Minority student groups reflect on election

MSA, LSA, NASU share views on major party candidates

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In a recent poll conducted by The Cavalier Daily, no Muslim University students indicated they intended to vote for Trump.

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

For many reasons, this election has been one of the most contentious in American history and several minority populations have found themselves at the forefront of political discourse. Whether America sees a Clinton or Trump presidency after Election Day, the next president will serve as the ultimate representative for the people of the nation — speaking on behalf of all groups of people.

While most polls predict a Clinton presidency, the reality of a Trump presidency is not abstract. Widely regarded as the less “politically correct” candidate, many believe Trump is the harbinger of increased national racial tension and discriminatory legislation.

“Either way, if Trump is to become elected or he is not, it’s the mindset … now that [is] ingrained in people’s heads, especially a lot of prejudices,” Aseer Ahmad, fourth-year College student and Muslim Student Alliance Outreach Coordinator, said.

Throughout the election cycle, Trump has been accused of promoting an Islamophobic message, but Muslims are not the only minority group of which Trump has spoken disparagingly — Hispanic Americans have also been targeted by proposed immigration policy.

“For sure, the Trump presidency … would be more dangerous, most people would think,” Latino Student Alliance President Amelia Garcia, a fourth-year College student, said.

This sentiment rings true with many Americans, not just minorities. In a recent Associated Press-GfK nationwide poll, 56 percent of respondents said they fear a Trump presidency, and an overwhelming two-thirds of respondents said they find him to be at least somewhat racist.

“As far as native communities go, I don’t really see any positives [with a Trump presidency],” NASU Powwow Coordinator Ben Walters, a third-year Engineering student, said. “[His presidency promises] just the consistent racism and hatred that he seems to bring out in a lot of people.”

However, Trump still maintains some support within minority groups. Like any demographic group, opinions and preferences on the election are not uniform within the Hispanic community.

In a recent poll done by Bendixen and Amandi International and the Tarrance Group, it was found that while Clinton leads Trump with likely Hispanic voters in the battleground states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Nevada, in none of those states does Trump entirely lack support from the Hispanic electorate.

“There are some in the Hispanic community who agree with [Trump’s] economic policy but not his immigration, but there are even those in the Hispanic community that say ‘I came here legally, I got a green card, I waited in line and ... I don’t want the Democrats to give amnesty to all immigrants, they should wait in line too,’” Garcia said.

Within the Muslim community, there is a smaller but no less real diversity of opinions. Of the Muslim Americans included in a recent nationwide poll conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, 85 percent felt that the presence of Islamophobia has grown in the last year, but only 72 percent of those polled plan to vote for Clinton.

“After all this hateful rhetoric you see from Trump, you’d think that 99 percent of Muslims are dead-set on voting for Clinton, but everyone has their own opinions,” Ahmad said. “There’s been policies that I personally wouldn’t agree with on Clinton’s side, but at this point it’s about choosing not only who’d better for Muslims but for Americans in general.”

In a recent poll conducted by The Cavalier Daily, no Muslim University students indicated they intended to vote for Trump.

Clinton has vocalized her support of immigration reform, the nationwide movement towards achieving racial justice and equality and the rights of women, disabled Americans and members of the LGBTQ community. For these reasons — among others — her support base in minority groups is larger than Trump’s.

“There’s an extreme variety within the Hispanic community as a whole in the U.S.,” Garcia said. “For a Clinton presidency, obviously the positive, at least for immigration, is that she would uphold [the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] and introduce comprehensive immigration reform.”

While some groups find direct positives to a Clinton presidency, some in the Native American community may see little to no impact with Clinton in office, Walters said.

“I don’t see nearly as many negatives with [a Clinton] presidency but personally I don’t see a whole lot of positives either,” Walters said. “She … supported some legislation that did directly pertain to native peoples and then on a couple occasions she supported legislation that indirectly helped native peoples … [but] she’ll more or less have sort of a net zero impact on the native population as a whole.”

Regardless of who becomes the next president, this election cycle has caused many to increase their involvement in the government and political process. According to the Pew Research Center, 28.5 percent of Americans voted in the primaries this year — the second highest voter turnout this country has seen in primaries since at least 1980.

“Ever since his campaign has started, more Muslims have been politically active than ever before, so I look at it as a blessing in disguise,” Ahmad said. “If it were just to be straightforward, like a normal election or campaign we’ve had in previous years, Muslims never would’ve been outgoing in campaigning or getting our voices heard in lobbying.”

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