The political temperature of UT Austin

We asked students who they support

We asked eight students who they support (currently running or not) and why.

Brendan Jones, Freshman, Physics & Electrical Engineering

Brendon Jones (pictured right)
Age: 19
Hometown: North Richland Hills, TX
Candidate: None, Anti-Establishment, Bernie Sanders

“I’m for sure in favor in putting in a new system in a lot of different government activities, because the ones we have now are terribly inefficient and don’t really benefit many people. However, this is because realistically I know the government will continue to be involved in our economy regardless of my best ideas for a free market economy.

“With the people leading the country at the moment, I would be against involvment with other foreign affairs, especially in the Middle East. The Middle East is a volitile system of half-working government bodies, run by the interest of oil industry and the military-industrial complex. Hell, even the UN is hardly for the peace of allied nations as a whole. The leaders themselves are directly involved with the activities they consider world crimes, such as the British supplying Saudi Arabia with the personnel and weapons to attack Yemeni civilian infrastructure, and the US’s involvment with Iraq’s nuclear program.

“We can never stop getting our grubby little hands on situations that might mount us a profit, we end up creating extremist groups like ISIS, and then ignoring that fact entirely when the world suffers on our behalf. (If you need proof for ISIS formation being our responsibility, just look at our original alliance with Osama Bin Ladin near the end of the cold war, and see how long we’ve really been dealing with this kind of issue).

“Until the government stops being the servant of corporate big heads (bailouts, tax exemptions, job outsourcing, lobbiest gropus, etc.) our economy will continue to suffer and the people will continue to point the fingers at stupid factors that contribute little to this problem. For example, immigrants and the jobs they hold, or minimum wage and its effects on the market. The people have been fooled that the government acts in their best interests; however, that could not be farther from the truth.”

Bryson T. Strachan, Freshman, Economics/BA Minor

Bryson T. Strachan (pictured left)
Age: 18
Hometown: Frisco, TX
Candidate: Senator Marco Rubio

“I support Marco Rubio. I like him because he comes off as an honest and strong candidate that not only has a high electability, but would be a great leader and put the country back on the right track.

“Also, he is a nice change from most of the Republican party candidates and seems to be more moderate and willing to compromise, which is much needed in the growing partisan world we live in. When it comes to policy, I like that he plans to strengthen our military by modernizing and rebuilding it, and has aims at a strong foreign policy to deal with the threats of Russia, ISIS, and Iran.

“In addition to that, he plans to help protect the second amendment and our constitutional rights, raise taxes on the highest earners, help out families with a tax credit, aid our veterans, improve K-12 education with common core and school selection, and get the government out of the way of the economy to help it flourish. Overall, I personally believe he is the candidate that our country needs at this point.”

Nolan Tucker, Freshman, Biology

Nolan Tucker
Age: 18
Hometown: Grafenwoehr, Germany
Candidate: Senator Bernie Sanders

“Don’t you think its weird that an entire party looks like a laughingstock? I’m talking about the Republican Party. We had some good guys in there of course (like Eisenhower), but ever since McCain decided to choose a Dan Quayle of a vice president, that served as a precedent that we need to have a clown car of idiots who are the pinnacle of corruption.

“The Democrats aren’t exempt from this either. We have a person who used to lead by a wide margin that thinks it’s OK to take money from big corporations, constantly flipflop on issues, and hide her scandalous career for what it is. Bernie Sanders is the only logical choice. His policies to expand government programs, rebuild a crumbling infastructure, end the corruption of Wall Street, and make Congress work for the many and not the few is what this country needs, especially for the millions of people currently in poverty.

“Of course, there would be naysayers to this guy who say stuff like “he’s a socialist!” but there have always been naysayers, especially to the socialist who was elected four times more than seventy years ago.”

Charlie Bonner, Sophomore, Plan II and Government/Art History

Charlie Bonner
Age: 20
Hometown: Arlington, TX
Candidate: Secretary Hillary Clinton

I had the pleasure to interview Charlie in person. He is the head of Longhorns For Hillary, the student organization on campus that supports Secretary Clinton. Charlie Bonner is a very enthusiastic and dedicated supporter of Hillary Clinton, remarking on her past stances as an old version of Clinton, who has since “evolved on issues” admiring how she can “admit she was wrong 20 years ago” and believes this is indicative of a “genuine evolution.”

He also contrasts this with the GOP who “hasn’t changed in decades” on the big issues such as abortion, women’s rights, racial inequality, climate change, etc.. He believes Hillary’s changing opinion on the issues “is not because she never believed in them, or is saying whatever she needs to, but because she can acknowledge her mistakes and misgivings and evolve with the times, which makes me believe more in her honesty.” Bonner believes Mrs. Clinton is changing the rhetoric in politics to include more love and more kindness towards one another, and that this is slammed not because it is not valid, but because it is viewed as a product of her femininity rather than her good nature.

On the potential differences between a female and male president, Bonner believes that regardless of gender, the presidency should rest on experienced shoulders, which he believes Secretary Clinton has as a result of her time in the White House as First Lady and as Secretary of State. In addition to that, a Hillary Clinton presidency would be a breaking of the glass ceiling, and has worked hard to do so; she has “put up with attacks on her femininity” and is “tough as nails.” She could act as a mother/grandmother to the White House, in addition to a commander-in-chief, and as opposed to a cold leader.

Opposition to a Clinton presidency often brings up her so-called “moral failings”, such as the infamous private e-mails and Benghazi, and in response, Bonner would remind the opposition that these scandals are a culmination of 30 to 40 years in the spotlight and as such has more to see and more to be slandered over, and that she has been cleared of fault of these “scandals” and that the slander of her personal and professional mistakes are propaganda that dilute who she really is.

For those Sanders supporters out there, Bonner says he has chosen Clinton over Sanders because he believes she is the most qualified person to have ever run for office, enabled by her experience in Secretary of State and First Lady, as well as her passion for planning policy minutely. In addition, her platform and her opinions in general are “viable solutions” rooted in “accountability,” and given “the breath of experience.” Bonner asserts that Clinton knows how to confidently and effectively handle issues within the party and across the aisle.

Ahmed Rehman, Junior, Economics

Ahmed Rehman
Age: 19
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Candidate: Senator Rand Paul, later Governor John Kasich

“I was always on the fence on whether I should support Rand Paul or John Kasich. A trait both of these two candidates share which I feel is extremely important is the respect the rights our country’s first amendment. I’m a fiscal and a social conservative and believe our president should honor the Constitution. During a time where candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson were discriminating against Muslims.

“Trump proposed a Muslim ban, and Carson said a Muslim is not fit to be president of the United States. These statements and proposals are clearly a violation of the 1st amendment, and Rand Paul defended the rights of Muslims in the debates he participated in. Additionally, Rand’s fiscal policies he proposed are what this nation needs to prosper and keep jobs in the US. His ‘audit the fed’ bill he supported as a senator and his proposed flat tax really appealed to me. It’s sad to see a defender of our constitution drop out of the race, but John Kasich shares a lot of similar ideology and I feel that he would be a terrific president as well.”

Once Rand Paul dropped out of the race, Ahmed decided on John Kasich.

“I endorse John Kasich, governor of Ohio, for president of the United States. Our great country needs a leader who has the experience and ability to communicate and get work done with both republicans and democrats. John Kasich is a proven and successful leader. He erased an eight billion dollar deficit in Ohio and made it a two billion dollar surplus, while cutting taxes and promoting economic growth and creating jobs. He has a proven record of winning.

“He stands by his conservative principles, and is one of the very few level headed candidates left in the republican primary. His strong showing in New Hampshire, a majority independent state, is a good indication that he appeals to both sides of the political spectrum. A true fiscal conservative and a politician who can reason with the entirety of this nation deserves to become the president of the United States this winter.”

Chessie Reece, Freshman, Government and Plan II

Name: Chessie Reece
Age: 18
Hometown: Euless, TX
Candidate: Senator Marco Rubio

“I support Marco Rubio because he is very electable. He’s young, relatable, smart and self-made. Despite the outcome of the Iowa caucuses, it’s important to note that the rest of America doesn’t have that kind of middle-class, rural, white Evangelical population. The rest of America has more mainstream conservatives who are looking – now that the economy has substantially improved – for a contraction in the role of the government.

“Marco Rubio has outlined the most sensible plan for making what mainstream conservatives are seeking a reality. He has not shied away from stating his positions and have stuck to them, elaborating on them when necessary and changing them – not with the political demands of each week – but according to the logical deliberation which refines all people’s opinions over time.

“And in response to criticism (such as Chris Christie’s during the GOP debate following the Iowa caucuses) that he’s just an establishment candidate who has memorized soundbites people want to hear, well, he’s been in the establishment for less time than any other ‘establishment candidate,’ done more in that short time than many of them have done in their years, and at least he’s a candidate who clearly knows what he believes and has repeated it so many times it becomes second nature for him to repeat it again.”

Eric Yiankes, Freshman, Economics

Eric preferred to not be pictured. 

Age: 19

Hometown: Valparaiso, IN

Candidate: Donald Trump

“This is the first presidential election I’ll be able to be active in. What a coincidence that for the first year that I’m eligible, we get one of the most interesting and unique elections? Donald Trump is an icon. He’s a master of whatever he does. When he chooses to pursue something, he puts everything he has into it and, almost always, it is finished early and exceeds expectations. He’s not running for any reason other than bettering the country.

“Now on to policy. I know this comes off as harsh, but this country has ALOT bigger issues to deal with right now other than LGBT, gun control, and taxing the rich 90%. These problems can be dealt with after ISIS isn’t a threat, after we can do something about our almost $19 trillion debt, and when we can say with certainty that our borders are actually borders. I am a firm believer that Donald Trump isn’t just a good candidate to get those things done, he is the perfect candidate to get it done.”

Olivia Griffin, Sophomore, Plan II Honors, Government, History

Name: Olivia Griffin
Age: 20
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Candidate: Governor Martin O’ Malley, later Secretary Hillary Clinton

“Gov. O’Malley has a track record of creating positive change in both Baltimore and Maryland and over 15 years of executive leadership experience. Many of the things that other candidates are only talking about, such as raising the minimum wage, Gov. O’Malley actually passed in Maryland. Additionally, he has held constant positions on issues and has been ahead of many other politicians in voicing his support for same-sex marriage, the DREAM Act, and gun regulations, and is independent of Wall Street and Super PAC influence and is not afraid to hold the big banks accountable for actions that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis.

“Gov. O’Malley also has the strongest immigration platform of any of the 2016 candidates, and has really fought for New Americans and brought up immigration issues in this election cycle. I live near the Mexican border, so immigration issues are particularly important to me, especially since I am really connected to the Latino community and many of my friends are the children of immigrants from around the world who are now living the American Dream and sending their children off to higher education.

“While Gov. O’Malley has suspended his campaign, I still am a proud supporter of him and his policies, and know that he will continue to bring about positive change in our nation through strong leadership and fresh new ideas in whatever he does in the future, and I don’t think that America has seen the last of Martin O’Malley.”

Once Martin O’ Malley pulled out of the race, Olivia decided to support Hillary Clinton:

“I’m supporting Hillary because I believe that she’s the most qualified of the remaining Democratic candidates and has well-thought out policy positions that are more feasible than other candidates’ policies. Additionally, I believe that Hillary appeals more to moderate voters, and it’s critical this year for the Democratic Party to have a well-known candidate to appeal to moderate and swing voters to ensure that not all three houses are controlled by the government.

“Most moderate voters are going to be scared off by the “socialist” label no matter how many times others try to explain what it really means and remove the negative connotation, and I think that it’s too much of a risky card to play this election when Democrats have so much to lose if they lose control of the White House as well as the other two branches of government.”


Each of the people above are volunteers of their opinions and have submitted the paragraphs and pictures I have used, with the exception of Charlie Bonner, who I interviewed in-person and have directly quoted along with paraphrased.

This article was a pleasure to write and I plan on more political pieces. If you would like to take place in future pieces, my twitter is linked below. Thank you.

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