YPO aims to spur involvement in the student body. The past year, they have brought national politics on campus through voting registration, local speakers, political volunteering, and debates. Here, the YPO leaders share their thoughts on the presidential election, addressing issues such as media bias, national security, gun control and Roe v. Wade.
If you want the full interview from someone’s Q&A, listen to the audio clip attached to his or her picture. All illustrations are done by senior editor Emma Shea.
Young Liberals Organization
Supporting: Hillary Clinton
If you’re not supporting Hillary but rather Donald Trump, who has been known to alienate vast parts of the country, to say really horrible things and to do really awful things to women, then there is something wrong with your moral compass.
What policies are you most concerned about?
Immigration, being welcoming to Syrian refugees, keeping big companies in check about what they put into the environment, keeping taxes for the wealthy and taking out loopholes to finance education.
How are the two candidates so polarizing?
Hillary Clinton redefined the role of First Lady. She was very active, and ever since then, the conservative base has disliked her for not staying in her place. She’s been this massive polarizing figure for doing things any man would be applauded for.
For Trump supporters, there is a massive disconnect between the lives they’re leading and Washington. They feel like nobody is listening to their issues, and Trump really resonates with them. There are people whose lives are still getting back on track from the economic crisis of 2008.
Supporting: Hillary Clinton. She’s had such a range of experience, from First Lady to Senator to Secretary of State. She has spent her whole life fighting for women and for families.
What are some policies you think are the most pressing?
We need to protect women and women’s reproductive health. To do that we have to uphold Roe v. Wade and continue funding Planned Parenthood. Women who have to make hard decisions about their reproductive health don’t make these choices overnight, a fact that Trump does not seem to realize. Government has no place regulating women’s bodies.
Our criminal justice system has to be reformed. We need to protect the police, but we also have to protect the people in this country, especially people of color. In the first debate, Trump kept repeating the phrase “law and order,” but he doesn’t seem to have an actual policy on how to end police brutality or violence against police.
Many people say that a liberal media bias totally influences millennials’ political views. Is this an overstatement?
Most editorial boards tend to be more liberal, and while I don’t deny that news outlets can have a political bias, that’s not reflected in the reporting of events. I don’t think that bias negates the factual information given by the publications.
Supporting: Hillary. I have always supported her since the beginning. I preferred her over Bernie Sanders because she had a much more outlined gun control policy.
Even if Hillary has done some things that aren’t correct, that’s no excuse to go with Trump, who is an advocate for Islamophobia, homophobia, racism, and sexism. Hillary has done quite a lot, and while people give her flack for not curing cancer or saving the world, people have to realize that she is not the sole lawmaking entity.
Many people argue that media and news outlets side heavily with Hillary. They seem not to report as negatively about her as they do about Trump.
People need to consider that the media is paid through views and how engaged people are with their publication. They are sensationalizing the election so that people are hooked. You get that all the time with Trump and his outrageous outbursts. Simply speaking, Hillary is just a more boring candidate.
What are your thoughts on Roe v. Wade?
I’ve heard talk about Roe v. Wade being overturned, which shouldn’t happen. You can be pro-life personally, but you can’t be pro-life politically because you would be subjecting the entire population, people of many different faith and backgrounds, to adhere to your beliefs. You may never ever get an abortion, but you can’t decide that for everyone else.
Supporting: Hillary Clinton
What is one factor that impacted your decision?
Several things Trump says are just not true. During the first presidential debate, he said he never supported the invasion of Iraq. A few seconds after, Hillary’s campaign retweeted a tweet from Trump saying the exact opposite. He consistently contradicts himself.
What are some policies Hillary has that you especially like? What do you think of Trump’s policies?
It’s hard to really know what Trump is specifically thinking, but Clinton’s proposals for protecting the environment and animal welfare are important to me. The most important issue by far, though, is the Supreme Court vacancy. If Clinton wins, I expect her to nominate an experienced, left-leaning Justice.
Trump denying climate change would be extremely detrimental to our country, and the proposals that Trump has towards Mexico and immigrants would seriously strain our relations with those countries and cause more racial tensions.
Young Conservatives Club
Supporting: Donald Trump
The political climate lends itself to two very unpopular candidates. Hillary has alienated a lot of Democrats, and Trump has alienated a lot of Republicans. My philosophy is to vote for anyone who puts forth conservative ideology. I have my differences with Trump, but he stands the most for conservative values.
Many people criticize Trump for saying sexist, racist and overall rude things. How do you address that?
When you’re on a national stage, there is a certain way you need to carry yourself. There are just some things you shouldn’t say, even if you believe them. With the modern desire to adhere to political correctness, that’s something people are hypersensitive about. I think there’s a much more grave problem with Clinton, who has openly lied and has owed so many favors to so many people and is controlled by the special interest.
What is the most pressing issue you’re concerned about?
National security. Right now we have ISIS growing at an exponential rate and people dying all over the world. In regards to Syrian refugees, we should still be helping them because where they’re coming from is a very bad place. But if we let them in undocumented, it just takes one person to slip through the cracks.
Supporting: Neither, possibly a third-party candidate
I feel like I can’t trust Clinton. She lied about her emails and Benghazi and has been dishonest on multiple occasions. But Trump says things that are racist and homophobic and just isn’t fit for the presidency. The point of a democracy is not to choose between the lesser of two evils but to vote for who you really want.
A lot of people interpret Trump’s outspokenness as honesty. What do you think?
There is a point where political correctness can be a bit of a burden. But when Trump called that Hispanic beauty pageant contestant a housekeeper? You can’t say those things. It’s just wrong.
People often associate ideas of homophobia, racism or sexism with the Republican party. Is that a generalization?
A lot of that is on part of the media. The media often states that everything against Democratic policy is outdated or archaic, which can demonize the opposite side. You shouldn’t demonize someone who disagrees with you.
So being Republican doesn’t mean you’re close-minded.
Exactly. I’m very much against that kind of thinking, which is why I choose not to support Trump.
Supporting: Undecided. I just don’t know what I’m going to do, honestly.
How would you characterize YCC’s stance on the election? Is there any conflict?
Right now we’re supporting conservative ideology as a whole, but not backing any specific candidate. Some people have been supportive of Trump, some haven’t. I don’t think it’s necessary to officially endorse someone. Ultimately our goal is just to educate the student body about the conservative side of politics.
How would you define conservatism?
I mainly have conservative views on economic policy. I support lower taxes, lower government involvement, and more power to the states.
Why do you think these two got the nomination?
On the Democratic side, it’s been known that Hillary would get the nomination, just because she’s so well-known. She has good political connections and is very educated. I think everything is more of a show for Trump. He can get votes based on his behavior and actions more than his actual policies.
What policies are you most focused on?
I’m most focused on America’s taxation policies, and reforming the tax system to stop discriminating. It needs to be more efficient and have a better effect on our overall economy. Our current system is hurting many businesses and losing jobs.
The unemployment rates may look lower, but the government has stopped counting people who supposedly aren’t looking for jobs. The official unemployment rate is not anywhere close to the actual.
What are the strengths you see in the candidates?
They have very different but diverse set of experiences, and they are both very good at what they do.
Coselli declined further comment.