Election Day 2016 is coming up fast — November 8, just two weeks! Many Americans are saying it can’t come soon enough! With polls showing one candidate having a strong lead, the other candidate seems to be setting the stage for some post-election mischief. We asked the Trinity community for your thoughts on the election, what happens after the election, the role of Trinity Alumna Kellyanne Conway (Trump’s campaign manager) and the role of the media. This is not a scientific poll! But the results are revealing of our campus community’s take on some very important issues. Read on:
Question 1: Who is your choice to be the next president of the United States?
We took a new straw poll of the Trinity community now that it’s two weeks to Election Day. As the chart above shows, 84% of the Trinity respondents favor Hillary Clinton. This is fairly consistent with the results of earlier Trinity straw polls. “Someone else” is the next most popular choice at 6% and most people who picked that choice wrote in “Bernie Sanders.” Donald Trump and Jill Stein tied at 4%, and Gary Johnson polled at 2%.
Question 2: How important is it for the losing candidate to concede the election quickly?
In the third presidential debate, and in many campaign speeches, Republican Candidate Donald Trump refused to say whether he would concede the election if he loses. As many commentators have pointed out, this goes against the very idea of democracy, which is to honor the votes of the people. Among those who answered the Trinity poll, 91% said it’s very important or somewhat important for the losing candidate to concede quickly.
Some of the comments that accompanied this question include:
- Extremely important – smooth and peaceful transition of leadership is a bedrock of our nation’s democracy. Especially after this campaign that has been the most conflictful, appalling, upsetting campaign every. Children are upset and crying because of what they hear. It is essential that the candidate who does not win the election immediately concedes, and does so graciously, without suggesting any possibility of a rigged election, and without inciting violence and hate.
- The peaceful transition of power is the underlying foundation of our democracy. A losing candidate can contest a result if there is evidence that votes were not counted accurately, or in the case of a very close count, but to suggest in advance of election that the results are being “rigged” is an affront to our political process.
- I do not think it is important because not conceding does not change the results, but I do believe refusing to concede shows a person to be small-minded and without the character that a president needs to lead our country.
- I am not sure if it is important. I believe the process should be completed fairly and justly. I certainly don’t want a repeat of Bush vs. Gore. [Note: the reference to Bush v. Gore concerns the 2000 presidential election in which Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote but Republican George W. Bush became president based on electoral college votes after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bush on a challenge to a recount in Florida where fewer than 500 votes separated the winner and loser in that state. The situation is NOT analogous to Donald Trump’s assertion that he might not concede defeat, which is a violation of all known rules of political election conduct.]
Question 3: How concerned are you that these things might happen after the election?
Nearly 75% of Trinity respondents fear greater racial polarization after the election, and more than half expressed concern for civil unrest, increased gun purchases, scandals and corruption investigations, Wikileaks, deportations and threats against undocumented persons, and broken campaign promises on college affordability. These are worrisome times!
Some of the comments that this question evoked include:
- I have voted in 40 general elections, and I have never, ever, been concerned for my safety, and for the safety of others across the country. And, in my lifetime, I don’t believe a presidential campaign for the general election has ever created a hostile environment for people of color, immigrants (documented and undocumented), people of the Muslim faith. Yes, this has happened in primaries (George Wallace) and there certainly has been violence in election years (assassination of RFK and MLK). But go through the list – Eisenhower, Nixon, JFK, Bush 1 & 2, Romney. None of these candidates empowered racist, misogynist, xenophobic people to be emboldened in large numbers.
- If Hillary Clinton wins the election, the republicans will have to regroup and reevaluate their approach to how they make decisions, how they represent their party and how they do business. Never in my adult years have I seen such divisiveness within one party. They will have to make a strategic decision to focus on the people of the United States and demonstrate unity, not intentional dissention, within their party, in the House, in the Senate, and demonstrate cooperation with the President. If Donald Trump wins the election, the democrats will have to evaluate their image and identify why there is a perception of dishonesty amongst the party and correct it. They, too, will have to do a better job of demonstrating party unity. Unity and cooperation doesn’t mean that they all agree on all of the issues. It does mean, however, that they agree to respectfully consider the issues that will improve the lives of the people and condition of the United States, regardless of which party presented the issue; and it does mean that they agree to RESPECT the position of President of the United States.
- I’m not concerned about expanded deportations because I don’t think Trump will win. This is why I am also only “somewhat concerned” about gridlock in Congress; I think Trump’s influence will trickle down-ticket and Democrats will take the Senate (and maybe even the House, though I think that’s a long-shot). I am, however, concerned that Trump’s “true-believers” will not accept the results, and that increased racial tension and violence will ensue; some have openly stated this. I am also concerned that more people will buy guns, because they can’t seem to believe that Clinton is not trying to overturn the second amendment (as if a President could actually do that). I’d love to see Celebrity Apprentice return to prime time. And tank.
- Sanders and Clinton engaged in a reasoned economic, social and foreign policy debate for a liberal and conservative viewpoint, respectively. The GOP, not just Trump, is no longer a reality-based political organization. For that reason, again not just because of this election, our democratic and social institutions are in peril. Those who have been most advantaged by American institutions are not claiming grievances because they see themselves as losing their privileged place in society. That makes them very dangerous.
Question 4: Kellyanne Conway, Trinity ’89, is Donald Trump’s campaign manager. What is your opinion of the job she’s doing?
We asked a question about Donald Trump’s campaign manager, a Trinity alumna, Kellyanne Conway ’89. Opinion is split, with 42% saying she’s doing a good job representing her client or doing ok with what she’s got, recognizing it’s a hard job. 44% say she should not be representing Trump or she’s not doing a good job. A fairly large proportion, nearly 13%, have no opinion.
Some comments that accompanied this question:
- I respect her right to choose her path but I do not agree with the choice to support a candidate who goes against the very essence Trinity! That is the empowerment of women (and men).
- Kellyanne Conway knew exactly what she signed up for. I do not feel sorry for her at all. She knew that her candidate has no true foundation of policies, spouts and Tweets whatever pops into his head, is misogynist, racist and xenophobic, and refuses to listen to campaign experts and veterans about messaging, polling, campaign strategies of any kind. She saw this as a golden ticket – she has been an expert commentator on cable news for many years; she has impressive expertise in polling, and especially polling of women and what makes women voters tick in a political campaign. But this was a gigantic step up – the very first woman to be the campaign manager for the Republican Party’s presidential candidate. So, she made a deal with the devil – she grabbed this brass ring, stepped onto the national stage in a far bigger way than before.
- She is doing an excellent job of representing her client! Whether I like her client or not is not the issue. She has been deft in spinning many of her client’s unfiltered comments with poise, grace and assertiveness.
- Trinity is all about empowering women. How can you be a woman and accept the fact that Donald Trump has allegations about sexual misconduct towards women. If she is really cared at all, she would not be representing Trump. And if she did care, the way that they are going about how Trump handles things is preposterous.
- How can any honest observer — how can anyone concerned about good governance, overlook Mr. Trump’s rash temperament, intellectual laziness, narcissism, and fundamental dishonesty? I’ve worked in public relations, and I understand the need to sometimes defend people and policies you do not personally support. But there are limits, and Mr. Trump is WAY beyond the pale. He is obviously unfit to lead the United States of America. Ms. Conway should be ashamed of herself.
- Despite my like or dislike for Donald Trump, I believe she is doing ok with what she has been given to work with. With some of his rhetoric and recent circumstances that have come to light, he’s had an insignificant drop in the polls (which is pretty ironic to me). His campaign doesn’t seem to be suffering so, in my opinion, she must be doing well. He is still considered a viable candidate for the presidency and that is quite a shock to me but speaks volumes about his campaign.
- If anything makes Trump appealing, it probably comes from her.
- I have serious issues with her doing her job at defending a person with such low moral standards…she is excusing inexcusable behavior and, worst of all, blaming others for it to make Donald Trump look better. Yes. We all want to be successful but I don’t know if the price is worth it. I don’t know her but all I know about her is what she defends in public and even though she is a smart woman and very capable at doing her job, I question how she feels about it, when she is alone and looks in the mirror, does she justifies herself? does she rationalize it so she can live with it? I read somewhere that “success is measured by what you gave up to get there”; this makes me think of all of Trump’s surrogates, VP, advisors, etc. It has been amazing how the masks came off of so many people along the way to see what ambition drives a man to do and excuse.
- I’ll give it to her. She has done an excellent job. But as they say, good powers for evil use is still evil.
Question 5: What is your opinion of the role the media have played in this campaign?
While a slim majority of respondents (53%) say they think the media have done a good job showing positive and negative traits of the candidates, 30% disagree with the statement that Donald Trump has been treated fairly by media, a much larger group — 42% — disagree that media have treated Hillary Clinton fairly. A majority, 54%, disagree with the statement that media have treated third party candidates fairly.
Social media plays a big role among the Trinity respondents. One-third say they pay more attention to social media than mainstream media, and a similar proportion say that social media have influenced their thinking about the candidates.
Replies to the last question really give me concern: more than one-quarter of the Trinity respondents say that freedom of the press is out of hand and there should be limits on media. Wow. That’s a very big issue. And 13% have no opinion on this vital topic, a real concern. While 60% disagree with the statement, that proportion seems low and an indication that people are really very frustrated with the media these days. Frustrated enough to limit freedom of the press? THAT is a topic worth much more campus debate in the days ahead!
Here are some of the comments on Question 5:
- Donald Trump was given a tremendous amount of exposure early on by the press. I heard a dollar amount, but can not quote it. I think that is how he actually was able to be presented as the nominee. The other Republicans were fighting an uphill battle to get any press. Every night there was something about Trump. That was unfair. I think that now the media, having realized what they had accomplished have tried to over compensate with the presentation, now.
- Media coverage of Trump and Clinton has been, until just the past 2 weeks, guided by two completely different standards – like how boys and girls are treated so differently in grade school. The boy misbehaves and acts out, and sucks all of the air out of the room and gets all of the attention. The girl does her homework, says smart things in class, defends her honor when needed, and she is ignored or called out for that one time she spoke up for herself. Sure, Trump said outrageous, hateful, horrible things; he attacked people; he Tweeted personal attacks at 3 am. And I get that that is newsworthy, and certainly more entertaining than solid policy statements, promises to continue to have an America where people of all faiths, races, economic backgrounds are treated with dignity, compassion, and justice. But a presidential campaign is not entertainment, it is not a TV show. IT IS THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTY. IT IS THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN. And, so, the media should get a big F for having completely different standards of covering the 2 candidates. Only after the bus video has the media covered this campaign with relatively similar standards. Thank goodness voters have been able to discern the candidates on their own.
- The press has done both a good job and a bad job. They are fact-checking now, which is good, and treating both candidates equally, which seems good, except that the candidates are not equal. My problem is that Donald Trump should not be on any ticket for President of the United States, and the typical rules of reporting and conducting debates are strained in this election. The old rules of fairness seem a big ludicrous in a contest between two such disparate candidates, one clearly not capable of holding presidential office, and the other very capable of doing so, despite the fact that many people in our country do not support her political stands.it seems that the press, by focusing on Trump’s campaign so much in the summer, helped him to the Republican nomination. His outlandish ways attracted attention and garnered viewers for the network news, yet, but now we see where all that attention has led us as a country.
The logical fallacy of moral equivalency is evident in the way the Press treats Hillary and Donald. Anything that Hillary Clinton has done incorrectly can never be compared to all the wrongs committed by Donald Trump. Because Hillary Clinton has worked so hard in public life, she has taken some hits and made some mistakes. But Trump is a playboy who denigrates women, immigrants, people of color–you name it–and has always been out for himself, working the system to his own advantage. He has not given his life to public service, as Hillary Clinton has, and he does not have her extensive experience in public service. He does not have a plan except for tariffs and lowering taxes. The Press is guilty of trying to be “fair,” by treating all accusations against both candidates as if they have equal moral weight. If we were in a real election, this would be the proper protocol, but Donald Trump has shown himself to be a non-candidate whose views are un-American in his outspoken views against people of color and immigrants, as well as his chauvinism. I can’t help but feel that the Press has let the American public down in its effort to sensationalize the news to gain more viewers rather than report the facts and seek the truth.
I find my relief in comedy and the social media; they are more honest that the “civilized” press, like CNN. I have no criticism of PBS coverage or the BBC, as well as certain printed media.
- Media is in the tank for Crooked Hillary, also watch BBC or other coiuntries news sources for real news that is not filtered by media here in US.
- Strongly disagree that freedom of the press is “out of hand.” A democracy depends on a free media.
- The mass media has not fulfilled its mission in covering politics and policy debates for over 50 years. It treats lies and truth and reality and fantasy as equivalent “opinions,” but it’s still somewhat better than social media, which is fueled by misinformation and conspiracy theories.
- This has been another round of “horse-race” coverage –Who’s up today? Who’s down? Who gave up this or that juicy sound bite? The coverage has been shallow and sensational. It has failed to challenge Trump’s falsehoods and exaggerations, essentially acting as a conduit for them.
- It may be the news outlets I select, but I think the media has been softer on Clinton than on Trump. I believe that Trump is more extreme than Clinton this likely has a HUGE impact on how she’s portrayed. If she were running against a more traditional candidate, the media may have been harder on her.
- Journalism is a rigorous profession and we have seen outstanding performances of the media. I’m not a Fox fan but Chris Wallace was outstanding last night.
Well, there we have it! Trinity has spoken! Read all of the results here: Full Results of Trinity Straw Poll 10 21 2016
WHATEVER YOU THINK, WHOMEVER YOU SUPPORT, PLEASE VOTE!
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