The Student Blog Post series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
As the election progresses further and further, we can now begin to see who will truly support each candidate. With Republican nominee, Donald Trump, behind in the polls, many followers of the election are already calling it a loss for Donald. Just this morning, Sunday, October 23rd, The New York Times released an article stating that Donald had just received his first endorsement in Las Vegas. This endorsement, coming from the Review Journal, should be taken with a grain of salt, as the owner of the paper is a wealthy Republican casino owner. The main part of the article was centered on this asterisk as they worded it, where the editorial described him in a way of being not the best, but not as bad as Hillary Clinton would be. This brings up a topic of discussion, of how voters often rely heavily on their party affiliation to do the major part of their decisionmaking while attempting to choose a candidate to support.
While this seems like something that could be overlooked, the Michigan Model actually does a great job of attempting to explain this mental/psychological connection between party loyalty and candidate choice. In the article mentioned, the editorial preaches heavily that not one, but both candidates are far from being called to the [platform] to accept an award for moral probity and character. Yet, even with that being said, the right-leaning paper still finds ways to support Trump, as he is the lesser of two evils in this race, according to the editor. An excellent quote from the editor appropriately conveys the type of endorsement many Republicans give Trump when she writes, Mr. Trump represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave
What makes this examination of these topics and models so interesting is the evolution of the two. Many have criticized the Michigan Model for its permanent focus on political party. Donald Trump is a prime example of a Republican candidate like none other. This then challenges the model directly, making it difficult for party loyalists to indeed stay loyal to Trump. Voters who are normally one-sided are now in this new, awkward middle space, where confusion and uncertainty leave voters with less than a certain, definitive presidential choice.
While leaving many classic party loyalist voters uncomfortable, there still is a silver lining within the race. This is the fact that this presidential election actually encourages you to go out and do your very own research on facts, issues covered, and each candidates stances. It is forcing our voting population to possibly not rely on the party to vote, however to be more involved with choosing the president. And with that extra knowledge, we are one step closer, as a nation, to becoming a smarter voting population.
Paul Pacheco is a fourth-year political science student major who enjoys the gym, fashion, and cars. He plans on a long-term real estate and development career after graduating from Cal Poly Pomona.