With the Democratic primaries underway nationwide and the 2020 presidential election coming up in November, many Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School students are beginning to participate in the political process for the first time. They will visit the polls with new ideas and perspectives, hoping to influence the political direction of the country.
Students support a variety of candidates across the political spectrum. Whereas many MVRHS students articulate progressive or left-leaning political viewpoints, Wison Riley, a senior, supports Donald Trump. “He is not the monster the media has made him out to be,” he said. Other students, such as senior Hunter Athearn, see Trump’s re-election as inevitable. “Donald Trump is probably just going to win, so I figure, Why not just support him anyway now? He’s Donald Trump, he just does what he wants. I don’t think that he should be the president, but I also don’t think that there’s anyone who could beat him,” he said. Hunter had at first been supportive of Pete Buttigieg, who recently suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination.
Chesca Potter, a senior, supports Bernie Sanders. “I like Bernie because my mom is Canadian, so her family is used to free healthcare and free education, or if not free, like, very cheap. So that’s kind of what I’m for,” she said.
However, she also feels that electing Bernie Sanders could be detrimental to our country. “With the current president, Trump, it would just be going from one extreme to another if Bernie was elected. Even though that’s kind of what I’m hoping for, it would probably not be the best move for our country,” she said.
Alex Rego, a senior, agrees. “Recently, I’ve really been feeling the rift between the parties, and I don’t think that a two-party system is working in our country right now. I’m definitely drawn to more moderate candidates such as Pete Buttigieg, for the sake of binding our country together,” she said.
Students consider environmental issues such as climate change and ocean gyre pollution, as well as college tuition, to be major issues at stake in this upcoming election. Others see economics, healthcare, immigration, and income inequality to be important.
Living in an era defined by technology, these students are influenced not only by their community but also by what they see online. “Mike Bloomberg has done a very good job of advertising his campaign,” said Mikey Cosgrave, a junior, who tries to balance out his influences by reading both left- and right-leaning sources.
Others, such as senior Noah Garcia, say they are influenced by their parents when it comes to politics. Alex Rego gets her news from CNN, NBC, the New York Times, and the Guardian.
Many get news from social media. Wilson Riley receives his information from four YouTube channels: Tim Pool, Sargon of Akkad, Styxhexenhammer, and Razor Fist. “I do not trust [mainstream media], especially since their increase in attempts on censorship,” said Wilson.
Many students see the current political climate as too polarized and divided. Alex Rego desires a moderate candidate who could “appease both liberals and conservatives and all those in between.”
Vito Aiello, a senior at MVRHS, is unsure of whom to support. “I think when it comes down to it, many people make it black and white between Democrat and Republican, especially today,” he said. “At the end of the day, I just want the government to treat me fairly.”