With convention weekend just around the corner, we wanted to see how our peers are keeping up with the presidential race. Katie Monks ’18, Kevin Ortiz ’16, Rachel Adams-Heard ’16, and Jack Koch ’16 shared with us their predictions for the Republican nominee and what they really think about Donald Trump.
Q: How do you keep up with the presidential campaigns and election news?
Katie Monks: I keep up with both sides by reading the New York Times, getting Google alerts on the election, and also reading theSkimm every morning. I also watch most of the debates and check up on the election on Twitter. But mostly the New York Times and polling sites like RealClearPolitics.
Rachel Adams-Heard: I keep up with the Republican presidential campaigns by watching the debates with my friends. I'm not particularly impressed with the way most of the debates have gone this year, but it's a little bit more enjoyable when you make an evening of it. It also helps to go into the debates with some background information on how the candidates have historically stood on issues or if they've voted a certain way before. Outside of the debates, I get morning email briefs from Quartz, Politico and theSkimm. I glance over those and then will look further into something if I find it particularly interesting.
Jack Koch: I watch all of the debates but try to avoid the commentary before and after. I also follow most of the candidates on Twitter.
Q: Donald Trump still holds a solid lead over his top competitors. What is your opinion on his popularity?
KM: I think Donald Trump exploits voters’ ignorance and fears. His voter base is mostly white, uneducated, poor males in the south and he says what they want to say. What scares me more is the educated people that still support him. He also plays into the fact that a lot of people don't get how the political process works or why someone like him cannot become president. He also just gets insane amounts of screen time and press coverage because of the stupid things he says. Sorry, if you can't tell I hate Donald Trump.
RAH: At first I wanted to dismiss Trump. I find it embarrassing that someone so ignorant could be enjoying so much success in our presidential election. But now, I'm actually concerned. He stands a real chance of winning the GOP nomination, and that's not just embarrassing...that's scary.
Kevin Ortiz: Trump is tapping into a very real vein of anger directed at Washington by the GOP electorate. While he isn't generally considered a true conservative candidate (his policy preferences have changed dramatically during the presidential cycle), his style of bravado and "take-no-prisoners, don't-back-down" is a breath of fresh air for conservatives outside the beltway who perceive they are losing the United States they used to know to liberal Democrats in Washington.
Q: If you could ask a candidate one debate question, what would you ask?
KO: Donald Trump - What are you going to do when you inevitably don't get your way on an issue during a policy spat with Congress? You can't win ALL the time.
RAH: Issues like national security and gun control have taken center stage so far. I'm really interested in data collection, though, especially after the Edward Snowden revelations. I would ask how the candidates plan to scale back (or expand) the NSA's collection of data.
JK: I would ask Jeb Bush if he is still willing to pledge his support for the eventual Republican nominee.
Q: Who do you predict will get the Republican nomination?
KM: I really don't know, and I really don't want to say Trump... but it could be him at this point. Scary!
RAH: I'm afraid someone like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is going to get the nomination. Maybe a miracle will happen and Jeb will make a comeback...I'm not counting on it, though.
JK: Trump or Cruz
KO: That's the million-dollar question. Mock Convention, from state chairs to regional chairs to national analysts, is working vigilantly to study all available avenues of research to correctly predict the GOP presidential nominee.