By Audry Themen
Jersey City, N.J.
On a recent afternoon, reporters from The Princeton Summer Journal scoured the town for opinions on the current 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Though the youth interviewed had varied opinions on which candidates appealed to them, many of the students also had a limited understanding of the candidates’ proposals.
Sophia, a rising senior from Bordentown, N.J., felt that Bernie Sanders was a promising candidate, citing his policies on free college and “Medicare for all” as compelling factors for her support. She likened Sanders to Trump in the sense that he “backed up his words with actions,” though she did not elaborate on the instances where Trump substantiated his words with policy.
Lauren, a rising senior from New Brunswick, New Jersey, also had Sanders as her candidate of choice. As an environmentally conscious democratic socialist, Sanders’ progressive policies, specifically his climate change proposals, appealed to her immensely. Lauren cited Joe Biden as her second choice based on his accomplishments as vice president under the Obama administration.
Grace Hutapea, a 16-year-old from Guam, liked Elizabeth Warren. As a citizen of an island territory, she advocated for action on climate change, especially since the coral reefs surrounding Guam are heavily impacted by global warming. Grace also believed that Biden would be a good presidential candidate because of his history, noting that in terms of political experience, he has a “strong foot in the door.”
Not every teenager advocated for a progressive candidate, however. Friends Shikar, Dean, and Siji, moderate Democrats from Texas, believed that Sanders was “too extreme” and impractical. “We can’t ‘Feel the Bern,’” Dean, a 16-year-old from Houston, said. He claimed that Bernie’s “Medicare for all” policies are “not feasible” and would take “too much time and legislation” to implement.
Siji, a Houstonian, admitted that he did not follow politics too closely, but he does favor Biden. “I just think he’s a fun guy,” Siji said. “I like him as a person.”
When asked which candidate has the best chance of winning the primaries, the three students agreed that the state of affairs were not settled. “All candidates, even the lower-tier candidates, have a shot,” Shikar said.
The other two boys agreed. “It’s really anyone’s game right now,” Dean added.