Canisius Democrats “follow the ticket”

By Amanda Weber and Felicia Smolen

Assistant News Editor and Griffin Reporter

The 2016 Presidential race between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump has been contentious and vitriolic, more so than Presidential races in the past. Both Clinton and Trump have followed the familiar paths of winning their parties’ nominations and have since been campaigning to gain voters and promote their respective ideas for this country’s future. Their campaigns and debates will come to a close, however, when the American people vote and make their decision on November 8. With Election Day rapidly approaching, The Griffin interviewed Trey Staples ‘18, Treasurer for the Canisius College Democrats, in order to gain his personal insight and opinions regarding this year’s Presidential race and, specifically, Hillary Clinton.

Although Hillary Clinton was chosen to be the nominee for the Democratic ticket for this election, like many other Democrats, Staples’ original allegiance was with Senator Bernie Sanders. Prior to the announcement of the official Democratic nomination, Staples noted that he really took interest in the policies that Sanders was proposing and was a supporter of his from the very beginning of his campaign for President. However, since this time, Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination and Staples now states that his support and endorsement has transferred over to her.

“I’ve since switched to Hillary,” said Staples. “Obviously, Bernie’s not running anymore […] and I am a loyal Democrat. So I follow the ticket, so to speak.”

Staples also noted that he recognized and respected Sanders’s decision to endorse Hillary Clinton, despite the Senator’s hesitation to do so originally. Staples continued on by saying that if Senator Sanders had refused to endorse Clinton for President, that the fracture that is now occurring in the Republican party would likely have happened with the Democratic party as well. Notable members of the Republican party, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan, former Republican nominee John McCain, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and others, have pulled their support for Donald Trump after audio from 2005 was released that included the Republican nominee making derogatory comments about a woman. Staples is glad that this was not the fate of the Democratic party.  [Editor’s Note: While Trump has proven more divisive to the leadership of the Republican Party, the Democratic Party has seen a limited but still significant degree of fracturing among its voters.]

“I feel that it was wise of Bernie to keep the Democratic party from fracturing,” said Staples. “It probably would have split our party in half and we don’t need that right now.”

Despite his transfer of support to Hillary Clinton, Staples expressed that he originally preferred Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination because of his focus on the problems that are currently facing the country, while Hillary was focusing more on foreign issues and problems concerning foreign policy. Although these issues are of great importance as well, Staples preferred that aspect of Sanders’ campaign. However, he noted that Hillary has since adopted some of Sanders’ strategies and is now addressing more issues regarding domestic affairs rather than the involvement of the United States elsewhere.

Regarding Donald Trump, Staples showed concern for the Republican nominee’s immigration policy and ideas for border security. Despite both candidates agreeing that this is an issue, each have a drastically different idea for how to handle this particular problem. Although the current immigration policy may have issues and need adjustment, Staples disagrees with Donald Trump on how to handle the situation and does not believe that his approach is the proper way to go about handling it.

“I feel Donald Trump’s approach to the issue is a little too strong-handed,” Staples said. “I feel like diplomacy, right now, would be the best course of action to take rather than strong-arming another foreign power.”

Although Staples is a registered Democrat and is dedicated to the party, he does agree with Donald Trump on certain notions.  For example, Staples said that he agrees that ISIS–because of their relatively large following and the chaos they cause–represents a threat both to the world and to the national security of the United States. However, while Staples can understand Trump’s sentiment and see where he is coming from on certain issues, Staples noted that he still does not agree with how he approaches and presents his policies as a whole.

“He is a businessman,” said Staples. “I don’t feel that he would be able to put aside his experience, knowledge, and inherent bias with his business experience, and put that aside to do what’s best for the average individual.”

Another prominent part of this election year has been the Presidential debates, which have proven to be light on policy and heavy on mudslinging. More than anything, Staples says members of both political parties could agree they would feel much more comfortable if they had solid plans presented to them. Instead, moderators tend to ask questions which promote petulance and do little to uplift the discourse when one candidate or the other drags it down.

“As an informed voter and a loyal, concerned citizen,” said Staples, “it would be nice to see our two potential leaders amicably discuss the path that they see our nation heading towards and what problems face us.”

Staples also brought up the third and final Presidential debate, which occurred on October 20. Both the Canisius College Democrats and Republicans joined together to watch this debate. Despite the two prior debates’ focus on slander and nasty words exchanged by both candidates, Staples expressed his hopes to hear about solid plans for policy and what actions will be taken in order to implement these policies.

In addition to the outrage that has been caused by the recent debates, many people have put Clinton under fire for her e-mail scandals, regarding both the investigation of classified information being sent on a non-secure server and the release of the transcripts from her paid speeches with Wall Street corporations. This has become a large source for distrust in Hillary Clinton.

“Well, first off,” said Staples, “regardless of the content or the circumstances surrounding the release of the emails, I hope, as a person and as a politician, Hillary takes what many would see as a setback and learns and grows from it.”

Staples goes on to say that although there has been a lot of attention that has been drawn to this issue, it is in fact not the first time that scandals like these have occurred among Presidential candidates. Members on both sides of the political spectrum have struggled with similar issues in the past. Although he is a Democrat, Staples noted that he would hope that any politician, whether it be a Republican or Democrat, could learn from their past mistakes or transgressions.  [Editor’s Note: The FBI, currently under Republican leadership, investigated Clinton’s “e-mail scandal” and recommended no charges be brought.]

“I would not want to see this happen to a Republican policy maker, or any Presidential or Congressional candidate,” said Staples.

As the Treasurer of the College Democrats, Trey Staples has chosen Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as his choice for the next President of the United States of America.

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