Donald Trump supporters celebrated as the Republican presidential candidate won the state of Arkansas in the primaries earlier this month.
Trump is leading presidential candidate for the Republican Party, especially now that Marco Rubio has dropped out of the race. Trump has come under heavy fire from moderates, the left and a large portion of the right. Trump’s attitude and views have led many, including a significant number of John Brown University students, to condemn him as a viable possibility for the candidacy.
“Donald Trump is the worst presidential candidate that we’ve had since I can remember,” Daniel Leake, junior graphic design major, said. “His content as far as policy is nonexistent and his rhetoric is demeaning.”
“People aren’t taking the presidential race seriously. They aren’t saying ‘Let’s pay attention to the way our country is run and who would be sensitive to foreign nations,’” Leake added. “People are so caught up in the race that they’re not even thinking about that. It’s a game for them.”
Leake is not the only one who speaks against Trump. Lana Bromling, junior English major, said that Trump is “reckless with his words, often running unscripted and unfiltered. That kind of careless tongue can be destructive in any kind of discourse with other nations.”
“Language creates culture, and his racist, angry and selfish remarks have the power to create a racist, angry and selfish culture,” Bromling said of Trump’s rhetoric.
Trump’s supporters have kicked against this generalization. Bill Stevenson, Director of International Programs at the University, said the condemnation of Trump’s supporters goes against American tradition.
“The United States enjoys a rich heritage of political freedom. By this I mean that we can agree to disagree on parties, candidates, etc,” Stevenson said.
“I would encourage all of us to claim the respect for one another during this election process. Let’s not give into anything less.” Stevenson said. “Trump was going to be a shock to America’s system, which is what Trump’s supporters want.”
“He has re-written the rules and it is therefore not politics as normal. Trump supporters are fed up with political correctness, tolerance and run-of-the-mill politics. They want huge change and they want it now,” Stevenson said.
Britt Wisener, freshman undeclared student, does not support Trump, but agrees with Stevenson that things have gotten out of hand in dealing ethically with Trump’s followers, citing various instances of attacking the person outright rather than the policy.
“You don’t attack a person for who they are, rather look at the record. Don’t just say that Trump’s a racist. Say it and then back it up with the things he’s done in the past, and to Trump, don’t just call everyone else in the Republican race a liar. Back it up,” Wisener said.
“If you don’t remain civil, you’re just going to offend everybody, and then it becomes difficult to see what’s right for the country. Instead, you just become preoccupied with defending yourself,” Wisener added.
Josiah Sprout, sophomore construction management major, is a moderate supporter of Trump and said that while he has concerns about him, he would vote for him over any of the current Democratic candidates. He said that Trump’s appeal is his transparency.
“Though I see why people see him as a bully, I admire his straight-forwardness,” Sprout said. “He’s using emotional appeal to stir up Americans who are frustrated with the dishonest and corrupt nature of current politicians.”
Sprout, much like Stevenson and Wisener, said the political environment on campus is unproductive: “Hating Trump for his hate only continues the trend. The diversity here at John Brown University leads to varying political opinions, but we can discuss political issues with respect while still getting along.”