By INDIANA NASH
NISKAYUNA — “We felt like this club might gives us more of a voice,” said Diana Pinchuk, Niskayuna high school junior and vice president of the school’s recently formed Republicans Amongst Democrats club.
Several students formed the club in early February with advisor Lainie Christou. Many of the club members recalled experiences in classes and in other clubs where their right-leaning views were not heard or were completely ridiculed.
“There is another club called PACE and they won’t even hear out the Republican side,” said Pinchuk.
During their meetings, the club holds discussions, presentations, and trivia games. They welcome other points of view and have even held meetings specifically so that students who are Democrats would attend.
“We need to be respectful of other’s views. It’s not our job to change the opinions of others,” Christou reminded the club during their last meeting of the school year.
Prior to John Kasich and Ted Cruz suspending their presidential campaigns, many of the students were in favor of Kasich. Now that Donald Trump is the only running Republican candidate, the majority of the group are throwing their support toward him.
“If it really came down to it, he believes in more of what I believe in than Hillary. I don’t completely agree with all of his policies,” said Pinchuk.
Club President Isabel Kim prepared a Powerpoint presentation on some of the major policy differences between Trump and Hillary Clinton for the meeting. Students went through each of the differences and argued which side they supported.
Although most allowed that Trump’s policies could use a little bit of work, the group tended to side with him overall.
“The idea is to get a Republican in the White House so we don’t have another Obama presidency,” said Thomas Stevenson, another club member.
“There are checks and balances in place to so he couldn’t get the more outrageous ideas passed!” piped up another club member in support of Trump.
The students used dataa to back up the points they were making.
“We want to know the facts so we know what we’re talking about,” said Kim. It’s clear that each member researches their point before they speak.
“Within the Clinton Foundation, the female employees earn 38 percent less than the male employees,” said Kim, followed by other members sharing similar data.
Normally, the group has anywhere from 30 to 45 students in their meetings, which can make for a few heated debates in a school in which students tend to be left-leaning.
The group understands that the Republican Party has its weaknesses, but the majority believe that it will pull through this time, even with Trump at the helm.
“I think that Trump will probably crush Clinton in the upcoming debates,” said Stevenson.
“Anyone but Hillary!” seems to be the slogan of a few members.
For the fall, the group already has a few guest speakers scheduled to come in.
“We’ll have Assemblyman John McDonald come in and speak,” said Christou. He is a Democrat, but that’s part of the plan — the group wants to bring in speakers from several parties. Since most of them are sophomores and juniors, they will be coming back in September to keep up with the final stages of the presidential race, debating key issues, and keeping up with both candidates.
By INDIANA NASH