Sanders clear candidate for Calvin students

Now that we have officially entered the exciting, tumultuous and occasionally frustrating time known as the American election cycle, Chimes wanted to know where its readers stood. After receiving over a hundred responses to our poll last week, it appears that Senator Bernie Sanders has a significant following on campus, coming in at 50 percent. Senator Marco Rubio also made a dramatic showing, coming in at 27 percent.

Political science professor Doug Koopman wasn’t surprised by Sanders’ popularity at Calvin:

“I think it’s connected typically to distrust of institutions and wanting something different,” Koopman said. “And probably a bit of his appeal to things like free or cheaper college… He’s the fresh face with some idealistic views.”

This result follows a nationwide trend in which Sanders’ support among young people vastly exceeds that of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Senior Anna Delph suggested thinking critically about what these results may mean, saying that they might be “less indicative of actual political views on campus and more indicative of the fact that Bernie supporters are just more likely to register their opinion.”

Delph thinks that support for other candidates tends to be quieter among college students:

“I think that it’s not so much that people don’t support the other candidates as that they didn’t think to speak up.”

Calvin senior James Li said he was “pleasantly surprised” with Bernie’s success in Chimes’ poll.

“Bernie’s popular with millennials because he holds great integrity, doesn’t represent the Democrat or Republican establishment and taps into the sentiment that we as a generation have been cheated,” Li said.

Sanders’ grip isn’t total, though. Some Calvin students find the idea of electing the first female president more appealing:

“It’s about time,” said sophomore Kat Jonker. “We’re not living in the ‘50s anymore.”

Sanders’ advantage disappears in favor of Clinton as voter age increases, according to most major polls, and this split in Democratic loyalty was illustrated recently by the very close finish in Iowa.

“I don’t expect either Clinton or Sanders to drop out very soon,” Koopman said.

One interesting issue to watch as the election cycle develops, Koopman added, is how the voters are divided between “position-takers” without much political experience and people who have a record of achievement in the political system. Among the Republican candidates, Koopman classified Ben Carson and Ted Cruz as message-focused position-takers and John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie as having substantial political experience.

He called Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina a “mix” because of their success in business.

On the Democratic side, Koopman cited Hillary Clinton’s record of “surviving and getting things accomplished” in the political system in contrast with Sanders’ idealism.

Ultimately, Koopman said, success in the world of politics requires convincing people “to agree with you voluntarily.” Time will tell to whom Calvin students and the country as a whole will offer their voluntary agreement.