Presidential candidates pass through Connecticut

Bernie+Sanders+supporters+gather+to+hear+his+speech+and+rally+on+Sunday%2C+April+24.+

Bernie Sanders supporters gather to hear his speech and rally on Sunday, April 24.

Victoria Simpri

Bernie Sanders supporters gather to hear his speech and rally on Sunday, April 24.
[/media-credit] Bernie Sanders supporters gather to hear his speech and rally on Sunday, April 24.

With the presidential primaries finalized in Connecticut, students should begin to prepare for the presidential election on Nov. 8, according to political science professor Scott McLean.

McLean said voting is one of the most important things a person can do as an American citizen.

“[Voting is an] obligation that each of us have, and it’s an obligation to make our voice heard,” he said. “I often hear ‘my voice isn’t heard’ or ‘nobody’s listening.’ Well, your voice is your vote, if you’re not voting, you don’t have a voice.”

Donald Trump won the Republican primary in Connecticut with 57.9 percent of the votes, followed by John Kasich who had 28.4 percent of the votes, according to the Associated Press. Ted Cruz lost the Connecticut primary, only getting 11.7 percent of the votes. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary in Connecticut with 51.8 percent of the votes while Bernie Sanders lost with 46.4 percent of the votes. In both the Democratic and Republican primaries, the remaining 2 percent of votes were those who either abstained or didn’t vote for a major candidate.

In preparation for the Connecticut primaries on April 26, presidential candidates held campaign rallies across the state. Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton rallied in New Haven and Hartford between April 21-25. Clinton also visited Bridgeport on April 24. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held rallies in Waterbury and Bridgeport on April 23.

Freshman Lauren O’Brien said politics piqued her interest a few years ago and believes it is important for students to keep up to date on the presidential election.

“Voting is so important. If you want to see a change in the world, you have to go out and vote for it. You can’t expect someone to do it for you,” she said. “I feel like everyone should be invested in how the future looks, and if you want it to be a certain way, you have to put yourself out there and work for it.”

O’Brien attended the Sanders rally in New Haven on April 24.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” O’Brien said. “Everyone was so nice. It was really cool to be around people who share most of the same core values and ideas and are so passionate about something that I’m so passionate about.”

Freshman Elizabeth Cardone also attended the Sanders rally in New Haven. This was the first rally that Cardone has attended because it is the first election she can vote in.

“I’d never been to a rally before so it was definitely a really cool experience,” she said. “Even if you’re not too into politics or you’re not swaying towards one candidate I would definitely recommend going.”

O’Brien described hearing Sanders speak as dynamic.

“Hearing him speak was crazy powerful. He said everything like his major campaign ideas and to hear the crowd reacting to it was crazy,” she said.

Cardone said she was also moved by Sanders’ rally and the topics that he touched upon.

“He talked about immigration and he talked about LGBT rights,” she said. “I actually thought it was really interesting because he started talking about how Native Americans don’t get enough representation and I thought that was really cool.”

O’Brien said she believes not many students are interested in politics. She took an interest in politics about a year and a half ago and has been keeping track of the primaries by attending events such as the Sanders campaign rally.

Cardone said the importance of attending rallies, especially for students who may not be supporting a candidate yet.

“It’s definitely a good way to inform students. I know not many would even consider going to a rally but it’s just a great way to get the information out there,” Cardone said.

McLean said one vote will not change an entire election, but as citizens and registered voters, it is important to take the job as a voter to heart.

“It doesn’t mean that your vote is supposed to change the world; it just means that you are expressing your views and opinions as a citizen,” McLean said. “It’s a job. Some of us take that job seriously and others don’t take it very seriously. I wish more people would take it seriously [because] we probably would have a better country.”

Junior Kevin Casserino is the chairman of the Quinnipiac University College Republicans organization. The club started on campus in the fall 2015 semester with the purpose of getting people to understand how important politics are, according to Casserino.

“We [as the QU College Republicans] try to get people more involved in the political process so they can have a better understanding of who they’re going to vote for, if they’re going to vote,” he said.

Quinnipiac students are not as involved or interested in politics this year as opposed to the last election, according to McLean.

“Eight years ago when Obama and Clinton and McCain were running, students were really excited. Everyone was involved and excited about it and I just don’t see that for the primaries,” McLean said.

In terms of Quinnipiac students and the election, Casserino thinks that more could be done to get students involved.

“Usually the presidential candidates aren’t even in Connecticut, so I think [students] might have squandered that chance and the opportunity to even see a president or next president,” Casserino said.

If Quinnipiac were to have more political events on campus, Casserino said he believes it would encourage students to go out and vote, which would in turn stimulate the community.

“If Quinnipiac kind of got more involved in the political process, besides just the poll, I think we would see a lot more participation [from students] in elections,” he said.

In order to register to vote, students, faculty and staff can visit www.usa.gov. Some states require registration at least 30 days prior to the election, while a few will allow registration on Election Day, according to the website.