MANCHESTER, N.H. — At Manchester West High School in New Hampshire, some college students, like Seanna Kelly, 17, embrace being within the coronary heart of the presidential marketing campaign. She has been attending stump speeches along with her mother since 2016.
“I went to see [former New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie, and then I went to see [2016 Democratic nominee Hillary] Clinton at a town hall. And so I started getting into it — not as much as I am now, obviously,” Kelly mentioned.
Kelly has even subscribed to all of the candidates’ e-mails. And within the final 12 months, she’s met Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Corey Booker.
“I was impressed by Buttigieg and Booker a lot, because I could tell they were really genuine,” Kelly said. “You know, I think that a lot of them have been politicians for so long that you sort of get that vibe from them that makes them feel, not disingenuous, but makes them feel like they are politicians and they do sort of have that that persona on.”
That seek for transparency is a recurring theme amongst college students interviewed on the Manchester, N.H., highschool — which is perhaps unsurprising, on condition that the state was virtually too near name on election night time 2016. Clinton gained New Hampshire, however the hairline margin made one thing very clear: The Granite State is as deeply divided as it’s decisively purple. And this election 12 months, a shift within the state’s demographics might widen that margin.
Pew Research tasks that one in 10 eligible voters within the nationwide 2020 election might be from Generation Z, which encompasses folks born between 1997 and 2002. According to the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy, 69,000 New Hampshire residents turned 18 between 2016 and 2020.
With the state’s main lower than per week away, the highschool freshmen who watched Donald Trump get elected at the moment are on the point of solid their votes for the primary time.
Top Policy Concerns
Of course, not all the scholars make politics a precedence. Maya Gomes-VanPelt, an 18-year-old senior, mentioned she hasn’t actually been following the run-up to the election. Still, there’s no escaping the barrage of TV advertisements. She listed off some first names of Democratic contenders, however when requested about Elizabeth Warren, her response would strike worry within the Massachusetts senator’s camp.
“I have not heard of her,” she mentioned.
It doesn’t imply Gomes-VanPelt isn’t being attentive to points. These college students, most of whom will have the ability to vote in subsequent week’s main, listed local weather change, gun violence, racial equality and border safety as considerations. But the problem most high of thoughts? Health care.
“I know for a lot of people, that’s hard, especially for myself, my family. Things are tight for a lot of people,” Gomes-Van Pelt mentioned.
Her good friend, Amber Partlow, 17, mentioned she has stronger opinions about well being care than some other matter, and tied it into her considerations about the price of residing and New Hampshire’s minimal wage of $7.25 an hour.
“And if [people] can’t afford college, they can’t afford to further their education and become more intelligent citizens who can have useful jobs,” Partlow said. “Because we don’t want people to be on the state’s health care. We want people to be able to support themselves and be able to pay to go to the E.R. if they need to.”
Garang Kuol, 18, echoed their sentiment.
“My focus is on well being care, as a result of that is one of many few issues that I imagine we are able to work very well on,” Kuol said. “And with the psychological well being points which can be popping out, I imagine that individuals need assistance, and so they’re not likely getting it as a result of there isn’t any stability.”
The Manchester West senior mentioned that due to Bernie Sanders’ consistency on points, the Vermont senator has caught his consideration.
“Bernie has been the same for quite a few years, and his views have always been strong. He’s always believed in helping others and focusing on social issues,” Kuol mentioned.
His classmate, Kevin Shegani, 18, is one other Sanders supporter. Although he informed WGBH News he doesn’t agree with Sanders on all points, he listed well being care as his high concern.
“I think the most important one for me is health care. I believe that we need to do Medicare for All,” Shegani mentioned.
Impassioned younger voters might as soon as once more shake issues up on the polls this 12 months. In the 2018 midterm elections, voter turnout for this traditionally checked-out demographic greater than doubled throughout the nation in comparison with 2014. Two years later, Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life reported that 43 p.c of voters aged 18 to 29 participated within the 2016 New Hampshire main, with Sanders incomes extra of their votes than Clinton and Trump mixed.
Side-Eyeing Mainstream Media
When it involves studying about candidates, some West Manchester college students skip community information altogether.
Garang Kuol informed WGBH News that he prefers to get his information wrap-ups from packages like “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”
“I believe with the comedic spins, it’s a lot easier to take it in. And since I’m not really Republican and I don’t really pay attention to Fox News, I want to see what the other people are seeing from time to time,” Kuol mentioned.
His classmate, John Durand, 17, mentioned he watches native TV information within the morning and a few community information along with his dad at night time, however thinks most media are biased.
“It’s hard to pick which one, because you could watch a bunch of different ones and they all say different things. So it’s hard to determine what is the actual information,” mentioned Durand, who helps Trump.
Seanna Kelly makes use of social media like Instagram and the BuzzFeed app to remain on high of what is occurring.
“I don’t really watch the news as much as I should just because I feel like it can be so upsetting. But I do make sure to keep up on certain news topics, especially when it comes to the election, like making sure that I’m staying up to date on each candidate and what’s going on,” Kelly mentioned.
Kevin Shegani, who’s additionally president of the varsity’s National Honor Society, mentioned he seeks out nationwide information and evaluation on YouTube by means of packages similar to “Secular Talk,” “Al-Jazeera” and “The Rational National.” He nonetheless, nevertheless, tunes into native broadcast information.
“I think I’ve just become less trusting of old media, like cable news, because I don’t think they do a very good job on things like asking questions. Like, I remember in one debate they didn’t ask a single question about climate change. So that was very upsetting,” Shegani mentioned.
John Wihbey, assistant professor of journalism and media innovation at Northeastern University, mentioned given the large shift in newsgathering over the past 15 years, it’s comprehensible that younger folks aren’t as accepting of conventional broadcast information as earlier generations.
“They have a hunger for authenticity. They see through attempts to assert a kind of authority in fake ways or perceived fake ways,” Wihbey mentioned. “If you think about just the rise of the YouTuber and the rise of the user-generated video stream, you see in those videos something that I think a lot of news lacks, which is a kind of candor and a kind of informality and often a kind of self-deprecation. And sometimes it’s snark and sarcasm, but sometimes it’s just, like, being real.”
Searching For Authenticity
Issues and insurance policies matter to those college students as a lot as authenticity. But this latest technology of New Hampshire voters has come of age at a time when media have modified so dramatically and with that, so have their expectations about the way in which candidates talk.
John Durand, a senior, follows Trump on Twitter and mentioned whereas he thinks the president might tone it down a bit, he appreciates this stripped-down fashion of speaking.
“I don’t think it’s politically correct. I mean, sometimes it kind of has to be that way. I don’t feel like everything should just be like, all, like, easygoing. You’ve got to tell the truth of what’s going on,” Durand mentioned. “Like when [President Franklin] Roosevelt did the fireside talk. That was good to keep people informed. If he did something more on, like, a weekly basis, that would be good.”
It’s maybe an unsurprising take from a technology that has grown up with Twitter and YouTube — a technology in the hunt for one thing that transcends the hype in an every-growing media panorama.
Kevin Shegani put it merely: “I think what we learned from the election of Donald Trump is that a lot of people in this country are tired of your standard 1992 politician who says scripted things.”
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