By Amanda Weber and Felicia Smolen
Assistant News Editor & Griffin Reporter
Across the United States, individuals have different backgrounds, opinions, experiences, lifestyles, and views. At Canisius, we are able to express these differences through multiple avenues, including joining a variety of clubs or organizations. Two of these organizations, where members operate on opposite sides of the political spectrum, are the College Democrats and College Republicans. The Griffin had the opportunity last week to conduct an interview with Trey Staples ‘18, Treasurer of the College Democrats, and gain his insight as to why he believed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should be the next President of the United States. However, to keep readers informed and knowledgeable about both perspectives, The Griffin was able to interview Abigail Meek ‘18, Vice President of the College Republicans, this week and see what she had to say regarding the upcoming election and Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump.
Despite Trump being the official nominee for the Republican Party, Meek initially did not support him for the Presidency. Her initial choice was Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz’s emphasis on “traditional beliefs” and display of “conservative values” appealed to Meek and she believed that Cruz was able to demonstrate better control than Trump. However, since then, Meek has chosen to switch her loyalty to Donald Trump because he is the official Republican nominee. She believes that Cruz made a grave mistake by not supporting Trump in his race for the Presidency. [Editor’s Note: Although initially refusing to endorse Trump, Cruz was filmed phonebanking for him on October 5.]
“After appearing at the Republican Convention and refusing to endorse Trump, he blew his chance at becoming President and the chance of being my write-in,” said Meek.
Despite this initial discrepancy, Meek now supports Trump and believes that he will be able to be a more effective and efficient Commander-in-Chief than Hillary Clinton. Like many Republicans and Americans who support Donald Trump, Meek likes his ability and willingness to say “exactly what he feels” and “not hide what he really stands for.” [Editor’s Note: Trump has been documented to have made contradicting comments during his campaign.] Meek thinks many Americans have gravitated towards Trump because he is not a typical politician and they believe that he is able to say what “Americans” are thinking, but are too afraid to say out loud in fear of sounding offensive. [Editor’s Note: The Griffin does not endorse the idea that Americans are a monolith.]
“I admire Trump and how willing he is to confront the issues in our country no one talks about,” said Meek. “I admire the fact that he is ‘politically incorrect’ and states things for what they are.”
[Editor’s Note: Trumps views don’t necessarily represent reality.]
Despite her allegiance with the Republican party, Meek does agree with a portion of Hillary Clinton’s policy towards higher education. Like a majority of college students who are struggling with exceptionally high tuition costs, Meek understands where Clinton is coming from when she proposes a plan that will decrease the average cost of tuition for higher education institutions. However, she disagrees with Clinton and thinks that the idea of completely forgiving every individual’s student loans when they graduate college is unrealistic. [Editor’s Note: According to Clinton’s website her plan would mean former students would “never have to pay back more than 10 percent of their income, and all remaining college debt will be forgiven after 20 years.”]
“Higher education is a privilege, not a right,” said Meek. “We have to pay for the services that we agreed to pay for.”
As a Republican, Meek agrees with Donald Trump’s vision for this country and believes that he is a more suitable choice for the Presidency than Hillary Clinton. She believes that Trump will be able to make remarkable improvements to both the economic status of this country and the state of our military. She has concluded that Trump’s emphasis on “traditional American values”, such as entrepreneurship, military service, and hard-work will be a great source of inspiration for many Americans to enlist in the Armed Services or open up their own small businesses. In addition, she believes that Trump’s emphasis on “patriotism” and his “Make America Great Again” slogan will promote the wellbeing of the “American” people. [Editor’s Note: Patriotism is subjective.]
“Before we do anything to turn this country around, we must first be proud of it,” said Meek.
Although she endorses Donald Trump, Meek understands the repercussions that the way he speaks about certain groups and his rhetoric may be detrimental to his campaign. For example, an audio tape of Donald Trump, in the accompaniment of former Today correspondent Billy Bush, made lewd and derogatory comments about women. This was an enormous blow to the Trump campaign, and his numbers in the polls have subsequently been dropping. However, Meek believes that the released audio is acting as a distraction and thinks that Americans should be spending their time focusing on the country’s blaring issues.
“These comments were inappropriate,” said Meek “I am not justifying this whatsoever. But I am sure everyone has said some comments that they aren’t so proud of at one point in time.”
However, not every Republican believes that Trump’s words were merely a mistake. The Cornell College Republicans officially endorsed Gary Johnson, the third-party Libertarian candidate, as their choice for President because they disagreed with Donald’s Trump rhetoric throughout his campaign and did not feel like he aligned with their beliefs as members of the Republican Party. In addition, important Republican figures such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have pulled their support of Trump since the release of the audio tape. However, Meek feels that this is a mistake and believes that the Republican party needs to stick together.
“Why would you throw away any chance of having your party in office if this is the party that most closely epitomizes yourself and your values?” questioned Meek.
Like many Americans, both Democrat and Republican, Meek agrees that this election’s focus on both the candidates’ scandals, such as Hillary’s email fiasco, the Donald Trump comments, and the exchange of nasty allegations, should not be the focus of this election. Both Presidential candidates should focus on presenting their policies and plans for the future of this nation rather than mudslinging.
Although Trump has raised eyebrows with his statement that he will keep Americans “in suspense” as to whether he will accept this election’s results or not, Meek believes that he will accept the results but, like many Republicans, will be extremely disappointed if Hillary Clinton is elected. Ultimately, Meek merely feels that a Republican needs to be in office after the Obama administration. As a Republican, Meek feels that her voice and her opinion will be understood better with a Republican in office. Also, she believes that Trump will be able to focus on some major issues, such as the $17.8 trillion debt the country is currently in and the growing threat of terrorist groups, such as ISIS.
As the Vice President of the Canisius College Republicans, Abigail Meek has chosen Donald J. Trump as her choice for the next President of the United States of America.