Trump preferred in teen balloting at Steele


By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com



Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Rhyan Opel, a junior, is credited with launching the Young Politicians Club this year at Steele High School. On Tuesday, students chose Republican Donald Trump as president in a mock election.


“I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be our first lady president,” said Payton Jackson on Tuesday.

Sitting at a lunch table at Amherst Steele High School, the junior talked about why she supported Republican Donald Trump in a mock election put on by the school’s Young Politicians Club.

Her classmates — the 230 who voted — felt much the same way.

Those who cast ballots favored Trump, who received 48 percent of the vote (110 ballots).

Clinton received 42 percent (96), Libertarian Gary Johnson was next with six percent (14), and the Green Party’s Jill Stein had four percent (10 votes), according to history teacher Aaron Millet.

Rhyan Opel, a junior, was the primary force behind the nonpartisan Young Politicians Club launch this year as well as Tuesday’s ballot experiment at Steele. She also helped organize a series of election issues-oriented public service announcements via Steele News Live, the high school’s daily TV broadcast.

The self-described conservative leans toward libertarian philosophy. Though only 16 this year, Opel said if she were of age she would vote for Trump.

Balloting among teenagers likely reflects what their parents believe, Opel said. She maintained her classmates put more weight on the emotional and moral appeals of the presidential candidates than in cold, hard facts.

Sophomore Stephen Daviduk agreed, saying personality trumped policy in the lead-up to Tuesday’s election.

He wore a Trump T-shirt and “Make America Great Again” cap as he manned the cafeteria voting station but incorrectly forecasted a Democratic win among his classmates. “I think Hillary Clinton will (win) just because of the environment here,” he said.

Daviduk also predicted an Ohio victory for Trump — in line with most national polls — and a very narrow U.S. win for the Republican candidate, a guess that bucked most polls and electoral math.

Millet, who volunteers as the political club’s advisor, said it’s provided a great platform for debate in the past two months. With the election over, it will likely become a bimonthly debate club.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Rhyan Opel, a junior, is credited with launching the Young Politicians Club this year at Steele High School. On Tuesday, students chose Republican Donald Trump as president in a mock election.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2016/11/web1_DSC_5719-1.jpg

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Rhyan Opel, a junior, is credited with launching the Young Politicians Club this year at Steele High School. On Tuesday, students chose Republican Donald Trump as president in a mock election.

By Jason Hawk

jhawk@civitasmedia.com