As students across campus wrap up a week of demonstrations protesting the election of president-elect Donald Trump, a quieter group of Hoosiers are celebrating the selection of the country’s rising leader.
“I don’t want to go around boasting like my team just won the national championship because personally I think America won. I don’t think I won,” Junior Sam O’Dell said.
O’Dell said he knows students have the right to free expression, but he doesn’t understand IU’s acceptance of protests.
“They think you’re a villain,” O’Dell said.
He said he hoped to go to a rally at Showalter Fountain but had to miss because of class. He wanted to attend the rally to gauge whether IU was merely supporting those who felt like they lost this election or if IU leadership felt the school had also lost.
He believes values at a diverse, liberal school like IU wouldn’t be able to line up with Trump’s stances, although he said he may never have confirmation of these assumptions.
O’Dell’s support for Trump goes back to the Indiana primary. He said he knew he did not want to vote for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders and focused his energy on choosing between Trump and Ted Cruz.
“I just had to buy into one of the two,” O’Dell said.
In the end, he said he realized Trump, who funded his own campaign and made bold claims, deserved his vote.
“He wasn’t just talking,” O’Dell said. “You could tell he meant what he wanted to do.”
One policy O’Dell supports is Trump’s desire to build a wall between the border of the U.S. and Mexico. He said he thought at first it was a metaphor Trump was using to make a point, but now thinks an alliance with Mexico to pay for the wall is a real possibility.
O’Dell said as someone who comes from a conservative farm town east of Indianapolis, he is also looking forward to Trump’s tax cuts for the middle class.
“I see everyone I know working their butts off, and they have to pay extra taxes to support others,” O’Dell said.
O’Dell said his social values are more lenient, but he currently sees himself as more of a social conservative, especially on issues like abortion.
He said he classifies himself as pro-life and believes abortion is almost never OK, except maybe in cases of rape. Even then, which is a rare exception, the decision is still disheartening, he said.
“I know that baby was created for a bigger purpose that might not be able to be fulfilled now,” O’Dell said.
Junior Brian Federle said although Trump was not his first choice during primary season, Trump was the best option for the general election. He considers himself part of Trump’s silent majority base.
Federle identifies as a Libertarian, a status he said comes from his conservative fiscal beliefs and liberal-leaning stances on some social issues. In the end, he said his financial values won out and led him to vote for the president-elect.
“I was just a big fan of an outsider, a non-politician, getting a chance at the White House,” Federle said.
He said he could not vote for Clinton because he disagrees with the practices of the Clintons. The email and Benghazi scandals are two situations he said he felt could have been handled better by Hillary Clinton.
There are also some parts of Trump’s base who Federle said he disagrees with. This includes potential cabinet picks like known extremist John Bolton and endorsements of Trump made by the Ku Klux Klan, which Trump has disavowed.
While extremists on the far right have spouted hateful messages, Federle said Trump supporters have seen their share of threatening messages as well, even at IU, where a sidewalk message told students to “Kill Trump.”
Federle said he hopes Democrats and other people who disagree with Trump can listen to Clinton and President Barack Obama, who have both urged the country to come together and accept the results.
“I think they put out the correct message that the people need to follow,” Federle said.
Freshman Neel Sathi said he never voted for Trump, but he still considers himself a supporter. The decision comes from an understanding of the importance of party ties.
The New Jersey native voted for Sanders during the primary but said he decided to become a Republican after doing more research and realizing he aligned more with the conservatives economically.
Sathi said he cast a vote in the general election for Evan McMullin, a popular third party candidate in Utah. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the absentee process and his ballot was returned to his parents, uncounted. His choice not to vote for Trump came from some disagreements he had with the campaign, but he still wanted to remain conservative.
“It wasn’t necessarily a vote against Trump, but it was a vote against Hillary,” Sathi said.
Sathi’s parents are both legal immigrants from India, and their long path to come to the United States also plays a part in his beliefs. He said people like his parents, who chose to go through the process legally, are often smarter than those who come across U.S. borders without documentation.
“Illegal immigration is almost an insult to those who immigrated legally and waited the time,” Sathi said. “Trump’s not wrong when he he says people aren’t sending their best to the states.”
Sathi said although the economy relies in part on low-wage immigrant workers, the country needs to draw the line somewhere.
Sathi knows his views don’t align with every IU student’s views, but he disagrees with the student body’s general response to response to Trump supporters, he said. He believes current rhetoric is in not allowing the school to move forward.
“What shocks me is these types of messages and these sort of threats are being propagated by a movement who tries to claim, ‘Love Trumps Hate,’” Sathi said. “It seems hypocritical.”
Because of this, Sathi has tried to kept relatively quiet about his vote. He said he has shared his beliefs with his friends, but not many beyond his immediate group know because of the reactions it might cause in Clinton supporters.
“I’ve seen so many friendships collapse in front of my eyes because of this election’s results,” Sathi said.