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Taking The Temperature Of The Millennial Vote At UNLV

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

A student standing in for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is captured on the large monitor during a rehearsal for the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016.

As everyone knows, last night’s debate was on the campus of UNLV.

US News and World Reports magazine last year ranked UNLV as the second-most diverse campus in the United States. More than half of its undergraduate students are part of a racial or ethnic minority.

At the same time, the campus is home to thousands of millennials who are registered to vote.

Desert Companion’s Heidi Kyser spoke to many of the students before the debate.

Logan Gifford is a freshman and vice president of UNLV College Republicans. His organization did not endorse Trump, and are focusing on the down-ballot races. He listed the economy, national security, state’s rights and allowing open-carry guns on campus as some of his group’s focuses. But he wished the candidates would reach out more to younger voters.

“If they were really speaking to me as a student, then I would say they would come into the classroom or wouldn’t force me to reschedule my classes,” he said. “I think it’s kind of hypocritical that they want to preach to the millennials and get our vote but then take away from the one thing we’re trying to do to further our success. That’s why I don’t think the candidates are speaking to me personally.”

Ember Smith, a UNLV freshman and honors student who is on the Debate Team, said she wishes candidate talked more about climate change.

“I think it’s interesting in this election, people don’t discuss climate change when it’s a clear … problem,” Smith said. “The effects are starting to show and no one’s really discussing it too much.”

Caitlyn Caruso supports Clinton for president. But she said many young people are turning to Jill Stein of the Green Party or Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.

“They feel disenfranchised. They feel like that can’t vote for Donald Trump because he is absolutely stands for nothing they stand for,” she said. “But they can’t vote for Hillary Clinton (because they feel) they’re voting in favor of a certain community … white, middle class middle and men, white gays.” 

At the same time, there are those contemplating their right to vote for “None Of The Above.” Bruno Moya, a Marine and president of the Rebels Veterans Organization, said he has a hard time considering either candidate.

“I think the boat has sailed for Trump for sure,” Moya said. “If he said anything I wouldn’t believe him. If he said something it would be a last ditch effort … The bad thing about Hillary is it’s hard to be able to trust what she saying. She has the right to change her mind, everybody does. And I think it’s important that people do change their mind if they have to, if they want to. But you’re seeing a lot of inconsistency with who she portrays and who she really is.”


Heidi Kyser, staff writer, Desert Companion 

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.