By Angelo Piro
With the election season now in full swing, much of domestic news is saturated with stories from the campaign trail and profiles on Democratic and Republican candidates. But the election for President of the United States matters to more than just Americans. In a series of interviews with international students both at Seton Hall and abroad, The Diplomatic Envoy highlights the importance of this election to the world.
Oumar Kouraogo, an international student at Seton Hall, said, “I have been following the campaign trail through social media and news channels. I have watched mostly all the debates so far from both parties.”
Clea Boban, a student in Croatia, said that she has been following the election mostly through social media.
“In Croatia, newspapers started to write more about [U.S.] elections in February, but it is just a few articles, and sometimes I see some articles from internationally known newspapers and websites,” Boban said.
Most international students agree that this is a very important election. “I know candidates always say every election is important, but I really feel this one can really change the American political landscape, and that’s exciting and scary at the same time,” said Reyhanillo Andi Kasim, an international student from Indonesia.
Taha Alayas, an Iraqi student, sees great potential in this year’s contest, saying, “This election specifically determines where is the United States is going next as a major nation in the world.”
Others recognize the importance of the election, but have strong feelings on how Americans are handling it. Carolina Navarro Murgas, a student in Colombia, said, “People are taking this as a joke. It looks like a TV drama all the time. It’s so sad to see that democracy is taken that way in a high-power country.”
On the issues, two seem to hold special importance: the conflict in Syria and Iraq, and climate change.
“There are several issues on the world stage that the candidates should focus on; however, I think terrorism and the international refugee crisis are two interconnected issues that should be at the center of every conversation held by the candidates,” said Kouraogo.
On climate change, Andi Kasim has a hopeful yet sobering view on what should be the focus of the candidates: “Global warming is definitely what I’m hoping for, though I have doubts any candidate aside from Bernie [Sanders] cares.”
On the candidates themselves, the interviewed students are split between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Andi Kasim is of the opinion that the results will depend on the selection of vice presidential candidates. Some also see the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency. Alayas believes that if Secretary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, Donald Trump will have a fair shot at the presidency.
Besides his electability, Donald Trump was a source of controversy for many who see his candidacy as a joke and a stain on American ideals. Boban observes, “He discriminates, lacks empathy, is impractical, thinks money can solve everything, and sometimes it seems like he lives in some fantasy utopian world.”
Though he is worried about Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims, Andi Kasim said, “I think Trump is fully aware of his eccentricity and knows, at the same time, that the American political system will keep his more radical ideas in check. The Hitler comparisons are ill-informed—a twenty-year-old Weimar Republic does not equal 300 years of American democracy.”