PA Students' Mock Election Captures Provocative Real Election Snapshot

These high school students cast their fake ballots in rural Western Pennsylvania, an area that's pro-gun and has had enormous job loss.
8:09 | 11/03/16

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Transcript for PA Students' Mock Election Captures Provocative Real Election Snapshot
psyche, the presidential election. In schools across America, teachers have really been struggling with how to handle this often salacious campaign. Tonight ABC's Terry Moran takes us to a school in the heart of trump country where they're taking this race head-on as part of our series "Inside the final 30." What I call the basket of deemotionals. Crooked Hillary Clinton. Trumped-up, trickle-down -- They're bringing crime, they're rapists. We're on our way to new Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Working class white communities away from major metropolitan areas. She plays her woman's card. He shouldn't have his hands on our economy. We're going out to a school out here where the civics teachers have been trying to get the students to come to grips with this election. How are kids processing all this? Pennsylvania's one of the fiercest battlegrounds in this presidential election. Every vote matters here. That's closed. It's all going to be locked. Can I help you? Hi, it's Terry Moran with ABC news. We feel welcome now. Donald Trump, Donald Trump! Reporter: The real election is still six days away. In just a few hours at redbank valley high school, students will be casting their votes for president. It's a predominantly white community and this mock election is the culmination of a unique civics program that's tackling this divisive election head-on. I know there's teachers in this country, I've talked to them, their administration has specifically told them, do not deal with the election. Because they're so concerned about controversy? So concerned about controversy already where better to deal with controversy than social studies? Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. We're going to look at today political acts. We're going to have great jobs again. We're going to make America great again for everyone. Who is the target audience? Workers. Because it showed like people working in factories. That's right. How many of you know somebody that's lost a job around here? So who specifically is that for? The people in rural areas. So this ad is targeted toward an area like this. I have a couple of questions. Yes, please. That was fun. One thing I was very struck by. It was powerful when you asked how many of you have been affected by job loss? Could you do that again? How many? Pretty much everybody. Reporter: According to the bureau of labor statistics, Pennsylvania has lost nearly 300,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2001. Pennsylvania has lost more than 35% of its manufacturing jobs. Reporter: And in these hallways there are clear signs that the trump movement is strong here. Keep immigrants out. How to make America great again. I can't tell if that's pro or con. Hard to be a Hillary supporter here. Reporter: Even though the latest Pennsylvania poll has Clinton at 48 and trump at 43. Pretend I'm a Hillary person. Nugh. Would we be able to talk? Would we be able to say -- No. Here's quhabl -- No. Why not? This whole class is trump. Reporter: Here you can sense it with these kids. They mirror that feeling in this campaign. We are almost living in two different countries. How are we going to run the country together? Split the country into two different countries. They tried that. That didn't work in the civil war. But it almost feels that way. What is it about Hillary country that you don't like? Just get rid of our guns. It's the guns. Yes. How many of you have a gun? My goodness. These are your own personal firearms? It's not mom's or dad's? It's mine. Reporter: This is western Pennsylvania. Most people hunt here. In fact, the students get days off at the height of the hunting season. You think Hillary would want to take away your guns? Uh-huh. Your gun, your gun, your gun? Yes. She's going to be a police officer come to your door and demand your gun? Yes. That's not going to happen. Reporter: They seem to believe what trump is claiming. She wants to take away Americans' guns. Reporter: And not trusting what Clinton has actually been saying. I'm not here to take away your guns. And we need to keep guns out of the hands of those who will do harm. There's a lot of bad people. But I don't think that means that we should punish everyone. Reporter: Meanwhile, voting is under way for the other students in the school. Two main goals today. Number one, our 18-year-olds that are getting ready to vote, I want them to be prepared, I want them to be ready in two weeks. Second goal is for those that are going to vote in four years, I want you to be able to say in four years, I got that. These are the actual voting machines. If you have a trump or Clinton shirt on, stand up. It's not that hard, stand up. You are not allowed to wear those in a polling place. I need you to go to the bathroom and turn them inside out. I.D., driver's license -- Go ahead and vote. It's a rigged election. Reporter: In this vitriolic election -- Contrary to him, I don't think it's rigged. Reporter: The teachers here are working to make sure their students understand how our democracy actually works. They even learn how to run for president using a game called "Win the white house." Now we are moving on to a campaign slogan, whoo! What has it been teaching this subject in this election? Honestly, the kids are really interested in these specific candidates. They've been watching the debates. They've been paying attention to what's going on with the issues. Reporter: So far, according to our off the cuff exit polling, it doesn't look like a nail biter. Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton. I voted for Donald Trump. Donald Trump. Reporter: Then Joe Harmon plays them this Hillary Clinton ad. I'd look her right in that fat ugly face of hers. She's a slob. She ate like a pig. A person who's flat-chested is hard to be a 10. Does she have a good body? No. She's a fat , absolutely. Your reaction? It makes me feel mad. It does make you upset at? Trump. Do you know why they'd use girls your age? Because we judge yourselves. Because you judge yourselves. I'm a father. I want my girls to be respected. How about the media? We doing a good job? How many think the media is biased? Mainstream media as they call it. That's pretty much a yes. Why? Because they're always trying to attack trump. We're always attacking trump. Like they take pictures of him in the worst possible positions that they possibly could. Reporter: Polls br to close. There's excitement in the air. It may be a mock election but there's something empowering about all this for these young people. Trump train! No campaigning past these doors. Reporter: The votes are carefully counted and "Nightline's" the first to report the results. Hillary Clinton 48. Donald Trump 340. Donald Trump with a landslide victory here at redbank valley. Bernie Sanders got a write-in. Hirambe the gorilla got a write-in. Is there anything the adult world could learn from how these kids have handled and learned about this election? We need adults to be just as engaged as them. But also you saw it. Where it's okay to agree to disagree. It's okay to be a trump fan or a Hillary fan. You can sit next to each other and get along and it doesn't have to be the hatfields and mccoys where you're going to armed rebellion. That's what makes America. We're so diverse. We're supposed to be that way. Reporter: For "Nightline" I'm Terry Moran at redbank valley high school, new Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

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