First and foremost, I have to thank Paul for his willingness to do this interview with me. Although we go to different universities, we still keep in touch with each other. Thanks for all the good memories in high school, and truly being a great and down to Earth friend.
Paul Diaz is a sophomore at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, fulfilling a Philosophy degree with a minor in English. Diaz is a supporter of the Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and will vote for him in the upcoming election. This blog post is intended to show the perspective of a college student voting for a democrat. I will be doing an interview with a college republican in the near future. Thank you, and enjoy!
Q: Thanks for coming out and helping me with my blog Paul. Lets get started. How important do you think it is for college students to vote, especially in this election?
A: I think it’s extremely important both in this election and in general. We can’t afford to be apathetic towards politics.
Q: For you and I, this will be the first time we’ll be able to make our mark in history. Tell me about the emotion behind voting. Are you excited? How do you feel?
A: I’m about as excited as anyone else who takes politics seriously.It’s arguably our most effective way of influencing politics.
Q: You support Bernie Sanders. What is it about his message that appeals to you?
A: I was personally sold by his idea of campaign finance reform and taking back our government from wealthy special interests.
Q: Sanders is also a big proponent of raising the minimum wage, universal healthcare, and free education. How do these particular issues sit with you?
A: Well, I support the minimum wage not only because I believe it should be a living wage, but also because it would be beneficial to the economy, as a number of economists and economic articles have stated. As for healthcare, I’m not crazy about a profit-motivated system being involved when you’re dealing with someone’s health. People these days, particularly close to or at the poverty line, are likely to find themselves in a situation where they have to choose between their health or their financial stability. I think that should not be happening in a country as wealthy as ours. I support free education because I believe that the only way to make a representative electoral system like ours work the way it should be is to have an educated population. The more accessible an education is for others, the better it will be for our democracy.
Q: Bernie Sanders has recently pushed a bit of momentum. Moving into the West Coast, how pivotal are the next few weeks for the Vermont Senator? Do you think he can still win the nomination?
A: The next few weeks will almost certainly make or break his campaign. He has to overcome his deficit in delegates (pledged delegates in particular) or he simply won’t be the nominee. I firmly believe he can still pull it off at this point. Whether or not he will remains to be seen.
Q: Tomorrow night is the big debate which will include both democrat and republican candidates. What are you looking forward most about tomorrow night?
What will you be looking for Sanders to do in order to feed that momentum?
A: I’m looking forward to seeing how Hillary and Bernie will repel the criticisms that they have levied at each other in the past several days. The race for the nomination is definitely getting more heated as time goes by. As for the republican candidates, there’s honestly not much for me to look forward to at this point. You can probably understand why. I think Bernie’s best way to feed his momentum is to continue doing what he’s been doing to create it in the first place: hammer his message, defend himself effectively when he trades blows with Hillary, and land a few good ones on Hillary herself while remaining the statesman politician he’s been throughout his campaign.
Q: There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about Hilary Clinton and her relationship with “fossil fuel money,” according to Bernie Sanders.
How do feel about the battle between both campaigns, demanding apologies to one another?
A: I think everything about this “battle” is pretty trivial, with the major exception of the questions raised about Hillary’s campaign contributions and consequently her integrity. I don’t see apologies being exchanged between them anytime soon, but who knows?
Q: Clinton’s campaign contributions have been an issue in the past and one of her main criticisms. Do you think this will help define her interest? Will it help Bernie?
A: Yes, I absolutely do think her contributions affect her interest, as they do everyone. Here’s a problem with giving Hillary the benefit of the doubt over her campaign contributions: unless you’re willing to have a double standard, you have to grant that same benefit to other politicians. Do you think the large sums of money given to the Republican candidates don’t influence their votes? If you ignore this criticism with one candidate, how can you justify using this attack against the others? The simple fact is that politicians are influenced to some extent by their biggest donors. Bernie does not have a Super PAC affiliated with his campaign nor does he accept large campaign contributions from corporate interests. His campaign has been fueled with millions of mostly small donations (I believe the average donation was $27). If anyone in this election can make a strong case for not being beholden to “dark money”, it’s Bernie, and that ability can only help him in this election.
Q: Lastly, do you feel undecided republican and non-Trump supporters will vote for Bernie if the two battle it out for the election?
A: I personally believe Bernie will get the lion’s share of those voters, but I can’t speak for everyone. It all comes down to where their interests lie, how informed they are about each candidate, and whether they’re willing to put aside any biases they have for or against them.
Once again, big thanks to Paul for the help. I will be interviewing a college republican hopefully in the next seven days. But until then, don’t miss my coverage of the debate tomorrow night!