UT-Austin students feel anxious about election in polarized political climate

Hairuo Yi, Fiza Kuzhiyil, and Sheryl Lawrence

Some students have expressed anxiety about this years’ election results, saying it is one of the most important elections of their lifetime. With increased student involvement on social media, they also said they feel this election polarized voters more than previous years.

International relations freshman Sam Mills, who identifies as being fiscally conservative, said this election had divided people further based on party affiliation. 

“(The election has) certainly not been conducive to bipartisanship,” Mills said. “It's not been conducive to trying to be conscious of what's happening on both sides. It's been really vitriolic.”

Government junior Giselle Lopez Estrada said she is nervous about the outcome of the presidential election as a progressive, but she wants to be optimistic.

Estrada said social media is now filled with people talking about the election, which she feels is good because people are more involved. 

“People don’t like politics — they think it’s boring,” Estrada said. “That’s changed now. People think that it’s important. This morning someone texted me and said, ‘I have a last-minute regret of not registering to vote. Can I still vote?’ Unfortunately, they cannot, but I got to talk them through this process like never before.”


Estrada also emphasized the importance of the local election, as she has interacted with local senators and said they have yet to do their job and talk to their minority constituents about their worries.

Government senior Andrew Harmon said when he posted on Instagram in support of President Donald Trump, he lost about 1,000 followers and received hateful messages. He said it’s a product of the polarization of this election. 

“I can't really say I'm upset with even the people that made fake accounts and messaged me hateful stuff because I feel like those feelings are a product of the polarized election and process (with) everything that's been going on in the past four years,” Harmon said.

Savannah Lee, a history and international relations and global studies senior, said she usually votes third party, but this year she voted Democrat due to the politicized climate.

“If it was any other election year and it wasn't so hard-pressed, I probably would have voted for a third party because that’s what I align with,” Lee said. “Based on the polarization of this year and my fears of rights getting taken away, I chose to … vote Democrat.”