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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, February 08, 2023
 A vendor sells buttons outside the Republican National Convention.

 A vendor sells buttons outside the Republican National Convention.

Students for Trump organizes young people ahead of election

CLEVELAND—Scattered through the streets of Cleveland, students in favor of Donald Trump have continued to make their presence known during the Republican National Convention.

Despite seemingly little support in some polls, Students for Trump has a Facebook page with more than 100,000 likes and has local chapters on more than 40 campuses nationwide. No campuses in Wisconsin have a chapter, however.

Hayley Hall, the organization’s national secretary, noted there are difficulties in being a supporter of the business mogul as a young person on many college campuses.

“As Trump supporters, we are often the first ones targeted and especially on college campuses,” she said. “I know that I myself have had personal property damaged and threats made towards me.”

Despite the challenging environment, as many college students historically have supported Democratic candidates in recent presidential elections, Hall explained she remains optimistic and committed to her work spreading Trump’s message to voters.

“We here at Students for Trump believe that if you have people out there who take the time to criticize and harm you, you’re doing something right,” Hall said. “There will be challenges and we will face adversity, but we’re used to it by now.”

While there are many students working on behalf of the Trump campaign, the candidate has not always been the perfect candidate for some supporters.

“I don’t think he’s the perfect candidate, there are a lot of things I don’t like about him,” said Alex Glass, a law student at Arizona State University. “But he wants to put America first, which I don’t think other candidates want to do that as much.”

Glass explained he had been a Republican for most of his life, and voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. However, he describes himself as an independent now who has been discouraged by the two-party system.

“I definitely want to repent for that [voting for Mitt Romney]. I switched to independent recently because I didn’t like what Republicans were doing,” Glass said.

A dissatisfaction for the two-party system of American politics has discouraged others as well, including Cleveland-native Matt Herrera.

“Do I think there are people who are better than Trump? Of course. But unfortunately, we only have a choice between two people,” Herrera said. “I am more libertarian on issues, but right now I find myself more aligned to Donald Trump.”

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“I’m not saying that Trump is the end-all be-all, the only shot America has,” said Shane Smith, also a Cleveland native. “But I think he is the best for America right now, in this day and age. He goes against the grain in a way that I like.”

Smith and Herrera mentioned America’s standing in the world as their top concern, whether it is the trade deals Trump frequently denounces as “bad, bad deals” or the exporting of American jobs and resulting lower wages.

For some young Trump supporters, this year’s election has provided an opportunity to care about politics in general for the first time, including Erik Finman, who had a prominent role in a Trump rally earlier this week which resulted in confrontations with anti-Trump protesters.

“I told myself that I would never get into politics, but here I am getting involved in RNC politics,” Finman, a San Francisco native, said. “But I liked Trump so much that I wanted to come out and spread the message. I think that this is the most unique time in our history, and is going to be more important than 2008, 2012, or any other election really.”

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