Students mixed on Buttigieg

Feb 06, 2020

CNN's Angela Rye and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg at Claflin University's Ministers' Hall on Jan. 23. (Panther photo by Djimon Smith)

From reports by Noah Jenkins, Miracle Johnson, Joy Leeks, Zenzele Richardson, Amari Thompson and T’Ijah Williams

Some Claflin University students see Pete Buttigieg as a strong presidential contender, others know little about him and still others have concerns about his age.

Students interviews about the Democratic candidate were conducted surrounding the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s visit to Claflin University on Jan. 23. Buttigieg was at Ministers’ Hall for a live recording on CNN analyst Angela Rye’s “On One with Angela Rye” podcast.

“I think Pete Buttigieg has the potential to be the leader of the free world. He’s looking to raise the minimum wage of workers, is studying reparations for the years of slavery and discrimination in the lives of African Americans, and is also discussing paid leave to support families," junior Madison Irick said.

Lauryn Bryan, a junior, also said Buttigieg has what it takes to be a great leader.

“Pete’s speech assured me that he has what he it takes to beat Donald Trump. He is young and has many great points and targets of action. I believe that he is a great candidate,” she said.

Defeating Trump is a high priority for some students.

Joy Weeks said she doesn’t know much about Buttigieg but believes he will have to come on strong to defeat Trump. “I hope somebody halfway decent wins other than our current President Trump.”

Tyquel Campbell said much the same. “I don’t know who he is but I am fine with anyone winning except for Trump. He is a disgrace to the United States.”

Sophomore Bola McKinney, who had the opportunity to talk to a representative from the Buttigieg campaigns, said, “Buttigieg seems like he is for African Americans and is very close to (former Vice President Joe) Biden in the polls, so he has hope to win.”

Kierra Young said, “Pete Buttigieg seems inclusive and has no problem with people coming here with better opportunities. This is what makes him better than our current president.”

Cailen Washington is concerned about Buttigieg’s age, which is 38. “I think his chances are slim because he's so young and inexperienced.”

Sophomore Inglish Williams said, “I believe him being the youngest candidate will be hard because he may not have as much experience as the other candidates, which can be a setback for him winning the election.”

Kierra Young, a sophomore, does not share worries about age. “Buttigieg is very young. This may be good because we will have someone whom can relate to what the younger people want.”

Some students know little about Buttigieg.

“To be honest, I don’t really know who he is. I think in order to get more votes, you should at least be known,” Jasiah Ballenger said. 

Bryson Scott said, “I'm not interested nor do care about who the president is going to be. The presidential race is about a competition on popularity. I would like to see a new face in office instead of someone that’s familiar. Bernie Sanders is too old to take over and Pete Buttigieg is at a right age, but familiarity is important to the people’s vote and Pete just isn't in a category.”  

Buttigieg also does not impress Claflin sophomore Mackenzie Leftridge. “He seems lame, and I do not think he is going to be in the race much longer.” 

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