G.O.P. rejects Trump, Democrats stand behind Clinton
By Bonnie Meibers, Senior Staff Writer
At this year’s Republican National Convention, former presidential candidate Ted Cruz told audience members and viewers at home to “vote their conscience.” At the time, this came as a blow to the winning GOP candidate, Donald Trump, as Cruz refused to endorse him, even at the convention celebrating his nomination.
However, many voters on either side of the aisle have taken this advice to heart.
For sophomore Nick Froehlich, who is an executive member of College Democrats and a former Bernie Sanders delegate, voting his conscience means casting his ballot for Hillary Clinton.
In the case of one Miami Republican, Caleb Stidham, that means leaving the presidential ballot blank.
As Froehlich puts it, no one was more for Sanders than him. But he has already cast his vote for Hillary Clinton.
“Largely thanks to Bernie, Hillary is by and far better than Trump,” Froehlich said.
Sanders, he said, brought a lot of people into College Democrats and got them interested in politics. Froehlich is one of those people.
He came into Miami as a music major, but after learning more about Sanders and what he stood for, switched his major to political science and has been heavily involved in the political process since.
Maggie Bender, president of College Democrats, said that Froehlich’s case has been mirrored across the nation.
“Bernie Sanders brought so many people into the fold of the Democratic Party that weren’t there before and now are going to be voting for Hillary in the general election,” Bender said.
Froehlich cited the $15 minimum wage, breaking up big banks and support for single-payer health care as Clinton platform items adapted from Sanders’ campaign.
“What really makes it easy to support our current nominee is that we have the most progressive platform in history,” Froehlich said.
Jamaira Helm, the treasurer of College Democrats, said that while Clinton was not her first choice, she will be voting for the Democratic nominee in the presidential election.
“I would still pick Bernie over Hillary,” she said. “But there’s going to be things that you don’t like about any candidate.”
While many members of the executive board of College Democrats were originally in support of Sanders, none of them would describe themselves as “Bernie or bust.”
“We still love Bernie, but we are voting for Hillary,” said Froehlich.
On the other side of the aisle, in College Republicans, co-chair Allie Harris was never in support of Donald Trump. She will be writing in Republican Ohio governor John Kasich.
She said she doesn’t support Trump’s “hostile” take on everything and that the latest leaked video in which he makes derogatory comments about women sealed the deal for her.
Harris worked at the Republican National Convention and could almost see herself voting for him, but not after that video.
“I can’t justify defending him and voting for him,” she said. “The latest video that came out made me not want to have anything to do with him.”
Harris said she thinks there are members of College Republicans who support him as well as members who would sympathize with her.
The Ohio College Republican Federation, the governing body for all chapters of College Republicans in Ohio, said they will not be supporting Trump.
Harris said Miami’s chapter will be following in their footsteps.
Sophomore Caleb Stidham, who is Republican, arrived at the conclusion that he would not be supporting Trump months ago.
Trump’s polarizing comments on race and gender didn’t play into Stidham’s decision, though.
“It didn’t even have to get to that point for me to consider [his comments dealing with racial groups and gender] because I had such fast policy disagreements,” he said.
And although he won’t be voting for Trump, he will “absolutely” be voting for other Republican candidates on the ballot, like incumbent Ohio senator Rob Portman. This is what Stidham calls “exercising a protest vote.”
“It is very important for young people to exercise our civic duty. Even if we don’t like either [presidential nominee], there are other races,” Stidham said. “Vote your conscience and vote for who you think will best represent your beliefs, your values and your policy preferences.”