We can’t trust what all primary results have to say

As technology changes, so do the campaign strategies of politicians who are all trying to get a leg up on the competition. Whether it’s on social media, broadcast TV or streaming services, or on the web in general, we see these strategies being put into place everywhere. Political advertisements are filling our screens with candidates who are trying to convince us that they’re the one that will get the important things done.

The frequency and types of advertisements that we are shown are highly computed, and the algorithms behind all of these are too complex for anyone who’s not working at Facebook or Google to understand. They try to figure out age, race, socioeconomic status, what issues we find important, and how we’ve responded to advertisements in the past. While this all may seem like a lot, there are hundreds more factors that are considered in these super advanced methods. Yet, even with all of these complex digital marketing strategies available, some candidates still have the ability to influence election results by using, let’s say, less honest methods.

“I hear a lot of Republicans tomorrow will vote for the weakest candidate possible of the Democrats. Does that make sense? You people wouldn’t do that.”

That quote was muddled by Donald Trump less than 24 hours before democratic primaries began in New Hampshire, a state with open voting in primary elections. Before ending his rally that night he made sure to remind his supporters of how they can help him again, saying, “if you want to vote for a weak candidate tomorrow go ahead, pick one. Pick the weakest one you think.”

So, even with all of the advancements that have been made into the election process, New Hampshire’s open primary gave republicans an easy way to steer the democratic candidates down the path that would be easiest for Trump to defeat in the general election in November. Similar to New Hampshire, Ohio doesn’t have a closed primary election, meaning that voters can change political affiliation on primary day in order to vote for a candidate in a party that they might not normally support. This loophole gives all voters a reason to cast their ballot on primary day, regardless of if they are trying to help their own party or undermine the opposition.

The effect of this is amplified when voter turnout is low, which is a fear of many during this election. With a seemingly endless supply of democrats announcing that they would be running for president, it’s difficult to learn each candidate’s policies and keep up with what they’re in the news for that day. Especially for college students whose main source of news during this election has been Twitter, learning about all of the candidates just isn’t a priority. As a result of this, less students who are likely to vote democratic will support and vote for a particular candidate during primaries, and more will become “Anybody But Trump” voters who will just wait until the general election to vote.

Without changing the format of the election, the best way to prevent those with malintent from impacting Ohio’s broken election process is to have as large of a turnout to vote as possible on Tuesday, March 17. Policy related to college students in particular has been an important point of contention among democratic candidates. Each candidate has a different viewpoint on if student loans should be relieved and if a college education should be free, so it might be worthwhile to do some research and vote for who’s best for you.