With 2016 election nearing, Rutgers students pick sides


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Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

June 2016 | Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has firmer plans for her White House than does her Republican counterpart Donald Trump, students said.


In the wake of the final presidential debate last Wednesday, students are more serious about what the presidential candidates have to offer in exchange for votes come November.

When asked about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s foreign policies, Rosemary Diaz fumbled to find a concrete plan.

Trump’s foreign policy is incredibly vague, said the School of Arts and Sciences first-year student.

“(Trump claims) we should have all of our options open for negotiating, keep strengthening borders (by building walls) and leave bombs as an option for resolving conflict, which is probably not good,” she said.

Trump’s national security policies would “throw into question all of our existing alliances, including NATO, demanding that allies pay more in order to receive security guarantees from the US,” said Daniel Kelemen, a professor in the Department of Political Science. 

Trump considered using nuclear weapons and going to war with countries whose soldiers make rude hand gestures to American soldiers, Keleman said. 

“Trump's foreign policy breaks with decades of bi-partisan consensus, which is why national security experts — including former high ranking Republican officials — view the prospect of a Trump Presidency as a grave threat to national security and have come out against him,” he said.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is more motivated by domestic policy, Diaz said. 

Diaz said her vote depends on "who scares her the least.” Trump's beliefs scares her because they are motivated by hatred, she said. 

Clinton's policies focus on maintaining the U.S.’s traditional alliances with NATO, Japan and other partners around the world, Kelemen said.

Millennials mainly care about policies of presidential candidates, Diaz said. 

“Most of us are smart and want to actually have a functioning government that will make smart choices,” she said. “I’m worried about the policy issues of a candidate.”

Much of the conversation about policy is lost in a sea of back-and-forth and scandals, making politics more into a reality TV show, said Meghan Koeplinger, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. 

“Voters aren’t considering the possible ramifications of these policies,” Koeplinger said. “They’re thinking, ‘Well, this seems entertaining,’ so they’re not paying attention to policy as much.”

Kelemen said voters may be motivated to understand policy in the weeks before election day because Trump’s candidacy, from encouraging Russian government hackers to conduct cyber espionage on his rivals to suggesting the election will be rigged, puts our very democratic system at risk.

“In short, Trump presents a grave threat to our democracy,” Kelemen said.


Bushra Hasan is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She is a correspondent for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @bushrafhasan for more.


Bushra Hasan

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