While the Republican Party has reclaimed the presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress, Republican students are still unable to fully unite behind the president-elect. Although the real estate mogul won the presidency — against the polls’ predictions — students remain divided.
Some Republican students have not reneged their support of Trump, but a large source of dissent comes from Trump’s rhetoric — a sentiment shared university-wide. They voiced their concerns through social activism, such as rallying in Washington Square Park, marching to Trump Tower and showing solidarity with students experiencing discrimination.
Some Republicans, such as CAS senior Daniel Balagula, think that these actions are ineffective due to their inability to enact tangible change. In addition, Balagula said that he found the rallies contradictory after meeting some protesters who did not vote.
“I think it says a lot about the state of the Democratic party right now: lost in cause and purpose,” Balagula said. “There are many people who identify as Democrats, but who had no passion for Hillary until only after she lost. So I see them as more reactionary than having any deeper purpose. The protests could be used as a way to demonstrate discontent, but that’s the most they’ll ever do.”
SPS senior William Gockel-Figge, who identifies as Republican, said he believes the protests are a “distasteful mockery” of the electoral system and people should instead acknowledge that they were able to partake in a free and fair election.
“I am all for peaceful protest but I believe those who ruin buildings and public property should be charged with rioting — an offense chargeable up to five years,” Gockel-Figge said. “Shouting hateful racist comments as they protest love and beating up people as they talk about peace is just maniacal. My only feeling towards them is pity and sorrow for such a misguided people.”
However, Republicans such as Gockel-Figge look forward to the change of leadership ideologies in the nation.
Balagula thinks the Trump presidency will be a breath of fresh air. However, he does not support Trump’s stances on women’s health care, since he believes American citizens should have as many rights as possible with their bodies and personal lives.
“It’s going to disrupt conventional politics, media and academia in ways that probably have never happened before,” Balagula said. “Even during the end of election day, you had the biggest news outlets in the world admitting fault within their own system, how they weren’t listening and joining the conversation but rather controlling the conversation. I’m also looking forward to seeing Trump deliver on all his economic promises that he’s made, which I truly think he
CAS alum Matthew Sgouros said he can’t think of a single thing he isn’t looking forward to in Trump’s presidency.
“I am most looking forward to him using his business experience to improve our economy and bring jobs back to this nation,” Sgouros said. “I am also very optimistic for the creation of a wall along our southern border to better control our nation’s severe illegal immigration issue. I am also cautiously optimistic that Trump’s presidency may put an end to the this era of political correctness and victimizing that this nation has seen under Obama, which I believe is the first step to reuniting many of the divisions we have seen among different groups of Americans in recent times.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 14 print edition. Email Herman Lee at [email protected]