NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – It can be tough to find the real issues in this year’s election, but imagine what it’s like to high school students seeing it all for the first time as young adults.
“Our teachers are always telling us that this is a very unusual election, but we don’t really have much to compare it to,” said North Haven High School senior Maia Annunziato.
That is one of the reasons for holding the forum at Southern Connecticut State University entitled “Campaign 2016: It’s Complicated.” A panel of professors at Southern answered questions from high school students and other members of the community about what’s going on in national politics. The keynote address was given by Caitlin Huey Burns of the website RealClearPolitics.
“I will never forget the day that Donald Trump descended the golden escalator at Trump Tower and that really became a symbol of the campaign,” Huey-Burns told the crowd of hundreds.
She has been covering this campaign right from the beginning and has watched the death of substance right from the primaries. “We covered candidates who were talking about policy initiatives every day but were eclipsed by Donald Trump and the show that he brought with him to this,” she said.
High School senior Maia Annunziato expressed disappointment that the candidates were not talking about what’s important to her: “I feel like they both move around the point without getting down to what the actual issues are.”
Maia is only 17, but it is voters just a little bit older who could make a big difference in this election.
“I’m really interested in what voter turnout is going to be like especially among young people, who are surpassing baby boomers in terms of their share of the electorate, have a lot at stake in this election, and can play a big role,” explained Huey-Burns.
When the high school students in the crowd can vote in four years, they would like to see some changes.
“I would definitely like to see, once I’m starting to vote, that things improve and it’s a more, just like a polite process,” said Noah Garrison, a senior at North Haven High School.
“Polite” is certainly not a word that can describe this year’s race. Those students are all studying the political process in school and got to hear from someone who is living it as a political reporter.