The 2016 presidential election took place during my first semester of sophomore year of high school. Several of my good friends had joined speech and debate with me the year prior, so we had started to become accustomed to discussing and defending certain political ideals. In the months leading up to the election, we would gather in our daily-designated study hall and log onto isidewith.com. I Side With is a political website, very similar to but not as in-depth as Vote Smart, that allows you to take a quiz on positions and how strongly you feel about certain political concepts and then give your results in the form of which presidential candidate your viewpoints most align with. Being the argument-minded people that we were, challenges to certain people’s candidates or positional beliefs became the source of many heated discussions. I was a political minority among my friends, but that didn’t keep me from holding my own during discussions, and simultaneously appreciating the viewpoints they had to offer. I found myself keeping up with large media companies like NBC and CNN far more on television than I ever had before once I got home from school. I would have certain segments that I would give time to stay informed on how the races were developing, and I never gave a second thought as to why these companies were reporting the way they reported on the things they gave attention to. Throughout this cycle, my first political opinions took strong form, I felt more confident in the ones I had more knowledge on, but I still tried to defend positions I was less versed on. I followed the presidential debates religiously, and I’m not sure if that was a product of my actual interest, or because I knew something ridiculous was going to occur when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton shared the stage. The same people that threw the 2008 election party had an event space rented for 2016, and I again attended with my family members and a few friends. This was what I would consider to be the peak of my involvement in keeping invested in politics.
Fallout from the 2016 Election Cycle
After that bizarre November evening, there has not been an aspect of American politics that has captivated my attention so passionately. Through a general following of political media, I had formulated pretty distinct opinions of the Democratic and Republican parties, this post-2016 period brought on a sort of apathy that took me time to fully understand.