As Clinton lead grows precarious, early voting shuttle for students sees little interest in crucial Tampa Bay area

click to enlarge USF's early voting shuttle waiting to pick up more students - via For Florida's Future
via For Florida's Future
USF's early voting shuttle waiting to pick up more students

At the risk of this sounding like a hot take, I have to say that Donald Trump might actually have a chance.

Halloween may be over, but this election is a nightmare we can’t wake up from.

The group For Florida’s Future has spent the last two weeks on the USF campus for its final week of the Shuttle Together Program, and this time with a special guest, State Representative-elect Sean Shaw, D-Tampa, hope to excite young voters.

There seems to be an enthusiasm gap among college students, many of whom were excited over Sen. Bernie Sanders' Democratic primary run but nonplussed with Hillary Clinton. Shaw and For Florida's Future are hoping to get younger people excited about Clinton, given how her vision includes things like debt-free college for many and the ability to refinance student loans.

Alas, it doesn't seem to be working, at least not at USF, a massive campus that sits within the coveted Tampa Bay region, which both major party candidates' campaigns deem crucial.

With Halloween still in the air as their efforts wore on, Shaw and others offered a horror story of their own: college students like you voted for a third party candidate, or didn't vote at all, leading the United States of America to opt for being represented by the most unqualified major party candidate in recent memory.

For many, myself included, the fact that we are here seems like a dream.

Yet here we are, just days from an election in which the Democrat may have had some great ideas, but voters in key groups just weren't as excited about Clinton as they were President Obama.

“There’s not the level of excitement there should be, particularly among African Americans,” Shaw said, adding that voters also need to pay attention to down-ballot races, which have more of a direct impact on communities.

Hoping to summon the same enthusiasm that got him to the White House, Obama has been campaigning hard for Clinton, and will rally with her in Florida the day before the election. 

But getting people fired up via a president who's beloved among Democrats (however reviled on the right) doesn't always translate to votes when attendees leave a rally.

Which is where I think the nightmare comes in.

One of the spokespersons for For Florida’s Future told me that although they have had over 200 people sigh up for the shuttles, a good number of them never actually showed up. Of course, they don't require that you vote any specific way, so it could be just as many Trump voters as there are for Clinton, so I decided to ask students their views on the election.

As it turns out, there were as many people with a distaste of Trump as there were with a distrust of both Hillary and Trump. There are countless memes on social media joking (read: begging) that we should give Obama a bit longer until we can come up with better choices. Reminders that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are third party options aren’t that further behind, and if you scroll long enough, you’ll find that people are still riding the Bernie Sanders train.

For many, this seems like a Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue. To others that need to laugh at the situation, this could be a real-life version of The Purge.

Perhaps the enthusiasm gap is the result of Obama effect. For many, Obama was much more than a President. He was a role model, a hero, someone who truly cared not only about his country, but the different groups in America that had been historically ignored.

Clinton's vision would in many ways keep the progress the Obama Administration going, but it's clear that many young people just aren't seeing that yet, and may not until it's too late.

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