Midterm Elections

Does Big Sky Care?


Courtesy of Wyatt Shinn

Senior Wyatt Shinn sporting his “I Voted” sticker.

Maddie Crandall, Features Editor

When sitting in the cafeteria, or wandering the halls here at Big Sky, you can hear a vast variety of different conversations taking place between students. However, it’s unlikely you’ll hear a political discussion.

This year was the midterm elections, a big deal for politics all over the country, Montana included. There were a number of political positions up for grabs in Montana: a seat in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, six seats in the State Senate as well as the State House, and two seats in the State Supreme Court.

The results of the elections were split — Republicans taking the Senate and Democrats taking the House. In Montana, Democrat Jon Tester won the race for Senate 50% to 47% against Matt Rosendale. In the race for the House, Republican Greg Gianforte beat Kathleen Williams 51% to 46%.

According to a poll taken by the Sun Journal, only about 32% of students even pay attention to politics. Leaving a whopping 68% who don’t follow politics. The numbers are about the same when it comes to identifying with a party. 68% do not identify with either of the two main political parties. Of the 32% of people remaining, about a third associate themselves with the Republican party, while two thirds ally with the Democratic Party.

Freshman Sadie Arnold is one of those who relate to the Democrats. “I’m typically liberal and pretty Democratic. I don’t think I’ve ever really supported anybody Republican,” she says.

Arnold also says she doesn’t hear about other students’ political beliefs unless they’re questioned about them particularly. “If I specifically ask or if we’re having a specific discussion, then I’ll be able to hear their political views,” she says. “But for the most part everybody kind of just keeps quiet about it.”

Freshman Luke Blonda agrees that there isn’t much political conversation happening on a regular basis at Big Sky, however he has differing views when it comes to politics. “I’m Republican because I believe that people should earn what they work for and get what they deserve,” he says. “I don’t follow politics too much but I know which side I’m on and why I’m on it.”

Most students don’t fully realize the effects that government has on their day-to-day life. The government sets standards on almost everything they do from the time they get to school to the time they leave, things like what they’re taught to what they can buy for lunch.

Blonda says government and politics play an undeniable role in the lives of students. “It’s why we’re here, without government and without economy we wouldn’t have this school, so we’re very heavily affected by it.”

But at the same time, some students would rather stay unaware. Arnold says that sometimes not knowing can be a blessing. “I think, in some cases, ignorance is bliss. If something big happens, people who might not know or keep up with the world might not be upset by what happened.” Despite this, she chooses to keep herself in-the-know. “I just really like to know and understand what’s happening, and how it will affect me or the people around me.”

Aside from their opposing views in many aspects of politics, both Arnold and Blonda can agree that politics have a major influence on people in society, whether they pay attention to them or not. Each claim that political beliefs often will affect the company you keep. “It influences a lot of the ways people interact with each other,” Arnold says. “Because some people have such strong political views they might not hang out with somebody if they have different views. And people might become friends if they have similar political views.”

Blonda is in agreement. “It seems that people are heavily influenced into liking or not liking certain people based on their political views.”

So even though you probably aren’t going to be hearing many heated political discussions between students at Big Sky, those with opinions, and those without, are constantly being impacted by what’s going on in politics, even if they don’t quite realize it.