DURHAM, NH — Young Republican and Democratic voters don’t agree on much. But college students outside former President Donald Trump’s rally at the University of New Hampshire on Saturday found common ground on at least one thing — they’re unhappy with President Joe Biden.
„He has to go,” said Katelyn Bellemare, 19, a self-described right-leaning independent. Bellemare still isn’t sure who to vote for in the 2024 primary or general election, but he knows it won’t be the incumbent.
„He didn’t do this country any good,” said Moss, who studies psychology at UNH. The Rochester native cited Biden’s handling of the economy and foreign policy as key obstacles.
Hours later, at the Whittemore Center Arena, Trump tried to capitalize on the discontent expressed by voters like Bellemare during a wide-ranging speech that focused on his economic agenda.
„Were you fine five years ago or are you fine today?” The Republican front-runner, along with thousands of college-aged students, wrapped up their last few days on campus before winter break. „Nothing got better under crooked Joe Biden.”
With less than a month to go before voting in the GOP primary, Trump is dominating his Republican rivals everywhere. National and State Referendum. Aside from several brief references to his primary opponents, the former president focused much of his speech on the general election race against Biden.
Trump appealed to voters on the economy
If Trump can win his party’s nomination, Saturday’s young voters could be crucial to him next November. Recent national polls show Biden losing momentum with the key voting bloc that helped propel him to the presidency in 2020.
Harvard Institute of Politics Poll Released in early December Biden was slightly ahead of Trump among voters 18 to 29. He led by just 4% — a big drop from 2020, when a similar poll showed Biden winning the same group by 23%.
Another study published An NBC News survey published in Nov Among voters aged 18-34, Trump leads 46% to 42%.
Young voters who attended Trump’s rally on Saturday cited economic concerns as a key reason for supporting the businessman.
David Montenegro, 22, of Providence, RI, said most of his friends plan to vote with their pocketbooks in 2024.
“A lot of students go for internships and work. They’re not getting the jobs they want, and they feel that’s a result of the overall direction of the Biden administration,” said Montenegro, who studies business at Babson College in Massachusetts. „They want the economy to recover.”
The Biden administration has touted its economic agenda as a success, with an unemployment rate at a nearly 50-year low, a growing jobs market and an annual inflation rate that, according to the Consumer Price Index, It has declined to 3.1% from a peak of 9.1% in June 2022.
But some Americans have said they approve of Biden’s handling of the economy. A Harvard poll found that two-thirds of young voters rated the economy as „very bad” or „very bad.” Among young voters who said the economy was one of their top concerns in 2024, a majority said inflation and the cost of living were top issues.
Opponents reluctantly back Biden
Even students who visited Trump’s campus highlighted the economy as a top issue in 2024.
Lizzie Mower, 20, stood with a group of several dozen students across the street from the Whitmore Center on Saturday, holding up signs and raising objections to the president’s visit. Even though they’re a Democrat, the Goffstown native doesn’t like the idea of voting for Biden.
„I wholeheartedly believe it’s someone else,” said Mower, who studies wildlife conservation at UNH, adding that Biden didn’t go far enough for his taste.
While they don’t necessarily blame Biden for the economy, Mower said housing and rental prices weighed heavily on them in this election, noting that „everything is overpriced.”
They are still deciding how to vote in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-state primary. Like many Democratic voters USA Today spoke to, Mower said he’s backing Biden against Trump in the general election because he fears democracy.
’We are not a democracy’
The former president recently scoffed at the question of whether he would „abuse power to retaliate against anyone” if re-elected, saying he would be a dictator „on day one”.
He later repeated the comments at an event of the New York Young Republican Club: „You know why I wanted to be a dictator? Because I want a wall, and I want to drill, drill, drill.
The Republican presidential front-runner has floated the idea of a totalitarian regime in the United States. In 2018, Trump made similar comments about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power during a luncheon for Republican donors.
„He’s president for life now,” Trump said of Xi Jinping’s power at the time. “I think that’s great. Maybe we’ll give it a shot sometime.
Young voters who attended Trump’s event on Saturday said they didn’t take much salt in the businessman’s views on authoritarian rule. However, many have questioned whether the current administration in the United States is working, often repeating the president’s baseless claims about Biden.
„I would say we’re a deep state and we’re not a democracy,” 19-year-old Bradley Richards told USA TODAY, adding that he believes agencies like the Department of Education receive oversight from Congress. Power was taken away from the electorate.
He argued that the Department of Justice’s weaponization against the former president was one of the main reasons leading to mistrust of the government.
Trump has been impeached four times, including two cases involving his attempts to sway the 2020 election. The former president faces charges of improper payments in New York and mishandling classified documents in Florida.
„Oddany rozwiązywacz problemów. Przyjazny hipsterom praktykant bekonu. Miłośnik kawy. Nieuleczalny introwertyk. Student.