With presidential primaries now less than a week away, Baylor students are forming student campaign groups in an effort to raise last-minute support for candidates.
Most of the groups were created in the last few weeks, long after the candidates announced their bids for presidency.
Taylor Nall, who graduated last May, created “Bears for Bernie” last week because, as a volunteer for the Vermont senator’s campaign, he was concerned that Bernie Sanders did not have a Facebook page for the Waco area.
The Facebook page, which now has 24 members, is also open to students from other local schools like McLennan Community College.
Last Saturday the group met off campus at Papa Rollo’s at an event to register Bernie supporters to phonebank.
Phonebanking involves participants making calls to encourage registered voters to vote and support their candidate.
Nall holds hope that non-students in the Baylor community will work with and support the group.
“I’ve talked to several professors and they’ve expressed interest in Bernie Sanders for events in the future that require a larger venue,” Nall said.
A week prior to the creation of Nall’s group, Austin freshman Aaron-Murillo Ruiz created a Facebook page for Baylor students supporting Hillary Clinton.
Although Clinton is expected to win the Democratic primary in Texas, Ruiz said that wouldn’t deter student supporters from campaigning for her.
“Relying so much on presumption is the best way to let the opponents win,” Ruiz said. “Although Secretary Clinton has successful prospects, supporters still need to be adamant in their work so that those predictions can become a reality.”
Both Nall and Ruiz agreed that Baylor is largely a conservative school, but they also agreed that there was still potential for building progressive support.
“We have found a significant amount of progressives on campus, and I implore them to step out of their comfort zone and share their perspectives,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said that his group does not plan to host campaigning events, but supports Clinton with member involvement in organizations like Planned Parenthood, a women’s healthcare provider Clinton has a strong record of defending.
Baylor Students for Trump plans to phonebank this weekend for Super Tuesday on March 1.
Longview junior Marivious Allen started the group last Friday because he wants to get young people involved with supporting Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency.
“Adults and especially older people love to see young people involved in the political process,” Allen said. “Whoever controls the biggest piece of the pie in terms of youth excitement and ground game, the better off their entire campaign will be.”
Trump was recently criticized as “non-Christian” by Pope Francis for his plan to construct a wall between the U.S and Mexico.
Allen said he believes that Trump’s views are consistent with the Christian faith because “there is nothing non-Christian about keeping your national borders secured.”
The group hopes to gather support at the Christian university in the coming days.
“Most things in politics are way easier said than done,” Allen said. “Our message is one of optimism, hope, and looking forward to the future.”