By Katie Grovatt, Reporter
The rules of politics are being rewritten, and Republican front-runner Donald Trump is behind it. He’s released bold, undiplomatic statements and stirred up controversy, all while dominating the Republican primary race.
The businessman and former “Celebrity Apprentice” host has led every Republican poll for the past two months. But as the candidate continues to sell out rallies, triumph in polls and gain supporters, some Baylor students are shaking their heads.
“He’s high up [in the polls] because no one knows what his actually policies are,” said Dallas sophomore Michelle Rigg. “He’s focusing on sensational issues and making provocative claims without giving any policy to support his statements. People are just taking the headlines as true without digging in deeper,” she said.
Jefferson City, Mo., junior Paul Kiekhaefer said Trump is gaining support from the far right and most extreme of the Republican Party.
“He’s tapped into the anger of the far-right wing of the GOP that despises the establishment, political correctness and the Washington, D.C. based political system,” Kiekhaefer said.
Both Kiekhaefer nor Riggs support Trump as a candidate. Riggs said she is remaining open-minded in the primary race, as she feels there are several candidates with thoughtful policies. Trump is not among them.
“I personally think Trump’s campaign is just another attention-grabbing scheme of a narcissist. He would make a terrible nominee and president, as he would give the U.S. zero international credibility,” Kiekhaefer said.
Currently, Kiekhaefer is spending the semester studying abroad in Costa Rica. Many locals there have asked him why Trump hates Latinos.
Trump’s immigration policy remains the only extensive plan that his campaign has announced. It is outlined by three core principles: a nation without borders is not a nation, a nation without laws is not a nation and a nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation.
San Antonio senior Matt Chapa claims Hispanic heritage and grew up in a largely Hispanic area. He has also been offended by Trump’s continuous remarks about immigrants.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Chapa said. “All my roommates want to throw things at the TV when he comes on.”
Within these ideas Trump has attached some bold methods of reform. He has stated that he wants Mexico to pay for a wall built along the northern border between Mexico and Texas. He also calls for a mandatory return of all illegal immigrants and enhanced penalties for overstaying visas.
Perhaps one of Trump’s biggest areas of controversy has stemmed from his bold end to birthright citizenship. Under his new policy all children born of illegal immigrants will no longer be guaranteed American citizenship solely from being born on American soil.
“He’s basically asking to rewrite the Constitution,” Chapa said.
There are those in support of such radical changes, and who feel Trump’s immigration policy is applicable. Scott Air Force Base, Ill., freshman Graham Burton spoke to the lack of fairness birthright citizenship delivers to the children of those that choose to come here legally.
“Those who come here without using those avenues [set up by our government] are cheating the system, and cheating the people who have worked hard to get here the right way,” Burton said.
The only way to help legal immigrants is to come down hard on those that don’t follow the law of our government, Burton said.
Medford, Ore., junior and Baylor Democrats’ President Micah Furlong aimed to explain Trump’s immigration policy and methodology of making such bold and controversial statements.
“He represents the culmination of mindless ‘bumper sticker’ politics. He’s popular because he is all personality without any substance, just like so many of his political stances,” Furlong said.
The views that Trump chooses to focus on are the simplest, and when people are lost in fear, the simplest solutions seem like the best, Furlong said. People are afraid of losing their jobs to immigrants, and fail to take into account the fact that immigrants add greatly to our economy. Thus, the simple reaction is to build a wall to ensure what is ours is not taken from us.
“The policy has no substance because it takes none of the nuance of the debate into account: it simply fits on a bumper sticker, so it’s popular,” Furlong said.
As a Republican, Riggs’ immigration views may differ but she agrees with Furlong’s statement of Trump’s utilization of simplistic and substance lacking politics.
“He is simply voicing concerns that appeal to a personal constituency, without giving any real reasons to back it up,” Riggs said.
People are frustrated with the problems in America and Trump’s provocative claims look inviting to the uninformed voter, Riggs said. But his strategic methods of saying what the public wants to hear lacks the depth needed to gain a presidential nominee, she said.
“Especially in his foreign policy, [Trump] keeps saying, ‘I think China is a bad actor.’ Okay, but how are you going to deal with it? He doesn’t have any policy ideas,” Riggs said.
Burton disagrees with both Republican Riggs and Democrat Furlong. Trump’s success as a world-class businessman proves not only of his charisma but also of his significant intelligence, he said.
“If you say he is all talk, look at his million dollar company and his several billion dollar net worth,” Burton said. “He is not someone who will sit around and wait for someone else to do something. If he wants it done he will get it done.”
Baylor students’ criticism of Trump was not contained solely within political science students, which many of the aforementioned were.
“I just think he’s an oaf, I don’t really know politics. He speaks derogatory things to many people, but he can’t look in the mirror and criticize himself for being an idiot,” Roswell, Ga., junior Peyton Thomas said.
Waco junior Cara Nelson queIt seems as if many Baylor students are not among the 24 percent of supporters for the Republican front-runner Donald Trump, found by the newest CNN/ORC poll. But according to Riggs, it’s not just Baylor students that stray from the candidate, but college students as a whole.
“I feel like a lot of people that are being polled by these pollsters just hear a name that they hear on the news. All of the other candidates get lost in the mix, unless you know of the other names,” Riggs said.“College students are engaged, and Baylor is an engaged environment. We choose to be informed.”
However, there are some Baylor students who admire the front-runner’s campaign.
San Antonio senior Matt Haushill said he doesn’t exactly support the candidate, but he respects and applauds some of his statements.
“I just appreciate his economic mind, and he shows immense support for the military and our veterans,” Haushill said.
Fellow San Antonio senior Andrew Theodoss said he praises Trump’s boldness and his reversal of the rules of conventional politics.
“Although he might not be the right candidate for the Republican Party, I do love how he speaks what he truly believes instead of trying to be politically correct all the time,” Theodoss said.
Burton said he is a loyal supporter. He says that Trump’s lack of political ties proves that all of his current success is derived from his exceptional leadership skills.
“He is dedicated to this amazing country that is the U.S.A., and he is going to do an absolutely fantastic job. He will make his words into actions and make America great again,” Burton said.
Hartland, Wis., junior and Baylor College Republicans’ President Rachael Oury declined to comment on her views on Trump. She did however encourage young voters to become more politically knowledgeable and active.
“As the 2016 presidential election draws near, Baylor College Republicans will continue to provide resources for voters to create their own diversified, educated judgments,” she said.