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Getting politically passionate with SU students

It’s no secret that Salisbury University’s students are incredibly passionate, knowledgeable and self-sufficient. However, students have taken such traits to another level as they combat ignorance with their passion for politics.

During interviews with Salisbury University’s Co-Presidents for College Democrats Jake Burdett and Fathima Rifkey, they both discussed their views on current politics and the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

Jake Burdett, a senior majoring in political science, strongly plans on voting for Bernie Sanders this coming election.

“We’ve been a progressive organizing force that volunteers and pushes for progressive legislation both at the local, state and national level,” Burdett stated.

Burdett continued to discuss his admiration for the candidate he plans on voting for: Bernie Sanders.

“I want somebody that’s not afraid to be aggressive. Bernie’s definitely willing to call out the media, Democratic Party and the Republican Party.”

Burdett noticed a distinct, juxtaposed approach to Sanders’ campaign: the absence of funding through billionaires and/or millionaires.

“Most politicians just get donations from billionaires, millionaires, corporations, rich, influential people that aren’t looking out for the interest of most regular people who don’t fit into that category," he said.

Co-president Fathima Rifkey also plans on voting for Sanders this upcoming election because of his ability to connect with most low-income and middle-class families.

“I admire his care for civil rights since the beginning. Even after years of doing this, he still carries that passion and fire for human rights," Rifkey said.

Although Rifkey feels that Sanders has the plans and means to execute his agenda, she would prefer the candidate to be more verbally outright with his agenda.

“A lot of people assume he has no answers [since] he doesn’t talk about it [his agenda] as much,” Rafikey stated.

Nicholas Smith, president of the Salisbury University College Republicans, plans on voting for Donald Trump this upcoming election.

Although Smith is not particularly fond of the president’s personality, he believes Trump’s economic advancements in the last four years have been highly productive.

“The stock market is at an all-time high, unemployment is at a all-time low — there’s more money going into American pockets,” Smith stated.

Smith believes that one of Trump’s biggest accomplishments has been his impact on the economy, one of Smith’s values when choosing a candidate.

“The economy is super important because we don’t need another great depression or recession like in 2008," Smith said.

In addition to economic benefits, Smith also believes Trump to value the safety of U.S citizens, a value he also shares.

Although Smith supports Trump’s attempts to protect the safety and of U.S citizens, he also admitted that there are flaws regarding current immigration systems set in place, expressing concern for current detention centers for illegal immigrants.

“I don’t think they [illegal immigrants] should be treated poorly. They need to be treated like humans because they are, and they’re nothing less then what we are. We are the same," Smith suggested in reference to updating the vetting system.

Smith also believes Bernie Sanders is most likely to run against Trump but feels Trump’s economic experience is what going to win him the election the second time around.

Obviously, both SU College Democrats and College Republicans presidents have different opinions, but both groups share the same passion for creating a brighter future, which is incredibly admirable.

Regardless of political views, "Voting is a decision that matters," professor Susan Surak said. She is co-director of the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, or PACE, as well as a political science professor who has some great insight for students planning to vote this upcoming election.

“I think that democracy thrives on a diversity of voices coming into a conversation with each other,” Surak stated.

Surak recommends that students gain information from a variety of sources and be aware of how to identify sources of bias. The library provides several good resources to this end.

Additionally, PACE will soon publish a candidate guide for the Democratic primary, which will include links to the policy webpages of all of the Democratic candidates.

“Politics does involve time, and I think it’s important to be thoughtful about the candidate."

Surak continued to state the importance of knowing not just who you are voting for, but why you’ve chosen to support them.

“Make that you look at what the candidate is saying; their platform, their website, their speeches ..."

Surak also stressed that PACE, an organization that focuses on helping students with voting registration, is a great resource students should check out if they are confused on who to vote for. PACE, located in the Camden House, wants to help students vote, no matter where they stand politically.

“We want you to vote." Surak explained.

Surak referenced the National Study of Learning Voting and Engagement’s 2019 campus press release, which states that SU student voting participation has expanded from 14% to 30% of the student body.

SU is breaking notorious stereotypes associated with younger voters; it’s a great improvement, but it also means 70% of SU students did not vote last election.

It's important that you get out and vote, because we are all affected by politics, whether we would like to think so or not. Your one vote could make a huge difference, and it's time that we raise those statistics surrounding college-aged voters.

If you have no idea where to start when it comes to politics, just know that there are resources at SU that can help you get involved in the upcoming 2020 election.

Happy voting!



Staff writer

Featured photo from Clipart.

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