Political Perspective: Nate Puciato
“It was freshman year; every door in my Netherlands dorm building was open. I remember when the final numbers started coming in, and it became clear that [Donald] Trump was going to win. I remember people crying – it was just this sense of dread and shock that he had won,” said junior community health major Nate Puciato, recalling the sense of dread on election night.
Puciato was raised in Maryland and attended a preparatory high school whose student body was mostly conservative-minded students.
“My parents were both Republican, so I was a Republican. As I got out of that bubble, I started to see things from a different angle,” he said. “Back in high school, I feel like I looked around and everything was so black and white.”
The class of 2020 started Hofstra in September of 2016 – just weeks away from the presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, hosted by the University. The debate was the first between the 2016 candidates amid a divisive election cycle that split the country down the middle, both politically and culturally.
“I had never seen anything like it before, where you could be attacked like that for your political opinions.”
What happened next would solidify that divide for the next two years – Trump, although not the favorite in the polls to win, carried several key swing states and secured an electoral college victory over Democratic candidate Clinton.
“It gave these people who have very radical beliefs a podium, because they saw someone who embodied those beliefs,” Puciato said. “It brought forward this ugly side of America,”
In regard to 2018, Puciato feels that the division that began two years ago is worsening. “We had the shooting at the synagogue and the pipe bombs being sent out; it’s like things like this [that] are just coming out of the woodwork and just getting worse.”
This degree of division and the constant news coverage that comes with it has had a few differing effects on Puciato’s outlook on the political world. As far as voting is concerned, he considers himself more motivated than he was two years ago; however, he also feels that the oversaturation of news and events of the last two years has made the issue of politics exhausting.
“[The 2016] election just tired me out of hearing about it, and I felt like I’d just had enough of it,” Puciato said. “I would love to make an impact with voting, even though I’m just one person. I definitely pay more attention to politics – I try to stay up to date so I know what I’m going be voting for, and what change might happen.”