Students attend Donald Trump rally
Rachel O'Grady | Sunday, May 8, 2016
The night before the pivotal Indiana primary, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump filled the Century Center in downtown South Bend to capacity.
“And now the biggie is in Indiana. If we win in Indiana, it’s over,” Trump said in his speech Monday night.
His prediction came true, as he won 53.3 percent of the Republican vote in Indiana the next day, leading Sen. Ted Cruz to drop out of the race.
“We then focus on Hillary, and that’s going to be fun,” Trump said. “But remember, we started with 17 and one by one by one they went off. A governor, a senator, a senator, a governor. They didn’t know what the hell happened.”
Wednesday afternoon, Ohio Gov. John Kasich also dropped out of the race, leaving Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee.
Senior Steve Trottier was in attendance at Monday’s rally and said everything happened as he expected.
“Ultimately, it was what I expected,” Trottier said. “Trump fulfills America’s thirst for the reality TV show style of politician. He disdains any real substance and embraces the dramatic, often outrageous phrases one would expect behind a hashtag on Twitter.”
Trump was 45 minutes late to the rally, which Trottier said built up the anticipation amongst the audience.
“Trump was late and the anticipation was definitely mounting for him,” he said. “As I waited I spoke to a few supporters of Trump who said they couldn’t identify with ‘lyin’ Ted’ and wanted a president who would stick up for America.”
Trottier said he saw the audience consisted mostly of white, working class individuals.
“Unlike what I had seen in the media, I didn’t notice any protesters or agitators — most had been restricted to outside the convention center,” he said.
Some of Trump’s major points included his endorsements from former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz and former Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps, according to Trottier.
“He did his usual song and dance about winning and mentioned ‘lyin’ Ted’ every chance he got, which was met with overwhelming boos from the audience,” Trottier said. “The only real substance Trump eventually offered came in the form of building a wall and stopping America’s abuse in international trade deals.”
Trottier had also been in attendance for both the Bernie Sanders rally and the Ted Cruz rally on the two days prior.
“I personally don’t support Trump. I was able to attend the Cruz, Bernie and Trump rallies this past week,” he said. “I went to the rally to hear Trump unfiltered by the media and experience the rally for myself. The difference between the Cruz and Bernie rallies and Trumps rally was like night and day. Cruz and Bernie both presented substantive policy plans to address issues such as dwindling wages, while Trump’s was devoid of any.”
As far as the political climate on campus, Trottier said there seems to be a clear divide.
“I can’t speak for all Notre Dame students, but I do think people are very split on the candidate,” he said “I have not experienced any uncomfortable encounters talking or debating about the issues and candidates which is ultimately good. I think people at Notre Dame are willing to listen to each other and walk away disagreeing, but with a better understanding of where each person stands.”