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AU Students’ Opinions on the Political Divide and Their Dream Political Party

The political divide in the United States has only been worsening over the past four years, with major social and political events in that time period splitting the country up in their beliefs systems. With the new Biden administration stepping forward, many across the country are optimistic about him possibly being able to narrow this divide. On the other hand, there are still people in the country who don’t believe in the new administration and have serious doubts about whether he can really bring the citizens of America back together. Students of American University’s Advanced Reporting class took the time to speak with students in the Washington DC area at American University about if they believe Democrats and Republicans can work together as well as what values they would want in a political party if they were to create one. 


Photo of Katy Selinger to accompany an interview with her in an article speaking to AU students
Original photo by Ezekiel Cohen

Name: Katy Selinger

Year: Senior 

Major: International Relations

Student Organization: President, AU Republicans 

Interviewer: Do you think Democrats and Republicans can work together?

Katy: “In terms of the first part with republicans and democrats working together, I’m kind of optimistic about it.” 

“Just with the Senate being 50/50 and the house being so close I think there is going to be a lot of issues where there is going to need to be some compromise and no one is going to walk away 100 percent happy with how it turned out. Republicans are going to complain that we are giving in on these key principles and Democrats are going to complain about other things, but I think ultimately this is how policy works, you give and take a little bit here and there and you end up with something that everyone can live with, maybe not their ideal choice, but is overall better for the country.” 

Interviewer: 

If you were to create another major political party in the U.S, what would the values of the party be? Why?

Katy: “For a new political party, I think for me maybe one that upholds the key ideals of the foundation of the constitution but reemphasizes I think from a Republican perspective anyways, some of those policy principles that have been lost over the last four years. You don’t really hear a lot of republicans talk about American leadership in the world, looking at the national debt as an area of concern, and allowing people to have the economic freedom to prosper in their own ways. So, I think looking back on those principles would be an interesting way to go and looking back to what we were before and trying to make our way back to that.”


Photo of Jeremy Ward to accompany an interview with her in an article speaking to AU students
Original photo by Jessily Crispyn

Name: Jeremy Ward

Year: Junior

Major: Political Science

Student Organization: President, AU College Democrats

Interviewer: Do you think Democrats and Republicans can work together?

Jeremy: “typically, Democrats and Republicans in the past up until Trump, quite frankly, they may have disagreed on like how to get to x, y, and z, but in general, they agreed on the facts that underlie their positions. I believe that Democrats want to be in unity. That doesn’t mean that we’re not holding people accountable. But it’s hard to be unified when the other party themselves aren’t unified.”

Interviewer: If you were to create another major political party in the U.S, what would the values of the party be? Why?

Jeremy: “If I had to do one, it would definitely be about equality across the board. I know most times when you think about equality, you think about racial equality, but like demographic and regional equality, educational and health-wise. So definitely it would be equality. It would definitely be about science and education.”


Photo of Mackenzie Heather to accompany an interview with her in an article speaking to AU students
Mackenzie Heather

Name: Mackenzie Heather

Year: First year graduate student 

Major: International Peace and Conflict Resolution

Interviewer: Do you think the Democrats and Republicans can work together? 

Mackenzie: “I think that both parties right now are a little more willing to work together because they saw how violent things got when they didn’t work together.”

Interviewer: If you were to create another major political party in the U.S. what would the values of the party be? Why?

Mackenzie: “Personally, I feel that if there were to be another party it would be more leftist than the current Democratic party…If you look at the political spectrum across the world and internationally, our Democratic party is pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the political spectrum and our Republican party is considered relatively far-right internationally.”


Photo of PJ Chandra to accompany an interview with her in an article speaking to AU students
Original photo by Chloe Irwin

Name: PJ Chandra

Year: Junior

Major: CLEG

Interviewer: Do you think the Democrats and Republicans can work together? 

PJ: “I think Democrats are a lot more unified than people give them credit for when it comes to the progressive and moderate wings, but the Republican party is more torn. There are people that are tied to Trump and feel like everyone is against him, and then there is the more moderate side that wants to work with President Biden. I feel like before the Democrats and Republicans can unify, I think that Republicans need to come together. It’s great that Biden always pushes for unity, but I don’t realistically see that happening.”

Interviewer: If you were to create another major political party in the U.S. what would the values of the party be? Why?

PJ: “I don’t see the benefit of a third political party. My parents are from India, and there are four to five top political parties there. People would be even more divided because the political parties would give even less support to the government, and would make things even worse.”


Photo of Amrutha Chatty to accompany an interview with her in an article speaking to AU students
Original photo by Rebecca Crosby

Name: Amrutha Chatty 

Year: Senior 

Major: Public relations

Student Organization: Director of KPU, AU ambassador

Interviewer: Do you think the Democrats and Republicans can work together? 

Amrutha: “I don’t think that ever since we’ve been old enough to pay attention to politics that there has ever really been solid bipartisanship. When Obama was elected, I was nine years old, and ever since then Mitch McConnell and his Republican party decided to completely stonewall any of Obama’s policies. We’ve never seen a world where bipartisanship really exists.”

Interviewer: If you were to create another major political party in the U.S. what would the values of the party be? Why?

Amrutha: “If I was going to create a third-party, I would create something that aligned with my more progressive values. I think with the two-party system the differences between Democrats and Republicans are so stark that Progressives often have to compromise, and it would be nice to have policies that were more in line with my own beliefs.”


Photo of Camryn Libes to accompany an interview with her in an article speaking to AU students
Original photo by Hayley McGee

Name: Camryn Libes

Major: Psychology and History

Year: Senior

Student Organization: Contributor to Her Campus American and Member of AU Hillel and Undergraduate Psychology Student Advisory Committee

Interviewer: Do you think the Democrats and Republicans can work together? 

Camryn:”This is an interesting question because the Trump administration distinctly separated the parties, even the Republican Party itself.”

Interviewer: If you were to create another major political party in the U.S. what would the values of the party be? Why?

Camryn:”Instead of creating another major political party, I think we need to have our representatives have respectful debates about their views, why they feel this strongly and their inability to compromise. By giving both parties a voice, we, including the American citizens, can have a greater understanding of what the Democrats and Republicans in office stand for.”


Picture of Victoria Fink to accompany an interview in article about AU students
Original photo by Christian Pena

Name: Victoria Fink

Academic Year: Junior

Major: Environmental Sciences

Interviewer: Do you think the Democrats and Republicans can work together? 

Victoria: “Politicians were elected to work together and get things done. You don’t go to a ‘regular office’ and say, ‘I don’t like the accountant, so I’m just not going to work with them.’ That’s not how it works. We have to work with another and make sure that those who need help get it.”

 

This article was reported by: 

John Purcell, Carmenlucia Acosta, Ava Schulte, Ezekiel Cohen, Marcela Royo, Jessily Crispyn, Reignon Prillman, Roman Habibzai, Emily Walsh, Ziyi Yuan, Chloe Irwin, Nicole Yu, Teddy Everett, Riddhi Setty, Rebecca Crosby, Christian Pena, Christine Queally and Hayley McGhee as part of their Comm 425: Advanced Reporting class. 

 

Riddhi Setty

American '22

President of Her Campus American. Undergraduate student at American University studying Journalism and Business and Entertainment. Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers.
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