Watsonville, CA — As I interviewed a portion of Watsonville’s youth, mostly 18 year-olds who will be voting for the first time in this 2016 Presidential Election, I report on the feelings of newly minted voters to their second choice candidate. This is an essay about the feelings of Watsonville’s youth toward the election, the current Republican and Democratic candidates, and their remorse over Senator Sanders not becoming the Democratic nominee.
“He proposed a different idea about politically challenging the top 1% and Wall Street. Plus he was old and cute.” Melissa Perez (UCD ‘20), a resident of Watsonville commented as she expressed her love and admiration for the former Democratic Socialist candidate. This was an opinion shared by the majority of Watsonville’s youth. In fact 9 out of the 10 interviewees agreed with this with the exception of one Watsonville resident, Angel Diaz (Cabrillo College ’18).
Mr. Diaz admitted his indifferent attitude to the election from the start. He revealed he did not support anyone at first. “I didn’t follow the Bernie hype because I figured I was going to have to vote for anyone that wasn’t Trump.” Diaz will be casting his vote in his first presidential election for Ms.Clinton in November. When asked why Mr.Trump was never a candidate Mr.Diaz would consider, he felt it was unnecessary explain why anyone in their right mind would vote for a man whose ego is bigger than the buildings he puts his name on. According to him, Mr.Trump’s views on the Latino community are contradictory to what Mr.Diaz stands for. This is a shared feeling that among the densely Latino community of Watsonville.
Stephanie Barron (UC Davis ‘20), an 18 year-old college student from Watsonville, shared with me her frustration and fear over Mr.Trump’s immigration policies. Barron asserts that “Having Senator Sanders as the Democratic candidate on the road to the White House would have had my peers, myself, and my community in a safe zone.”
“Bernie would have secured my future by continuing Obama’s executive order DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], but now I feel as if my hard work in getting accepted to UC Davis might be for nothing, if Hillary is not elected.”
When Ms.Barron refers to Mr.Trump’s immigration policies, she means Mr.Trump’s plan to deport all 11 million unauthorized immigrants from the United States, terminate President Obama’s executive orders which he believes was “illegal,” and build a wall the Mexican government would have to pay for. Without DACA, Ms.Barron, among the other 1.8 million set of Dreamers, will not be able to legally get a job, attend college at instate tuition cost, receive a driver’s license, or be in the United States without fear of deportation.
Watsonville community members Karen Torres (UCSB ‘20) and Alondra Perez, a San Jose State Trojan, among with the other 9 of my interviewees shared similar opinions about the presidential candidate choices.
“I feel as if I’m forced to vote for her [Mrs.Clinton] because there’s no better option,” Perez complained. Torres added, “I was disappointed that Bernie was out of the race and Clinton and Trump are my only choices.”
Watsonville’s youth is evidently torn over the end of Mr.Sanders’ presidential campaign. A great number of them feel as if Msr.Clinton is the only choice left. Many, however, admit they distrust her commitment to them.
Brian Navarro (Cabrillo College 18’) said, “I can say that I’m not leaning towards any side. On the Democratic side, I hate the candidate they have up for election because of her track record, primarily with the establishment politics that are running every aspect of this country domestic and foreign. And on choosing the Republican side….a candidate that I think would run this country into the dirt and just can’t find it in myself to vote for.”
Mr. Navarro later informed me that he would rather not perform his civic duty, as he could not bear to support either side. Juan Ortega (CSUS ‘20), another Watsonville resident, shared this belief as well. Both are discontented with the presidential choices, so instead they would rather abstain from voting this election. When I asked if they would consider the Green Party as a choice, they concurred, “voting for the Green Party is a vote wasted.” It’s a common belief in America that voting for a third party is “is futility in its purest form.”
One another hand, Sergio Ibarra(Cabrillo College ‘18) is a rare specimen in Watsonville’s voter turnout. Sergio allies himself with the Green Party. Mr. Ibarra supports the Green Party and its nominee Jill Stein because he believes in her policy that healthcare should be a right for everyone. Mr. Ibarra also agrees with Ms.Stein on the matter that no person should be in debt for checking into a hospital, and her fight to break up the monopolies of big banks and Wall Street.
Mr.Ibarra says he cannot support Hillary Clinton even though he was a Bernie supporter in the past. Critical of Mrs.Clinton for her plan to reset U.S. policy with Israel and Palestine, he explains, “Our tax money is going to Israel so they can bomb hundreds of innocent lives, including children.”
Watsonville’s liberal hearts and minds continue to dwell on Senator Sanders not becoming the Democratic nominee. However, many still feel responsible enough to cast their vote this November for Mrs. Clinton. Although she is not the most desirable, a majority of the voters have come to accept they will vote for the “lesser of two evils,” as distress a Trump presidency continues to worry Watsonville’s large Latino community.