Former Jeb Bush backer switches sides, supports Hillary Clinton

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Zach Long, a communication studies junior and self-defined Republican, decided to switch allegiances and support Hillary Clinton once Clinton and Donald Trump became the official presidential nominees.
Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: This is the second profile of a series The Daily Texan is publishing during the 2016 election season, featuring a wide variety of student political perspectives. Beginning with the first day of early voting, Oct. 24, the series will run up until Election Day, Nov. 8.

When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton officially became the presidential nominees, Zach Long asked himself, “Oh crap, what happens now?”

Long, a communications studies junior from Kingwood, Texas, had wholeheartedly campaigned for former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) during the primary season.

However, when Bush suspended his run for the White House in February, Long was left with a “bad taste of politics” and a decision to make: Who would he, a self-defined moderate Republican, support for president?

Ultimately, Long decided to switch allegiances at the presidential level and back Clinton, a sentiment that intensified during the Democratic National Convention in July.

“Clinton’s speech made me cry multiple times,” Long said, referring to the Democratic nominee’s acceptance speech in Philadelphia. “I wasn’t aware that I had that kind of passion for it. That passion may be that I just don’t like Trump that much.”

Long said experience was essential in a president, citing Clinton’s past in the Senate and foreign policy background as Secretary of State.

“I’ve always been in the mindset that you need some sort of experience in an executive position,” Long said. “That’s why I was attracted to Clinton. Experience-wise, who do I want representing our country?”

Long said Clinton, unlike Trump, had an additional record of putting others first, and specifically pointed to Trump avoiding federal income tax as an example.

“I firmly believe there are a few basic duties as Americans,” Long said. “One is jury duty, two is voting and three is paying your taxes. I don’t care that Trump got out of it with a loophole. He didn’t pay his damn taxes, and it pisses me off.”

Long said he is confident Clinton will win on Nov. 8, setting up what would be a historic election.

“What I’m really excited about is that it will be the first woman president,” Long said. “I think it’s incredible.”

This story has been updated since its initial publication to clarify that Zach Long does not plan on only voting Republican down the ballot.