Politics on campus brings different opinions
As the 2016 political race continues, US citizens are not thrilled with their options for president.
“The way I see it, Hillary would keep the status quo, Trump would essentially have an authoritarian regime and Bernie’s way of wanting to run the nation would crash and burn,” Uriel Rico, 20, political science major, said.
A recent Rock The Vote/USA Today poll states that most millennials are “… more pragmatic than ideological and not yet firmly aligned with either political party.”
Testing that statement, a handful of CSUN students and alumni were asked a series of questions about the 2016 presidential race.
Just as the Rock the Vote poll stated, CSUN millennials seem to be torn between what they find to be priority concerns and who would be the best person to run the country.
A majority of the answers collected seemed to reflect unhappiness with any of their options for president.
Computer information technology major Raffi Kurbessoian is among the many who have hesitation toward certain aspects of the candidate’s platforms. Kurbessoian explains that despite some uneasiness, his concerns for immigration reform, job creation and his constitutional rights have pulled him in the direction of Donald Trump.
“Yeah, it’s wrong to go backward, but we have got to a point where I, as a white male, am afraid to speak up in person,” Kurbessoian said when asked what he thought of Trump’s political agenda. “I give my opinions online because I am not afraid of most reparations … We are afraid in our own country for our freedom of speech, but if we have Trump come in, it will be more lenient and free.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, 24-year-old CSUN alumnus Mark Vega’s concerns for the environment and the future of the education system has his vote leaning toward Bernie Sanders.
“I think his [Sanders] plans would be difficult to achieve, but it would be worth the effort,” Vega said. “Yeah, they’re pretty leftist and many people say they’d be impossible to achieve given our social and political system, but you’ll never know unless you try. Free healthcare, education and a living wage look unreal, but back in the 18th century, emancipation from slavery looked impossible too.”
Just like every dramatic twist and turn of the 2016 presidential race, CSUN is no exception to the debate, differing morals and concerns. Politics is a polarizing topic no matter the venue — whether the subject is broached at the dinner table, a house party or a university campus, there are bound to be differing opinions
The Sundial asked students Raffi Kurbessoian, Mark Vega, Uriel Rico, Skylar Perez-Grogan and Michelangelo Landgrave to voice their opinions on the presidential campaign.
Who do you think would make the best president out of the candidates currently running. Why?
Kurbessoian: I believe that neither Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders are the best possible candidates. Disregarding the fact that Hillary Clinton is doing down right illegal stuff with her email scandals, the only possible candidates are a racist and a fascist. If we could combine some of their ideas together, we would get a much better candidate.
Vega: Bernie Sanders would make the best president because he has the most consistent record in regards to policy. He has not flip-flopped as much as other candidates have and has fought for working people throughout his career.
Uriel: I don’t think any of the candidates currently running would make a good president. Clinton and Kasich are the only two that have any sort of viable experience that could be applied to a somewhat decent presidency. I will most likely be voting for Gary Johnson of the Libertarian party because he represents my view points better than any of the candidates currently running. My candidate was Rand Paul because of ideas on civil liberties, less government and free markets.
Perez-Grogan: The best candidate for president is Bernie Sanders because he is a true progressive who fights for the rights of all people, including his support for restructuring the criminal justice system and a single-payer health care system. I’ve been “feeling the Bern” since watching him on CSPAN in 2010 for the hearings on the Affordable Care Act.
Landgrave: Vermin Supreme, one of the candidates for the Libertarian Party, is my first choice. He is promising to give everyone a free pony and harness zombies as an energy source. He probably won’t win the nomination, though. In which case I support Gary Johnson, former New Mexico governor and likely LP nominee. He is the only candidate who has actual experience as an executive in government. Most of the GOP and Democrats in comparison have never actually run a state or city on a day-to-day basis.
There has been a lot of talk about the way this presidential race is being run; do you think this race is any different than others our nation has had in the past?
Kurbessoian: This is the first race in history to be more integrated with online forms of media instead of using television. Trump has been playing the media by not paying for news; he just screams obscure shit that catches their attention. Someone eventually Googles his policies and suddenly they are supporters. The guy has good ideas, just bad speeches.
Vega: This presidential race is different from the last few races I have seen as a kid, in regard to how overt two of the candidates have been. Donald Trump has been overtly racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic. Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric has been a bit radical because we have not seen a presidential candidate talk about giving people free healthcare and college education before.
Uriel: This current presidential election is one that will be talked about for years to come. This has certainly been a huge deviation from the elections we have seen before. I think that social media has played a huge role in making this election much more different than elections we have had in the past.
Perez-Grogan: I think this race is more exciting than 2012, given the Republican front-runner [Trump] is being as anti-establishment as Romney was establishment in 2012. I also feel there’s an anger coming from both sides that haven’t been as present before.
Landgrave: This election is filled with a few more clowns than usual, but it is not unique from a historical perspective. Trump reminds me of a modern day Andrew Jackson.
How would you encourage CSUN students (or the younger generations in general) to become more involved with politics?
Kurbessoian: This is actually the best way to encourage students to vote. Most kids want to vote because everything, the information is just so actively available for everyone. Educated people are actively going out of their way to vote. It’s no longer a “my vote won’t count” issue.
Vega: I would encourage students to be more involved with politics by addressing issues that affect their lives, talking to them genuinely as well as trying to agitate them on the issues at hand. Because people become desensitized by the world around them, they forget to get mad about something that’s wrong or they were probably never mad to begin with. The goal is to agitate people of the issues at hand and to get them to take direct action.
Uriel: I would encourage my fellow students to get involved on campus and start reading and looking up information on candidates. When I say this, I mean for them to look at both sides of the aisle rather than just one side. You cannot be an informed citizen unless you know what each side wants. Many of the people I have spoken too have a certain liberal bias because they have been taught that republicans are evil and they hate minorities. This is something that needs to be squashed as you cannot be an informed citizen if you only read or watch biased news articles. College is a time to be open to new ideas and I say the best way to get involved with politics is to get information from every point of view you can and to get involved in organizations on campus such as the Young Democrats or the newly-forming Young Americans for Liberty.
Perez-Grogan: I would encourage them to read, read, READ. Politics affect your day-to-day life. It’s your civic duty to be involved. People have died for the right to vote.
Landgrave: It depends on what you mean by getting involved. If you mean understand public policy, really understand what policies do, then I’d recommend they take intro to microeconomics. If you mean marching and campaigning, then joining a political club would be the best option. The CSUN Democrats are well organized and I advise checking them out. I don’t agree with them on policy, but they’re good people. The libertarian, green and conservative clubs tend to only pop up during election years. It’s a shame.
Do you think a college campus is an appropriate place to be talking about politics?
Kurbessoian: Sadly it isn’t safe to be Republican on campus. Speaking your mind and saying you support Trump has a lot of people shooting mean looks, saying you don’t know what you are talking about, and that I am a racist. People don’t understand that I’m just a mean person. I’m not racist; I hate everyone.
Vega: Yes, a college is a place where people think critically of the world, where they foster their mind and use it in the most rational and moral way possible. Shit, at least, they should.
Uriel: College is absolutely an appropriate place to talk about politics. As I said earlier, this is the time we are supposed to open our world view and look at everything from every angle possible. We should be encouraging civil discourse among students regarding politics and ideas, rather than living in an echo chamber as many college students tend to do.
Perez-Grogan: College is where I became the political person I am today. You can discuss ideas more freely here than anywhere else.
Landgrave: Yes. A college campus is one of the few places where thousands of people meet to discuss ideas. If you can’t discuss politics on a campus, where else?
What is your opinion on Donald Trump and his plans if he were to become the president of the United States?
Kurbessoian: He needs to serious up, but it is something that can’t be ignored. It is wrong to go backward, but we have got to a point where I, as a white male, am afraid to speak up in person. I give my opinions online because I am not afraid of most reparations, and if I was going to get a job, I would be screwed by a single phone call to my employer. We are afraid in our own country for our freedom of speech. If we have Trump come in, it will be more lenient and freer.
Vega: I believe Donald Trump is racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, homophobic and a moron unfit to be president. His plans for the country remind me of what the US used to be during Jim Crow.
Uriel: I think he brings up real issues that need to be addressed such as immigration, PC culture and establishment politics, but I do not think that the way he wants to address the issues is really the right way to go about things.
Perez-Grogan: Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, classist, ignorant xenophobe who is nothing but a bully dressed up in demagoguery.
Landgrave: So as I mentioned, I think Trump is very much like President Andrew Johnson [sic] and even a little bit like Teddy Roosevelt. He is this larger than life character who speaks his mind and does what he wants. I don’t think he’s serious about this campaign, though. I think he says what he does to get media attention. If he became president, he’d probably be as outlandish as he could be in front of the press, but delegate the actual work to technocrats. He’d probably talk about building that wall during his state of the union speeches, but not actually try to build it.
What do you think about Bernie Sanders’ plans if he were to be elected the President of the United States of America?
Kurbessoian: Bernie Sanders has a lot of strong points, and with his notions of giving people their freedom is refreshing. But he’s way too far away from masculine ideas, and that’s not something that I am comfortable with.
Vega: His plans would be dope. I think his plans would be difficult to achieve, but it would be worth the effort. Yeah, they are pretty leftist, and many people say they’d be impossible to achieve given our social and political system. But you’ll never know unless you try, and practice navigating such a direction. Free healthcare, education and a living wage look unreal, but back in the 18th century, emancipation from slavery looked impossible too.
Uriel: I think that Bernie’s plans would not work here in the United States. His ideas may work in smaller homogeneous countries in Europe as their populations are not very big, but we have over 300 million in the United States and while some things may be easier to implement on a smaller scale, they may be much harder to implement on a large scale. Having that much faith in a big federal government to run things such as health care and free college is a pipe dream when we see how much trouble the federal government had getting Obamacare off the ground. Big government is inefficient and creates more problems than it can fix.
Perez-Grogan: I think that our country would be much better off. We need the comprehensive reforms he’s running under.
Landgrave: I don’t think Bernie is running with the goal of winning. He has no experience in governing. In Congress, he hasn’t helped draft any major legislation. Bernie is running to promote his ideology — and that is okay. Ron Paul ran for president in ’08 and ’12 to promote libertarianism. I actually became involved in politics because of Ron Paul’s run in ’08.
What do you think about Hillary Clinton’s plans if she were to be elected the president of the United States of America?
Kurbessoian: Sorry, not even an option.
Vega: I believe her plans would not be any different from Obama’s plans.
Uriel: Clinton’s plans are not any different than President Obama’s current policies. Having Clinton elected as president would essentially continue the current administration’s policies, which in turn are many of George W. Bush’s policies. Exit polls during the primaries have shown that Democrats who want the status quo are voting for Clinton because they like the current policies that are in place.
Perez-Grogan: I don’t think much would change, other than her hawkish foreign policy, which differs from Obama.
Landgrave: Clinton is one of the few candidates who is serious. She will probably continue the same policies as Obama. She might move a bit more to the left because the Democratic Party has moved more to the left. I don’t see any big changes coming under a Hillary administration, though.
Donald Trump has had a lot of violence occurring at his rallies; what do you think is getting people so fired up?
Kurbessoian: He speaks negativity, very childish. But it’s not like someone can outdo his paycheck. He’s not corruptible by greed. He has his opinion, and he’s strong on it. People are tired of sitting down and letting people with higher intelligence, with higher morals, and a bunch of stupid shit that people are tired of hearing, to let it walk over them. We want science to become immoral again. We want politics to become strong, even if that includes being slightly racist. We want to be able to protect ourselves, and of course, we want America to be great again.
Vega: I believe that the way he speaks is dangerous. It is because people feel empowered by him, and thus feel comfortable enough to enact in violence. I believe people are supporting him because they are finally coming out of their safe zone. They finally have this candidate that they have been waiting for because their other candidates did not share their frustration. Their frustration is that the country is changing demographically and culturally and they believe this hero is going to save them from this change.
Uriel: The violence seen at Trump’s rallies is the result of the anger and frustration people have been building over the last few years. They are getting a sense of pride and nationalism under Trump and this can be a recipe for violence if things start to get out of hand. Over the last few years, we have seen PC culture run amok on our college campuses and in the country. People will get offended and people will get angry but without opposing viewpoints, we cannot grow as intellectuals. That is why I feel that many people get behind the anti-PC message that Trump is bringing forth with his language. It gets people talking and it brings attention to issues that no one wants to talk about because it might offend someone. As Ben Shapiro says, ”Facts do not care about your feelings.” I’m not saying that everything Trump says is based on fact, but rather that people want to hear comforting lies rather than unsettling truth.
Perez-Grogan: I think he’s preying upon racist anger and fear that many people have and now he’s just an extreme version of the GOP’s rhetoric that has been going on for so long. I think he knows what he’s doing and knows people are going to act out because of the ideas and rhetoric they hear at his rallies.
Landgrave: A lot of people associate Trump with racism. After his proposals for a bigger wall and banning Muslims, can you blame them? I don’t think Trump himself or his supporters are motivated primarily by racism, though. It’s much simpler – it’s the economy. Most of his supporters are those who have been unable to adapt to the changing economy and are struggling to find good jobs. Bernie’s supporters are similar.