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Narcissist vs. Sociopath: The 2016 Election Through the Eyes of Students

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Narcissist vs. Sociopath: The 2016 Election Through the Eyes of Students

A voter makes his way past a voting booth on his way out of the Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles, Calif. on June 7, 2016

Photo by: Josue Martinez

A few blocks from the beach on Montana Avenue, in a storefront sandwiched between a busy nail salon offering $35 acrylic manicures and a locally-owned gourmet dessert shop that created Ellen DeGeneres’ Red Velvet vegan wedding cake, sits the newly opened West LA Democratic Party Headquarters.

Behind gleaming windows of glass, signs encourage pedestrians strolling by to stop in and buy campaign merchandise. A life-sized cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton wearing a navy blue pantsuit and a welcoming 1000-watt smile stands on a polished concrete floor. The space is expansive and spotless. It is poised to help its campaign workers get the former Secretary of State elected President of the United States.

But although this office is just a few minutes away from campus, for some SMC students, it might as well be in Siberia. They won’t be stopping by to grab a new t-shirt or a shiny bumper sticker. Or stopping by for anything.

They are the SMC students who have no interest in seeing Clinton or her opponent Donald Trump win the race for president.

While they may go to the voting booth in November to vote for or against 17 down-ballot propositions in California, including the legalization of marijuana, the repeal of the death penalty, tax hikes, and condoms in porn, these students have decided they will not vote for the Democratic or Republican Party nominee for president. Neither. No way. No how.

“At this point there’s a lot of controversy between both of them as far as trust issues. I don’t think anyone is fit, so therefore, I don’t think I should participate,” said Gil Cano, a Film student at SMC.

Wearing a Dodger blue tee shirt, shorts and glasses, Cano says he has voted in past presidential elections, but the choices in 2016 have led to his decision to sit this Presidential contest out. Cano says, “Just do your own research. You’ll see why.”

So, why haven’t these two major party nominees been able to gain support among some SMC students this year?

Maybe it’s the nearly inconceivable and almost daily drama surrounding both candidates. The spectacle of seemingly unending controversy erupting in both campaigns has played out before the eyes and ears of eligible voters on broadcast, satellite, cable, digital, print, news, and entertainment outlets with amazing regularity. It’s splashed across a vast media landscape in the monologues of late-night TV and in the ad-libs of comedy show guests. It’s also on social media sites, including Twitter, where Clinton and Trump have a combined following of more than 20 million people and where the 140-character political clashes are epic.

A recently released Franklin Pierce/Boston Herald poll found that 57 percent of likely voters have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, while 55 percent have an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton.

“Trump vs. Hillary is a narcissist versus a sociopath…and she called me a super-predator,” said Jonathan Zeno, an Audio Engineering major at SMC. Tall and robust and wearing a black tee shirt and pants, Zeno, who’s horsing around with two equally energetic buddies near the library, steps aside, slightly bows his head and chooses words thoughtfully as he continues. “I believe Trump is someone whose rhetoric is toxic and it spews hate in this country. It shows how much work we have to do, how much hate and corruption we have in the government and just in society as a whole,” Zeno said. "And in terms of Hillary, her switching of positions just to gain a political advantage…in terms of it being intelligent, it’s a very intelligent move, but if you’re going to be the leader of the free world, the United States of America, I want a leader who I can trust. And in both of those aspects I can’t trust them.”

 

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In the 2012 race between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, an estimated 69.6 percent of registered SMC students voted, according to data on voting patterns at Santa Monica College by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

Emma Toman, a Global Studies major, wasn’t one of them. “It’s the first time I can vote, so I guess I’ve been paying more attention,” said Toman.

What does she think about this year’s candidates? “I just don’t like what both of them have to offer. I feel like Hillary’s too surrounded by scandals…and Donald Trump’s an idiot,” Toman explained.

A recently released Los Angeles Times/USC poll found that with just two months to go in the campaign, the 2016 presidential race is in a virtual tie. A close race between such drastically different candidates is leaving voters on both sides concerned. But for some voters on campus, not so much.

Though not a student at SMC four years ago, Sean Watson, a History major and young, Army veteran did cast a vote in the 2012 Presidential election. But, he says, he won’t do it this time.

“I’m choosing not to vote based on the fact that I don’t feel as if my vote actually matters. It seems as though regardless of what I choose, it’s not up to me or the people around me, it’s up to people — the government, or whoever (they) want to be in power. That’s who will win,” said Watson.

Speaking with a thread of cool authority and confidence in his voice that tips off his military background, Watson said it wasn’t that long ago when his opinion of the presidential election process changed. “My first voting was 2008,” Watson said. “I voted for Obama and then I voted for him again. But I was in the military, and I see how things work on the other side, and that made me less apt to try to choose who I want to be in charge of this country...Hopefully whoever they choose is at least good enough to run the country not into the ground.”

Will these SMC students’ decision not to support anyone become a habit? Or could their support could be re-ignited for the right candidate seeking the White House?

“I don’t think it will continue, because it’s a revolution. There’s a sense of urgency, in youth, and those who understand that we have to have a change,” said Zeno.

While Toman looks forward to voting in 2020, she hopes the candidates then will be people she wants to support. Toman says, “I mean there’s 230 million people in America. They can probably pick better people than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.”

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Narcissist vs. Sociopath: The 2016 Election Through the Eyes of Students

  1. Yahul Wagoni on September 12th, 2016 5:57 pm

    Students voted for Obama.
    Twice.
    This was a vote in favor of their own economic decline.
    Now they are unemployed, unemployable, and laden with debt.
    Only one thing to say:
    “Brother, you asked for it”.
    Now they support HRC, who is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Banking, Finance, and Media industries.
    Deluded people – cave in, go away, and back to your sandbox.

  2. Jose Conservative on September 13th, 2016 10:51 am

    This is outrageous, we need to build a wall. Students dont know anything

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