Nervousness, indifference and distrust are just some of the feelings that SF State students have cited as effects of election exhaustion in the final stretch of the 2016 Presidential election.
While it might be easy to assume these feelings were normal a few nights before election day, this issue wasn’t new for Americans across the country. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center from June 7 to July 5, about 59 percent of Americans felt exhausted by the amount of election coverage.
After a year full of primaries, conventions and debates, some students can’t understand how they’ve arrived at the end of an election where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the candidates from the two major parties.
“I think the whole thing is a joke,” said Melissa Moran, a political science major. “How did we even get this far?”
While Clinton and Trump made arguments on hot-button issues in three debates, they also took to Twitter and Facebook for personal and political jousting. In fact, students said that social media has played a major role in shaping their opinions on both candidates, especially as some were still deciding who to vote for.
“It’s really hard because I’m seeing so many opinions on Facebook,” said nursing student Lisa Tran. “And I see that all while I’m still trying to form my own opinions.”
Tran said she started to feel fatigue from the election after Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic primaries.
“I was giving up on this election, because I voted for Bernie,” Tran said. “I already think Hillary has the election, but I don’t know if it’s rigged that way.”
J’Shun Cash, a business marketing major and former Bernie supporter, also expressed feeling less passionate about the election after his candidate didn’t receive the nomination.
“Once Bernie was out of the race, I stopped caring,” Cash said. “ But I watched enough to figure out who to vote for.”
For other students, the presidential debates played a major factor in their exhaustion. During the debates, viewers witnessed moments like Clinton questioning Trump’s judgement based on his tweets, and Trump calling Clinton a criminal.
“It was completely unprofessional,” said Juliana Jaynes, an international relations major. “It’s kind of scary because this is my first time voting and these are my only two options.”
Serena Matthiesen, a business marketing major, also felt discouraged from voting for either candidate while watching the campaigns.
“They weren’t talking about issues,” Matthiesen said. “It was just a lot of snotty remarks made by both candidates.”
For Saul Fregoso, an apparel design and merchandising major, the exhaustive media coverage that Trump received during this election has led to his fatigue. He believes the media has given power to Trump’s platform and magnified his racist remarks.
“He’s getting all this publicity and although it’s negative people still find out about it,” said Fregoso. “But it’s like they say — no publicity is bad publicity.”
Students agreed this election was historic, but for students like Fregoso, it could serve as a lesson on choosing candidates that are determined to serve more than just one part of the population.
Other students, like Tran, who feel disillusioned about both candidates hope that this election will give way for an opportunity for a third party to a hold a more significant weight in future elections.
“They say don’t vote for a third party because that’s like giving your vote to Trump,” said Tran. “But when can we vote third party?”