The Alabama primary election is less than eight months away, and the current presidential candidates are racing for recognition with Donald Trump as the front runner for the Republicans.
Some despise Trump, some love him and some think he is just outright ridiculous.
“Donald Trump is a joke,” said Kevin Reaves, a senior computer science major from Greenville. “But at least he’s a funny joke.”
Whether you like him or not, his presence in the 2016 election cannot be ignored.
This is particularly important for Alabama, which has historically been a Republican-voting state, with John McCain receiving over 60 percent of the state’s vote in 2008 and Mitt Romney receiving over 60 percent in 2012, according to Ballotpedia.
Before his involvement in politics, Trump was known for his fortune, his reality show “The Apprentice” and his brash demeanor.
His brash demeanor certainly has not changed during his campaigning, and America has taken notice.
“His ‘no-nonsense, tell-it-as-it-is’ demeanor is unique in a time where audience pandering is commonplace of politicians,” said Morgan Hoggle, a senior economics major from Greensboro and chairman of the Troy College Republicans.
“Mr. Trump has unquestionably found a way to be successful time and time again in the face of diversity,” Hoggle said.
“His stances on immigration, international trade, and military action are blunt and seemingly straightforward solutions to growing problem.”
One common issue many are having with Trump, however, is his inability to stick with a stance or a party.
“Mr. Trump has been on record with some very different policy and morality views than those he sports today,” Hoggle said.
“His past connections to the Clinton Foundation and organizations like Planned Parenthood are a bit disturbing to Republicans right now,” Hoggle said.
“The only reason I feel that Trump is appealing to the general public is that he seems brutally honest, but he can’t even keep his opinions straight,” said Jeremiah Baky, a junior political science major from Dauphin Island and president of Troy Students for Liberty.
“Trump is so disillusioned with the world and the way it works,” Baky said.
Trump’s blunt, but perhaps not supportable, opinions may not be the only thing that is fueling his political fame, according to Hoggle.
“Trump has connected with the dissatisfaction of Americans with the unsuccessful status quo,” he said. “His rally in Mobile recently was filled with Alabamians simply frustrated with the failed policies of the current administration.”
He appears to come from outside the political realm at a time where the American voters feel a bit betrayed and misrepresented by politicians in general.”
This does not mean that other political parties are ignored in Alabama, however.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently in the lead for the Democratic nomination, but some students are doubtful that she will be able to hold the upper hand.
“The biggest threat to the Republicans this election is by far Bernie Sanders,” Baky said.
“He has a lot of popularity with younger crowds due to his views on education, ending the drug war and raising the minimum wage.”
“I think the people are becoming more aware of the extent to which Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly failed to perform her duties in public office, especially as secretary of state,” Hoggle said.
Both Hoggle and Baky also agree that there is no clear outcome in the race so far.
“None of the current nominees have my vote,” Baky said. “This election, like the past few, will be choosing from the shiniest of two turds.”
Hoggle urges students to use this time to learn about the candidates before Alabama’s primary election on March 1 and the general election on Nov. 8.
“I would caution anyone from jumping to support a candidate this early based on soundbites and promises,” he said.
“Research it on your own and come to your own conclusion. This is our future after all. We live in the information age and should make the most informed vote available.”
ISideWith.com is a website where you can fill out a questionnaire about current political, social and economic issues and receive a list of the candidates you identify with the most based on your answers.
The results are free and can be a useful tool in beginning your research on candidates that share your views.
“This election is very important for our future, our children’s future and liberty as a whole,” Hoggle said.
“I know as well as anyone that politics can get messy and boring, but the debate and participation is necessary if we are going to remain a government ‘of the people, by the people.’ So get out and listen, question, consider and vote.”