Touting Trump, or Feeling the Bern? SMU students share Super Tuesday choices

By Sue Han

Updated by editor on Feb. 29 at 10:53 a.m.

With Super Tuesday approaching, I talked with a range of SMU students about which candidate they’re supporting for president and why. The range of these interviews may not reflect the entirety of SMU’s campus, but I did seek out a diverse range of voices. (And please, feel free to share your own perspective in the comments below!)  

None of the students I spoke with said they’re voting for Ted Cruz — not sure what that says about the senator’s chances among young GOP voters in his home state. However, it was not hard at all to find Democratic supporters of Bernie Sanders, whose collegiate appeal has found its way to the Hilltop.


Aabid Shiviji, Sophomore

Age: 20

Major: Management, Philosophy  

Hometown: Grapevine, Texas

Supporting: Bernie Sanders

Shiviji, an RA, is on the pre-law track and supports Bernie Sanders. Shiviji said Sanders’ platform “is anti-establishment enough and pro-people enough where his political platforms have been written in such a way and advocate in such a way that identifies my needs as a person.” He would also like to see perceptions of Muslims improve in America: “I am hugely against the Islamophobia that has come to take hold in this country.”



Angela Wang, Sophomore

Age: 19

Major: Biochemistry and Human Rights

Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas

Supporting: Hillary Clinton

Wang is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton, who she says “is a lot more apt and capable of promoting change and she knows how the system works.” The two most important issues for Wang are foreign policy and immigration. As a human rights major, Wang believes that America should intervene in foreign affairs: “If we don’t do it, no one else will, and if anyone, we have the capability to take the financial hit. And what is a human life if we don’t value everybody’s human life?” Wang also thinks America should encourage immigration: “Baby boomers will retire and we need a strong economy to supply for all these older Americans, and to think that newcomers will come and detract from America’s jobs? No, they are building jobs that we need.”



Ben Ovenshire, Freshman

Age: 19

Major: Mechanical Engineering  

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Supporting: Undecided between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio

Ovenshire, a Lyle senator, said both Trump and Rubio have the economic vision to ensure “that we, as a graduating workforce, will be able to be successful and be able to work for our goals.” The most important issue to Ovenshire is the size of the current government, which he says is too involved: “There is a lot of overstepping in terms of what responsibilities they have and what they are actually called to do,” he said.



Kyle Hartman, Senior

Age: 21

Major: Music Composition  

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Supporting: Marco Rubio

Hartman is currently working on his senior recital and is involved with the Southern Gentlemen Acapella group. He says he’s supporting Rubio because he sees the 44-year-old senator’s lack of experience as a good thing: “It means he hasn’t been in the system, so he hasn’t allowed political jargon to corrupt him.” Hartman also said Rubio “is the one who’s really focusing on policy, really focusing on the issues,” adding that he hopes whoever the next president is “will find a solution to party-line bickering where we can come together and realize that we have the same goals, but we have to talk about them openly.”



Jose Santoyo, Senior

Age: 24

Major: Human Rights

Hometown: Corsicana, Texas

Supporting: Bernie Sanders

Santoyo is an undocumented student who has temporary status to study in the United States. He moved here when he was 8. He acknowledges that he cannot vote, but also knows that he has a lot in stake in this election. “Growing up in the U.S., I realized what it was like to not have the necessary documents, and the laws that were currently in place affected my everyday life,” he said. While Santoyo cannot cast a ballot, he has been very active during the primary season the Sanders campaign even flew him to Nevada, so he could volunteer. “I believe in many of the ideas he has,” Santoyo said. “He really does care about people.” Santoyo, who also serves in the student senate as a Hispanic senator, said he’s trying to make a difference by “getting people to vote, getting people informed on the issues of the candidates, just going out there and getting the word out … I am encouraging people to practice their right to vote because it is sacred, it is their voice, and it’s something many of us wish we had.”



Kayla Graves, Junior

Age: 20

Major: History  

Hometown: Allen, Texas

Supporting: Bernie Sanders

Graves, who transferred to SMU after her first year from Lake Forest College, said she is 100 percent behind Sanders. “For me as a first-generation college student, a minority student, and as a female, I feel like his policies will benefit the country as a whole versus the other candidates,” she said. Graves, who works both on and off campus and still has to take out loans, said she strongly supports raising minimum wage to $15 an hour: “How much school tuition and room and board has risen, it’s not anywhere near keeping up with the inflation of the dollar, with how much students are being charged.” She also disagrees with the sentiment that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate for women and children, referring back to policies that Clinton supported as first lady, such as increasing minimum sentencing. “That’s a whole population that’s predominately minority … that’s lost the right to vote based on the minimum sentencing laws that she favored in the 90’s,” Graves said.



Abby Ludeman, Junior

Age: 21

Major: Advertising and Marketing

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Supporting: Undecided, but leaning toward Ben Carson

Ludeman knows who she is not supporting: “I don’t find Hillary Clinton to be trustworthy,” she said. “I feel that Bernie Sanders is almost a socialist.” She describes herself as a moderate Republican when it comes to social views and has more conservative views in terms of the economy. Ludeman said she’s inspired by how Carson “started off from absolutely nothing and [had] to work for where he became a neurosurgeon.” She worries about the economy and whether there will be jobs available when she graduates, describing her parents’ experience: “There were no jobs when they got out of undergrad. They couldn’t find anything and ended up going to grad school and becoming more in debt to become more marketable.”

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