt, but he can decrease spending”, he said.

Gunningham chose to focus on the economic well-being of the country rather than social issues. “This country is socially OK. We let people believe what they want, do what they want as long as it doesn’t infringe on others’ rights”, he said. “We are a nation that values consumerism, capitalism”.

Like many first time voters, Gunningham’s main source of information for this election came from listening to his parents. His dad’s opinions began making sense to him, he said.

Gunningham also watched the presidential debates to form his own views about the candidates.

While Gunningham is content with the election results, he realizes that many are not. He said he prefers to avoid conflict with those who don’t agree with his choice. “I don’t go out of my way to tell people because they get in my face.”

Gunningham prefers to stay away from the subject, especially with Hispanic friends. “Some gave me the ‘stink-eye’ when I told them,” he said, while others, “couldn’t believe it

Gunningham said he hopes that the division created by the election will wane. His career goal is to become a business owner and help people who are in need. And then there’s his dream goal to “sell coconuts on the beach

PhRenatoh Lawrence has lots of reasons to fear a Trump presidency but says he “understands’ why people voted for Trump.

By Jordan Williams and Elena Gonzalez

PhRenatoh Lawrence, 19, said the outcome of the presidential election was disturbing to him as a member of the transgender community and as an African-American.

As a member of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), Lawrence values neutrality and tries to keep opinions about politics separate from ROTC. “I have to separate myself as an individual from when I’m in unit, because being part of the unit. our entire mindset has to be neutral,” said Lawrence. “We cannot speak of it, we cannot pick sides, we can’t disagree on them.”

This neutrality has influenced the way Lawrence sees politics. “It’s made it so that I am good at being able to be a neutral force,” said Lawrence. “Even as an individual I don’t attend protests because if people saw me and knew that I was a part of [ROTC] would they feel comfortable seeing me there?”

Though upset with the outcome of the election, Lawrence can understand why Donald Trump won. For him, it was a matter of resistance to change. “America does not want to change,” said Lawrence.

White people have always been the majority and politicians have catered to them, said Lawrence. “So to have it where it’s not like that anymore, it’s probably disconcerting to them.”

Trump’s victory has had an adverse effect on Lawrence as a transgendered man. “As a trans-man it has made it more difficult for me to want to tell people, especially my more conservative friends,” said Lawrence. “All that progress I feel is going to be shut down. It’s making me wary of how I would be able to go about it.”

Lawrence’s plans to transition from female to male are on hold. “For me personally I’m very scared and worried because all my plans that I’ve had have been shut down momentarily because I don’t know how things are going to happen over the next four years,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence feels like Trump’s victory is also a loss for him as an African-American. “It’s been a spit in the face,” said Lawrence. “I feel spit upon because we were finally having all these things being out in the open. People were being more vocal.”

Lawrence said the Obama presidency was a good time for him. “It was very comfortable for me over these past eight years,” said Lawrence. “No matter what anyone says, I’ve felt extremely comfortable for once.”

Donald Trump’s economic policies and her family’s conservatism influenced Chantelle Sandin’s vote for him.

By Amanda Sladek and Megan Lange

Chantelle Sandin, a sophomore at the University of Arizona majoring in public health, voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election based largely on the way she was raised and on Trump’s policies. 

She said she was raised in a conservative household. “That’s just the way that I’ve been my whole life,” said Sandin.

She said that her parents’ political affiliation did dictate her decision. It was “all that I knew,” said Sandin.

Trump’s scandals had no impact on her decision and she said the accusations of sexual assault, among other things, were “blowing everything out of proportion.”

Sandin , 19, works at Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, a veterans’ hospital in Tucson, and is enthusiastic about Trump’s support for the military. “He’s making sure veterans get quality care.” She said medical attention and availability are slim due to the lack of updated technology in some veterans’ facilities.

She also believes in Trump’s ability to handle the country’s finances. “He’s gone bankrupt before and then he’s become rich again and then bankrupt and rich so if anyone knows how to handle finances I’m pretty sure it’s him. Most people who go broke stay broke,” said Sandin.

Ricardo Montejano worries that his parents will be deported.

By Carmen Valencia and Leonard Moody

Ricardo Montejano, born in Los Angeles, is a third-year student at the University of Arizona. Montejano’s parents immigrated to the United States in 1996 and he was born a week later. He said his parents’ fear of deportation has heightened since the election.

“The unknown is scary. Am I afraid that Trump will build a wall and deport my parents? Yes . Is it going to happen soon? We have to wait and see,” said Montejano.  

Montejano said he is exploring avenues for his parents to legalize their status. “I definitely feel the pressure. I have already spoken with a lawyer. Once I turn 21, I will immediately start the process,” said Montejano.  

Montejano fears a rise in discrimination. “I see a lot of, not necessarily hatred, but (being) looked down upon just because of the fact that my family and I are colored,” Montejano said.  

“I’m not surprised that Trump won. This country still has a lot of racism, just two decades ago it was all focused on African Americans and now it’s evolving to both Hispanics and African Americans,” said Montejano.

“I’m going into the medical field. If I were to apply for a job position against a white person, I fear that because of the color of my skin I wouldn’t get hired,” said Montejano.  

Montejano said he is trying to keep a positive attitude: “Believe you’re going to stay here, pray every day, go to work, pay your bills, keep fighting. Don’t let this huge setback stop you from living the American Dream,” he said.

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