Election heating up

Morning car rides mean different things for different people. For those who don’t drive, it’s a time to catch up on sleep, eat breakfast, or finish homework. My dad has consistently been listening to NPR during our morning drives since I was in elementary school and it used to be the last thing I wanted to hear in the mornings. But sometime between ninth grade and now, I’ve become the person to change the dial to 90.1. Today, I can’t stand the irritating games or talk shows on pop music stations, and I’m turned off by the sound quality of other news stations.

The coverage on NPR is becoming increasingly focused on the elections, with a new spin each day. Some stories are sad, like the one about the lone man who showed up to an O’Malley event and remained undecided, even after talking to the candidate one-on-one. Others are amusing, like Chillary Clinton just chilling in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or Ted Cruz’s The Simpsons impressions. And other headlines are straight terrifying, like Donald Trump’s declaration that New Jersey Muslims were cheering as the World Trade Center went down. Non-politicians have also found ways of getting time in the spotlight, like 15-year-old Iowan Brady Olson (better known as Deez Nuts) who polled at 9 percent in North Carolina, and StickerKid, who made headlines for dabbing and dancing behind Hillary Clinton in a speech.

As the number of Democratic candidates has dwindled, the focus has shifted toward the two remaining politicians’ shortcomings. Clinton has been disparaged for her email scandals and her inability to woo young Democratic voters. She (along with other frontrunners on both sides) has tried to target a wider audience, from her cameos on SNL to her website, which boasts well-designed bumper stickers, koozies, and pint glasses. Recently, Clinton has gained support from famed feminists Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright, who made waves when they criticized the women who vote for Sanders. Young male supporters of the other Democratic candidate, dubbed “Bernie Bros,” shot back at Clinton’s female voters and accused them of voting with their female parts.

The media’s focus has predictably been on Donald Trump, who’s already been covered in the Bi-Line twice. As his candidacy has become less amusing and more serious (and therefore, terrifying), more parts of the 2016 elections have been covered in relation to him. Ted Cruz’s victory in the Iowa caucus caused such a stir because he upset Trump. Carly Fiorina garnered more coverage after Trump straight-up insulted her face. His success has been surprising to so many, considering his background (or lack thereof) in politics and his reality TV past. Journalists across the nation are set on figuring out why he’s doing so well and what it will take for his support to wane.

Trump’s campaign is filled with paradoxes. In a day and age when people are terrified of offending others, Trump has denounced this worry altogether, similar to the way he discredited global warming. He states everything he says confidently, often either making sweeping generalizations or blatantly lying. He has attracted the most attention of all the candidates though he only began to pay for TV advertisements in January. An NPR article found similarities between Trump and Sanders, from the way they both pronounce “huge” to the outrage they have with the current government. Their anger and votes come from two very different groups of people, both frustrated with Obama’s presidency. The change Obama promised in his campaigns in 2008 and 2012 was either too much or not enough, depending on which party you side with. The things Trump say almost seem like a joke, but a cruel, questionable one. From that time he bought jebbush.com and made sure it redirected to his own site, to the time he said he’d probably date his daughter, Ivanka, if she weren’t his daughter, I wish I could forget his involvement in this race altogether. He’s a charlatan, and the attention we pay him just feeds his ego. Trump’s outrageous statements unfortunately no longer surprise me, and I want to spend the rest of the time before I actually have to vote looking at other candidates.

The other candidates have become more desperate to prove they deserve to be the leader of the free world, and their campaigning shows it. Cruz and Rubio have argued about each other’s linguistic failures and married women are joining dating sites to promote Sanders. Each candidate is working hard to prove that he or she will bring about the most change, and I’m wondering if their performances on debate stages and on social media are accurate representations of their characters.

I won’t tell you who I’m voting for, partially because I don’t know if that’s something you should share so openly, but also because I have no idea. I consider myself mildly educated about politics (for my age, at least), but this outrageous election year has me questioning who I’m voting for and even what I want America to be like.