Students discuss concerns about presidential campaign

By Masaki Sugimoto

In fall 2016, one of the most arguably controversial presidential campaigns will come to

an end when a new president is elected. Front­runners for the seat include Secretary

Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz. Most

University students have at least one candidate whom they strongly like or dislike.

From attending Senator Bernie Sanders’ rally at the ARC in March to campaigning for

Secretary Hillary Clinton in Iowa, many University students have been closely following

the campaigns and showing pride for their favorite candidates.

Jaylin McClinton, senior in LAS, started the club Illini for Hillary in summer 2015 and

now serves as the club’s president. Throughout this past year, McClinton has traveled

to Iowa to campaign for Hillary and has even met the secretary herself as well as her

husband, Bill Clinton. Although the club is not as big or as popular as others on campus,

such as Illini for Bernie, McClinton had a different goal in mind.

“It’s not always about getting the biggest turnout in our county or district or anything like

that,” McClinton said. “But I think if we’re engaging with voters, that’s an impact, and

people are going to the ballot box and casting their vote for the secretary.”

McClinton recognized that Senator Sanders is more popular on campus, with Hillary

receiving more than 10,000 votes and Bernie receiving more than 20,000 in Champaign

County. However, McClinton said he hopes the numbers will continue to grow with the

help of his fellow supporters.

“The focus is really about seeing how we can mobilize those 10,000 people to, one,

remain involved in Illinois and the Champaign County and, two, go out to other places to

make sure that people are getting out to vote and really remaining involved,” he said.

Chris Piper, sophomore in LAS, agreed that more students should be getting involved in

the elections. As president of College Republicans at UIUC, Piper said he hopes

students vote for a candidate who appropriately represents the ideals of conservatism

that the Republican Party values. Piper wrote via email about the ways that Illinois

students can get involved.

“There are going to be a lot of important races at all levels of government this election

cycle,” Piper wrote. “If someone wants to get involved in campaigning, they should

reach out to the club representative of the political party they want to get involved with,

so either the Illini Republicans or Illini Democrats. They could also reach out to the local

county party. It is best to reach out to someone local that you can speak with than to

just send an email to a large organization or campaign.”

Although McClinton and Piper easily identify with one candidate or one party, Corbin

Kakac, freshman in LAS, said he finds it more difficult. Kakac identifies as an

independent and does not support any of the remaining candidates.

“I don’t really have an ardent loyalty to either party, but I probably lean more towards the

right on some of the bigger issues,” Kakac said. “I strongly dislike Trump and Cruz, at

least from the Republicans that are left in the field. I was a pretty big supporter of Rand

Paul back when he was running, but I think he was a little bit too moderate for what the

plurality of what the Republican Party is built upon, the pluralities that Ted Cruz and

Donald Trump have. Unfortunately, I don’t think his ideas stuck.”

Despite not having his favorite candidate remaining, Kakac still closely follows the

elections and encourages others to do the same by finding what matters to them the

most.

“You need to understand what you believe and what issues are most relevant to you in

your area, state and country before you get involved, because blindly hopping on

Senator X’s campaign is not the most educated way you want to become involved in

politics,” Kakac said.

When it comes to voting, McClinton agreed that being educated before making a

decision that impacts the whole nation is very important, no matter which party students

support.

“I’m not infringing my political party on other people, but I’m educating them about how I

feel about things,” McClinton said. “When I think about where we are in society, I just

want to make sure that people are exercising their right to vote because I think it’s so

important. Many of my ancestors did not have a right to vote, and so I think for me it’s

important to make sure that I’m involved and educating other people.”

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