The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

The Student News Site of Rhinebeck High School

Rhinebeck Reality

First-Time Voting Seniors Face Difficult Election Year

Art by Hunter Gutterman

The 2024 election has sparked controversy among many, especially concerning the candidate options.

Decisions facing the election may be challenging for many, especially first-time voters. Seniors turning eighteen are allowed to vote, but some are already not looking forward to the current selection of candidates.

Sophia Schofield, a voting senior, notes her dilemma: she feels “Like it’s default because one of the candidates is a criminal but the other one is concerning because of his age.”

Killian Briggs, another voting senior, explains, “It’s a difficult decision, because the stakes are high and there’s no one to really root for.”

The voting ballot is similar to last election year, with the lead Democratic and Republican party candidates being the same: Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Another popular candidate, Robert Kennedy Jr, an Independent, has also made an impact. He is currently winning some support around the country. However, both parties are worried that he will take away votes from Biden and Trump respectively.

Seniors are concerned about RFK Jr due to his involvement with an anti-vaccine group in the past, although he claims to now be focused on making vaccines safer, not being against them. Descending from the Kennedy bloodline, support would be expected from the family. However, the Kennedy family is endorsing Biden instead. According to CNN, the family referred to RFK’s campaign as “dangerous.”

Former President and Republican Party Nominee, Donald Trump has made many speeches and decisions that voters aren’t happy about. In a speech in March, Trump claimed that if he isn’t elected “It’s going to be a bloodbath,” and that “If this election isn’t won I’m not sure that you’ll ever have another election in this country.”

This rhetoric caused concern among many Americans because of the controversy surrounding the January 6th riot in 2021. Because Trump has such an influential voice, his quote comes across as a threat that another violent event could happen if he loses.

Trump is also currently juggling four criminal trials during his election campaign. According to CNN Politics, Trump is facing “at least 88 charges over the four indictments in Georgia, New York, Washington, DC, and Florida.” Trump pleads not-guilty to all.

Incumbent Joe Biden faces Trump again this year. However, he doesn’t have nearly the amount of support as he did last time. Voters, especially those in the 18-34 age bracket are bailing on Biden. One reason many are concerned about Biden for another term is his age.

NBC News also explains the concern of voters of Biden insufficiently addressing climate change and Roe v. Wade. While these issues are certainly dragging voters away, one issue in particular sparked a lot of controversies: the Israel-Hamas war. According to Reuters, on October 25th, Biden addressed Israel’s war on Hamas— in particular, the death toll. The Palestinian health ministry reported over 30,000. He was quoted saying that he had “No confidence in the number that Palestinians are using.” But Biden did not explain why he thought these numbers were incorrect. In an NBC News National Poll, 70% of young voters under 35 don’t approve of the way Biden is handling this war.

Regardless whether this is your first or tenth time voting, all voters should continue to be well-informed before making their pick.

Dan Lavazzo, Social Studies and Civics teacher for Rhinebeck High School has observed the 12th graders’ attitudes this year.

“Our seniors enthusiastically registered to vote on the second day of school, and there is a diverse range of relevant concerns among them. I am confident that a vast majority are looking forward to expressing themselves on November 5th.”

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