Mock election fails to predict Trump victory
But nonetheless illustrates the importance of voting
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On November 8, Lancers tried their hand at democracy by casting votes for Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hilary Clinton, Libertarian Gary Johnson, or Green Party candidate Jill Stein in a mock 2016 election in the senior circle during nutrition and lunch.
In deciding the President of the United States for the next four years, however, students couldn’t see accurately into the political crystal ball, clouded as it was by a slew of scandals and heavy personality-driven campaigns on both sides of the aisle. Lancers favored Clinton in the mock election, although Trump proved to be the ultimate victor in the real-life election later that night. Nonetheless, in light of this mock election, the important role that voting plays in presenting the views of Americans cannot be questioned.
Government teachers Lori Colin, Geoff Ranney, and Ceci Juarez all helped organize the event.
“I think that it’s important that [students] get early exposure to what the voting experience is like,” Ranney said. “It also gives them an opportunity to have their voice be heard – maybe not officially, but at least on campus – and any time you can do that, hopefully it makes the process less intimidating.”
“My message to students would be that your vote matters, ” said Juarez. “You all have a voice, and it is your civic duty to vote. Everybody is telling you to vote – that’s what I like about this election. Wouldn’t it be awesome if every student at La Serna went out and voted? That would be great!”
Students also seemed to recognize the importance of casting a ballot, although they expressed more ambivalence towards the candidates and acknowledged that both of them were flawed.
Seniors Aaron Aguayo and Anna Sanchez were volunteers helping students register for the mock election. “I honestly thought that the election was going to go a lot different,” Sanchez said. “What can you do about it?”
Aguayo agreed. “I didn’t expect either of the candidates to move on, so I’m just shocked.”
The views of Aguayo and Sanchez were definitely not uncommon during this markedly contentious election year. According to FiveThirtyEight, before this election, no major party nominees had ever had such strong negative favorability ratings (“Clinton’s would be the lowest ever, except for Trump,” the website stated). Americans are not excited about either major candidate, and this is simply amplified by the tarnishing of reputations of both sides, whether it be with private emails, or lewd and insensitive comments. Perhaps this was subtle foreshadowing for the unexpected Trump win on election night. Senior Reuben Rahmeyer, another volunteer, attempted to turn this election anxiety into motivation to hit the polls, “Even if there’s nobody that people want to vote for, I know that there’s someone that they don’t want to win. It’s important for them to vote. Over the past few years, people have felt like their vote doesn’t matter. The votes go to the Electoral College and the Electoral College determines the Presidents. Your vote matters.”
Despite these calls for action, by the end of the day, only 26% of La Serna’s student population had made it to the polls, according to an email Colin sent to teachers. Of that 26%, Johnson and Stein received 5% of the vote each, Trump received 31% of the vote, and Clinton received 55% of the vote. If everything were to go as La Serna had predicted, Hilary Clinton would have been the next President of the United States.
However, Trump seems to have a penchant for the unexpected. On voting night, he managed to sweep up several Electoral College swing states, like Florida and Pennsylvania, on a path to victory. When the counting of the ballots stopped, he led by a substantial electoral lead of about 50 points.
Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017.