By Kathryn Abernathy, Kasey Cohan, Morgan Gusella, Madison Hyatt, and Rowan Ryan
In the fifth story of an election coverage series, we randomly interviewed students on campus to ask if they feel sexism has played a role in the presidential election, and if xenophobia – an intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries – has been an issue.
Amelia DeWitt, a UM sophomore and nursing major, believes people will make “ignorant” decisions based on sexism when voting this election year.
“They’re either going to vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman and would be the first woman president,” she said, “or not voting for her because she is a woman and ‘women don’t belong in places of power.'”
DeWitt said voters may not be looking at the bigger picture.
UM junior and political science major Abby Carter believes sexism has been a factor in the election. “Absolutely it has,” she said. “I think that’s exactly why Trump has lasted this long.”
Carter said she plans to vote for Clinton in November, and she has been a supporter from the start.
UM junior Summer Weinberg, a public relations major, said she also thinks sexism has played a role in the election, but in a different way. “Too many people are voting for Hillary just because they consider themselves feminists,” she said.
Weinberg, who said she’ll vote for Trump, doesn’t believe voters are considering the candidates’ proposed policies.
UM freshmen Caroline Heinecke believes, “The candidates degrade each other instead of talking about the important things.”
Heineke said sexism is evident in this election, but she doesn’t believe it’s been as big of a factor as others make it seem. However, she believes Trump has emphasized his plan to address illegal immigration.
“All Trump talks about is the illegal aliens in our country and building a wall,” said Heinecke. “But Clinton has also talked about the refugee crisis quite a bit, which in turn, has caused some backlash.”
Sophomore Kathlynn Hawthorne believes that both Trump and Clinton are at fault for the allegations of sexism surrounding them.
“I think that sexism has played a role, just in the fact that Hillary Clinton is the first female presidential candidate,” Hawthorne said. “There’s a lot of feminism going on. You see it on Trump’s side as well with the accusations of him being degrading to women. I think sexism is playing a role on both ends of the presidential race.”
Hawthorne said racism has also been part of the election. “I do think that racism has played a role in this year’s elections,” she said. “Although, I don’t think the issue is as prominent as people make it out to be. I know people say it is a key to his (Trump’s) ideals, but I don’t think that’s really who he is.”
Mignonne Yun, 24, is a UM student studying biology. In recent months, the presidential election has caused Yun to believe sexism plays a large role in people’s decisions.
“I believe people will vote for Trump because they don’t want a woman in office, and that people will also vote for Clinton just because she is a woman,” said Yun.
Yun believes people will not base their opinions and views on the facts and ideas of each candidate, but will vote for one in protest of their hatred for the other. “It is a very messed up system,” Yun said.
Yun, who is from Japan and speaks English as a second language, said she can understand how xenophobia would be a factor. “Most people don’t want to depend on other countries for things in fear of losing power,” said Yun, who has not decided which candidate she will be supporting.