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By Logan Blakeslee

The implausible has become reality at our beloved Binghamton University. Not since Truman beat Dewey has this college been so thoroughly shaken to its core. Donald J. Trump proved victorious during the campus mock election held on March 18, 2024. It is this humble author’s opinion that these results reveal the hopes and reservations held by the larger student body, despite the relatively small sample size. Younger voters have made their dissatisfaction with the Biden administration known, and that could make all the difference come November. 

I was introduced to the idea of a campus mock election by the Leadership Institute during their Youth Leadership School, which was hosted in San Antonio, TX from March 8-11, 2024. The organizers behind the conference explained how to conduct a typical mock election and the College Republicans chapter at Binghamton followed the steps as closely as possible, with some limitations due to time or budget constraints. Informal assistance was given by the university’s Center for Civic Engagement. I extend my gratitude to their office for printing the mock ballots and lending the materials for voter registration at the event. 

I ran the table (generously loaned out by the Student Association office) on the spine walkway from noon to 4 PM, just outside the main entrance to the University Union. Temperatures were frigid throughout the day and I regrettably caught a cold by the end of it. Still, the success of the mock election warmed my spirits and showed me how much college students care about national issues, as well as the quality of their government. I extend my infinite gratitude to the fellow members of College Republicans and College Libertarians who assisted me in running the table during the mock election, and who faced the extreme cold with patriotic resilience. 

Initially, fifty ballots were printed and a decent selection of cookies, chips, and cupcakes were offered in exchange for completing one. Care was taken to ensure that people did not vote multiple times, either to skew the final tally or acquire more delectable goods. Around 2:30 PM, the supply of ballots ran dry and ten more had to be printed to meet the demand. While some visitors were enthusiastic about their preferred candidate, most participants I spoke with (which was only a small handful) voiced their concern of having a rematch between Biden and Trump. 

It was anticipated that Biden would carry the student electorate in a landslide, considering the overwhelming registration advantage that Democrats have over Republicans at Binghamton University and other SUNY schools. Around campus there have been posters recruiting students into the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. campaign, but I initially regarded them as unimportant and somewhat desperate. How wrong I was! One of the more interesting conclusions from this mock election is that Kennedy is doing remarkably well among younger voters, strengthening the notion that his campaign is a spoiler for Biden. 

Another conclusion that I drew was that the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine hurts Biden with the student vote almost as much as a third-party candidate. Young progressives and liberals are refusing to support an administration that is slow to advocate for a ceasefire. Although Kennedy is staunchly pro-Israel, the power of a protest vote cannot go ignored. Similarly, no-faith voters achieved the third highest tally as they selected “None of the Above” as their preferred candidate. These votes represent constituents who were either actively opposed or just ambivalent towards all candidates.    

The write-in results also had a strong showing, but there was a wide variation in whom people selected for president on this line. Lots of students simply wrote in their own name, but a small few chose Nikki Haley or Ron DeSantis, indicating that dissidents still exist in the conservative sphere of influence. One fellow wrote in “Harvey Stenger” and we should all be glad that Mr. Stenger did not receive more votes than this, lest his ego expand to the outer cosmos. 

Disappointingly (to me), Libertarian Chase Oliver received zero votes and the two other third-party candidates, Jill Stein and Cornel West, only did marginally better. Given the fact that Stein and West are both very ideologically progressive, it is safe to say that their bids are detrimental—if only slightly—to Biden’s reelection chances. Trump has his work cut out for him, but certain things work  in his favor. Inflation remains a lingering issue for the country and Democrats are failing in their effort to convince Americans that the economy is booming. Gas prices are another thorn in the Democrats’ side. 

Despite a cavalcade of logistical problems in the Republican National Committee and Trump’s ongoing battles in court, he is the frontrunner of the general election, both nationally and at Binghamton University. I never imagined that I would be able to write a sentence like that. Time will tell if Trump will harness the MBGA (Make Binghamton Great Again) energy and campaign more aggressively for college-educated voters, the same crowd that helped deliver victory to Joe Biden in 2020. The mock election, I believe, hints that Republicans can make a viable bid for the student vote and actually win it. 

Two graphs are attached below which demonstrate how the votes were distributed among the candidates, including raw numbers and percentages. Oliver is excluded due to not earning a single vote; Libertarians everywhere are still seething. The simple breakdown is as follows:

Donald Trump (Republican): 14

Joe Biden (Democratic): 13

None of the Above: 11

Robert Kennedy Jr. (Independent): 9

Write-in: 8

Jill Stein (Green): 3

Cornel West (Independent): 1

Chase Oliver (Libertarian): 0

Total: 59

Addendum: On March 19, two votes were accepted from students who could not attend the mock election on March 18. This brought the final total to 59 ballots cast. 


  1. For further clarification, the two extra votes counted on March 19 were taken from College Republicans members who indicated that they weren’t able to vote on the 18th but still expressed a desire to participate.

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