RALEIGH, N.C.—Ayana McAllister went to Hillary Clinton’s rally two weekends ago at St. Augustine’s University, the historically-black school where she’s a freshman. She watched the Democratic nominee speak alongside the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland. But on the eve of the election, the 18-year-old is still not 100 percent sold.
“I don’t know,” said McAllister, a native of Largo, Md. “I feel like I’ve got to settle for Hillary. I feel like I’m going to vote because I know I need to, not because I want to. I feel like neither of them should be president, but I feel like Hillary will be better. Really, it’s like two children arguing back and forth.”
This was a common refrain during interviews at yesterday’s football game here between St. Augustine and crosstown rival Shaw University, another historically-black institution.
— Early voting numbers and polling suggest that African American turnout is down nationally this year compared to 2012 and 2008. Though there are some signs that the gap has been closing in recent days, alarm bells have clearly gone off inside the Clinton high command.
— Many students at the schools here in Raleigh regret that they never got to vote for Barack Obama. They are collectively disappointed that their first time forces them to choose between Clinton and Donald Trump, but they plan to vote nonetheless. In fact, teachers have told them that in lieu of class they will march to the polls on Tuesday.
“I am not a fan of either one, but of the two I will probably be voting for Hillary,” said Anoviua Rush, a freshman from Durham. “She’s just a liar. And Hillary is not even good at backing up her lies. Everyone makes mistakes, but when you try to cover them up it’s a problem.”
As a marching band performed behind her, under a cloudless sky on a perfect fall day, Rush explained that the prospect of electing the first woman president does not motivate her, but Clinton’s support for equal pay legislation does. “She’s more understanding of minorities and what we go through,” said Rush. “I’m not going to say he’s ‘racist,’ but he’s said some messed up stuff about minorities. … Donald’s main focus seems to be helping the wealthy and, I’ll say it, possibly Caucasians.”