Ben Mehic, Managing News Editor
According to Public Policy Polling, some people find Donald Trump less appealing than a public restroom. That smelly sentiment also rings true for Utica College students.
The reality television star turned presidential candidate is attempting to appeal to African American voters just months before the election begins. His belief that African American voters have nothing to lose by casting their ballots in favor of him has fallen flat on campus.
“When he says black people are going to jail at a higher rate, that we’re in poverty, and things of that nature, you have to look at the facts,” junior Daimion Cruickshank said. “How can you appeal to black voters when you disrespect us as a people? We are a proud people. I’m very proud to be a black person.”
Cruickshank, a noted Hillary Clinton supporter, wasn’t alone. Romario Contreras, a junior, shared similar thoughts on Trump’s appeal.
“He’s categorizing them – African Americans. It’s very racist,” Contreras said. “It’s not something that a president should be saying. I don’t even care who’s on the other side. It would be against what I stand for as a minority.”
Millennials – or college aged people – have condemned Trump’s statements all across the board. Still, their feelings about Trump and his policies won’t matter unless they actually go to the polls in November.
“Younger voters turn out in the smallest numbers compared to the other age demographics,” Luke Perry, Associate Professor of Government and Politics said. “The bigger consideration is the extent to which they turn out, and in terms of the campaign, the extent to which Hillary Clinton can get them to turn out.”
In terms of Trump’s appeal and its effectiveness, Perry doesn’t believe it will impact the number of African American voters who decide to check his name on the ballot.
“African Americans have been a part of the base for the Democratic party for some time. I think what Hillary Clinton is trying to do is maintain a high level of turnout among African Americans,” Perry said. “From Hillary Clinton’s perspective, it’s a big challenge to try to maintain the turnout of the African American community coming in the wake of Barack Obama. She couldn’t really ask for a better candidate in that regard than Donald Trump because of his rhetoric.”
Kwabena Oppong-Mensuo and Cheick Tounkara, both of whom aren’t registered to vote, wouldn’t consider backing Trump even if they could.
“He doesn’t represent my values at all. The things he says would not make sense to anyone who’s reasonable enough to think about what he says,” senior Oppong-Mensuo said.
“I would never vote for Donald Trump,” sophomore Tounkara chimed in as he sat next to Oppong-Mensuo in the Gannett Library. “He actually doesn’t know what he’s talking about – saying all the black people don’t have futures. He doesn’t know anything about black people. He’s just ignorant.”
According to a Bloomberg Poll, UC students’ thoughts on Trump and his appeal mirrors that of many college-educated people. So, while the campus’ opinions on Trump weren’t surprising, most will agree that the orange-haired candidate is more appealing than the bubonic plague. That, at the very least, counts for something.