Uneasy About Their Candidates

Never before in a presidential election have the candidates of both major parties been so disliked by the electorate. It’s not an easy time to be a Young Democrat or Young Republican; some remain enthusiastic about their party’s nominee, others less so.


Roger Sachar of the New York Young Republican Club says he has never supported Donald Trump’s candidacy for president.

Article by Benjamin Long; photo by Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo

The New York Young Republican Club “brings together men and women aged 18 to 40 to discuss important policy issues, promote Republican principles and values, and help elect Republicans to office,” according to its web site. Yet Roger Sachar, one of the club’s committee chairs, has no interest in Donald J. Trump.

“I’ve been NeverTrump from minute one,” said Sachar. “I thought that guy was unfit for President.”

Among other members of the club, “some people are holding their nose and voting for Trump, but how can I, in good conscience, vote for him?” Sachar asked.

Sachar, 37, said he had been a member of the “oldest Young Republican Club in the country” for four years and an attorney for eight. After graduating from Washington University Law School in St. Louis, he settled in “The People’s Republic of Williamsburg,” in Brooklyn.

The last time New York City voted for a Republican presidential candidate was Ronald Reagan in 1984. “Essentially, my vote doesn’t matter,” Sachar observed. “We can’t actively canvass for taxation reasons. I’ll be voting for down-ballot Republicans to the extent they exist in New York.”

It’s easy to wonder to what extent the Young Republican Club exists in New York. Its blog — which Sachar runs — last posted on in December 2015, and its Election Night event, listed on Facebook, has so far attracted only 17 people.

“There’s no hard or fast targets,” said Sachar. “Our target is to enjoy each other’s company and learn a little something from our speakers,” who have included included Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and the businessman and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes.

“Rubio could articulate Republican policies very well but instead, to my huge disappointment, we get this guy who can’t articulate anything,” Sachar said of Trump.


Jacob Schwartz, president of the Manhattan Young Democrats, says his group is focusing efforts on local elections.
Jacob Schwartz, president of the Manhattan Young Democrats, says his group is focusing its efforts on local elections.

Article and photos by Yulia Rock

“I would have to be the first one to admit that Hillary Clinton is not my favorite candidate in the world, neither Bernie Sanders,” said Jacob Schwartz, 29, the recently elected president of Manhattan Young Democrats. He won’t say whom he voted for in the primary.

Nearly 80 years old, the organization’s 500 members range in age 15 to 36. “We had over 200 RSVPs at each of our election debate events,” said Schwartz, who is deputy data director at New York City’s Department of Design and Construction. “We were packed to the rim and nobody left even though no one could breath.”

As the group’s president, Schwartz said he supports Clinton yet is wary of some of her policies. “I disagree with her on a death penalty,” he said. “In fact, both candidates support it this time. I disagree with her approach to the Middle East as opposed to Obama.”

Influenced by his father, Arthur Z. Schwartz, a Democratic district leader in Greenwich Village for 20 years, Schwartz said he believed that it is more vital to focus on local elections than on the presidential contest.

“They veto everything,” he said of New York State Republicans. “We don’t have transgender equality in New York State because they veto it. We don’t have corruption reform even after State Senate Leader and State Assembly Speaker were sent to jail for a corruption this year.”

Schwartz mingles with members of the Manhattan Young Democrats at a recent event.
Schwartz mingles with members of the Manhattan Young Democrats at a recent event.

About the presidency, Schwartz said:  “If Trump becomes a president he will appoint a conservative Republican Supreme Court justice. Roe v. Wade will get overturned. New York State law has not codified Roe v. Wade yet. That means that abortion will be illegal in New York.”

“Vote for Hillary Clinton, and then focus on taking the State Senate,” Schwartz said.


State Senator Martin J. Golden, right center, and Brandon Washington, the club president, discuss education and crime with members of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club.

Article and photos by Christina Baican

“Trump Trump Trump Trump,” New York State Senator Martin J. Golden chanted at a meeting of the Brooklyn Young Republican club. “Hillary for prison,” shouted someone in the audience.

On a rainy, Sunday afternoon at the Bay Ridge Manor Catering Hall, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club convened for its monthly meeting with Golden as its guest speaker. The club, which says it is the oldest such organization in the United States, founded in 1880, claims a membership of 40,000 registered Republicans ages 18-40.

While many Brooklyn neighborhoods seem to be in the Hillary Clinton camp, southeastern neighborhoods including Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton and Coney Island seem visibly behind Donald Trump. In Dyker Heights, for example, a map created by a data scientist, Shane Leese, for RentHop shows that 34 residents gave money to the Trump campaign, and 15 to Clinton’s.

In New York City, more than 3.3 million Democrats are registered voters and about 502,000 are Republicans, about a quarter of them in Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Young Republican Club and similar organizations try to meet regularly both in support of candidates and to talk about local issues.

At the recent meeting of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, Marilyn Miller, of Crown Heights, said,  “I am going for Donald Trump all the way;  I think he can make us great again, as he says all the time. Make us safe again.”

Vito DiGiovanni, president of the Brooklyn Young Republicans, a similar but different organization than the Young Republican Club, enthused:  “Donald Trump speaks like a New Yorker. He is one of our own. He speaks his mind and I feel like New Yorkers resonate with him.”

Not everyone at the club, including its president, agreed.

Eva Harry, a preschool teacher’s assistant at Public School 9 in Prospect Heights, is still considering whom to vote for on Election Day.

Eva Harry, a preschool teacher’s assistant at Public School 9 in Prospect Heights, said:

“Right now, I am undecided, because it can go two ways. I’ve been thinking about Hillary because she’s female and she’ll be the first female president and Donald Trump, on the other side, has filed for a lot of bankruptcy.”

Brandon Washington, the club president of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, is also unenthusiastic about the major party candidates.  “The thing is with Hillary you know what you’re getting and with Trump it’s like gambling in Atlantic City,” he said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. He could be a great president who can actually make America great again or he can take us all to hell.”

Washington said he would most likely write in a different candidate.

PHOTOS: Young Democrats and Republicans Gather to Watch Final Debate


Podcast by Adam Raabe

With all the national and international attention that Donald Trump has received during the presidential campaign, this reporter wanted to find out what New Yorkers, who have long known Trump as a public figure in the city’s real estate world, had to say about the Republican candidate.