Law student organizes Students for Trump chapter
Rachel O'Grady | Monday, April 25, 2016
As November creeps closer and the 2016 presidential election looms, students across the nation are supporting their candidates of choice through a number of different channels.
Second-year law student Michael DiRaimo is hoping to spur that kind of support for current Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Notre Dame’s campus through his recently-founded Students for Trump movement.
“I started a Students for Trump chapter on April 10. I was prompted to do so for several reasons. Firstly, there was a growing movement amongst college campuses to support Trump, and I believed Notre Dame should be a part of it,” DiRaimo said.
DiRaimo said he thought Trump supporters were not adequately represented on college campuses nationwide.
“More importantly, it was about protecting a minority viewpoint. I believe it is of little doubt that nationally speaking, students who support Trump tend to be in smaller numbers than students who support Bernie,” he said.
At Notre Dame currently, there are no other presidential campaign groups for students.
“I believe creating a chapter would both create a haven for students inclined to better express their beliefs, and allow them to reach out to fellow students to discuss their opinions,” DiRaimo said.
Additionally, DiRaimo said he wants to see more political engagement from the student demographic.
“[It] involves the lack of participation by young people in the political process,” DiRaimo said. “In 2012, only 41.2 percent of young voters showed up to the polls and this number is quite pitiful given the issues our generation will face, and the decisions we all are going to have to make.”
DiRaimo said it is tough to tell how much success the chapter is experiencing in the first two weeks, particularly because there is no formal chapter headquarters.
“So far our presence has been entirely online, but we plan to hold events in the future, after exams,” he said.
The goal of the chapter is to increase voter turnout, according to DiRaimo.
“Our goal is to increase voter turnout generally, and to inform people about misconceptions about Trump,” he said.
Additionally, DiRaimo said he hopes to make the chapter open to students who may not have gotten involved with Trump otherwise.
“Our goal is to help students who may feel ashamed by their fellow classmates for supporting Trump by helping them come out of the Trump supporters closet,” DiRaimo said.
DiRaimo said he supports Trump because of his mostly self-funded campaign.
“I am attracted to Trump because of the lack of control donors have to his actions,” DiRaimo said. “I have great respect for someone who is willing to say what he believes in, even when the political establishment does not want him to.”
Beyond that, DiRaimo says he appreciates how Trump is running his campaign and his honesty throughout.
“What I see [students] most attracted to is the lack of political correctness,” he said. “Students here, likewise, seem passionate about a presidential candidate who is going to say what needs to be said, regardless of the political or emotional ramifications from saying it.
“Oh, and the wall has support.”