Editor’s Note: This news short about the November 4 elections is being published now because of an editing delay.
By Carmen Rios-Nuñez
“I wanted to cast a ballot for peace,” said David Pantoja, 34, a journalism and sociology major from Astoria, Queens, who registered as a Democrat to vote for Bernie Sanders, but who would normally register as Independent or Green. “I feel like all the other candidates were very pro-war and pro-military industrial complex and I just didn’t want to support that.”
Pantoja, who was wearing a brown sweater, black slacks, and gray sneakers during the interview that took place in a North Building media classroom, said he opted for the Green Party in the general election and voted for Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2016 nominee for President. Stein’s platform included enacting an emergency Green New Deal to turn the tide on climate change, protecting public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators; and investing in clean air, water, food and soil for everyone, according to the third party candidate’s website. The Green Party was founded on a platform of peace, ecology, social justice, and democracy.
Omer Beydili, 20, a junior in his second semester, majoring in media studies and minoring in political science, and who is not a U.S. citizen, said that if he had had the option, he, too, would have voted for Stein. “I don’t really trust Hillary Clinton, but I would not vote for Trump for sure,” said Beydili, adding that he believed Trump is racist. “I am a Muslim. I think he is going to discriminate against us in the United States.”
And though Beydili, who was wearing blue jeans, a black T-shirt that read “He Istanbul” across the front, and navy blue sneakers when he was interviewed in a North Building media classroom, said he watched the presidential election until Trump won the Pennsylvania electoral vote. He went to bed hopeful that Clinton would win. Still, he said he wasn’t surprised at the election results.
“I was expecting it,” he said. “What I’m seeing right now in Europe is a basic global trend and that global trend is nationalism. We see that far right wing parties are actually coming to power. It’s the end of the progressive era and it’s the start of the conservative global trend.” Though both students expressed concern about Trump’s presidency, they remain hopeful.
Pantoja, who is a Mexican American, and whose mother was an illegal immigrant, said that although he was not happy with Trump’s policies, there is a part of him that is happy Trump won. “I think I was happy to see that people could actually make a difference in the election, so it kind of gave me hope for democracy,” Pantoja said. “It’s putting a negative face on the government instead of giving us this image of ‘everything’s okay.’ I feel like it’s going to bring more opportunities for people to be angry and realize what the government has been doing all along, which is using violence to protect the interest of a few, and I think that’s a positive even though it’s a negative.”
And Beydili, who said that he didn’t blame the media for Trump’s upset, said that Trump was a “media maniac” who used the media intelligently throughout the course of the election by saying what he knew many Americans wanted to hear.
“After the election, in his first speech, he actually said many great things about Hillary Clinton, but before the election we did not see it because the people did not want that,” Beydili said. “I think he’s going to change, he’s not going to be the same Donald Trump that we saw during the election and we should give him a chance. For the sake of America’s good, people should relax a little bit, give him a chance and see how he’s going to be as President.”
Carmen Rios-Nuñez can be reached at Carmen.Rios66@myhunter.cuny.edu