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October 27, 2016

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Donald Trump Jr. praises energy of students at ASU rally

Visit underscores Arizona's battleground status, importance of young voters.
ASU Republican, Democrat student clubs rally support ahead of election.
ASU students can vote on Tempe campus on Election Day.
An early voting location on Tempe campus is open to all Maricopa County voters.
October 27, 2016

Son of Republican presidential nominee urges millennials to vote early and support conservative causes

Donald Trump Jr. told a crowd at Arizona State University that it’s gratifying to see young people around the country rallying for conservative values and change in Washington, D.C.

Trump, son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, spoke at the Sun Devil Fitness Center on Thursday afternoon, saying to cheers from an audience of hundreds that his father will cut back big government.

“It’s great to see so many young faces in this crowd, because they actually get it when you look at the problems we have in this country,” he said.

“It’s you guys, the millennials, who are going to bear the burden of this. We have to fix this mess.”

Trump said his father will help create jobs and tackle the national debt while making sure the country is secure. He also said his father would renegotiate trade deals to be more favorable to the U.S.

“There is an undercurrent of people who have been failed by politicians, and they know it. We’ve been failed by both sides, and you guys will be a part of this,” he said.

The visit by Trump’s son comes a week after Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, visited the Tempe campus. She rallied support for her mother in a speech at the Memorial Union in which she also spoke about the importance of voting and running for office at every level.

The line of people to get in to hear Donald Trump Jr. speak snaked around the building, and everyone received a free Trump-Pence T-shirt when they entered.

Similar to Chelsea Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. invoked his children as a reason for being involved in the campaign. He, like his Democratic counterpart, said he wanted to leave a better world for his kids. Donald Trump Jr., 38, has five children.

Trump also urged the crowd to vote early and mentioned the new Election Day polling place at the Sun Devil Fitness Center.

“On Nov. 8, in this very room, many of you can cast a vote that tells government that we’re serious about real change,” Trump said.

Tyler Bowyer, chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party who spoke before Trump, also urged students to vote, holding up an early voting ballot.

“Arizona has been a place for conservatism to grow, and it’s been a place I’ve grown up as a seventh-generation Arizonan where we’ve been able to live the way we want to and celebrate the way we want to and to do business and educate ourselves the way we want to.

“We have a room full of millenials,” he said. “And I can tell you as the only major Republican Party chairman who is a millennial that we need President Trump in office to preserve our ideals.”

The state chairman of the Republican Party, Robert Graham, said that students should counteract the myth that young people don’t care.

“You should say that you have ideas, you’re creative and are ambitious and that you want the best possible outcome for you.”

ASU junior William Littleton, a finance major, said he attended the speech because he’s a Trump supporter.

“As a college student, this is my first election and it’s exciting,” he said. “I believe Trump will get the college vote out because I love his fire, and everything he says comes from the heart.”

Arizona is considered a battleground in this presidential race, with several polls showing the candidates virtually tied or even with a slight edge to Clinton.

Typically, Republicans are the largest voting bloc in the state, followed by those with no party preference. But recent voter registration has shown big gains by the Democrats, said Richard Herrera, an associate professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at ASU.

Herrera pointed to several reasons for the shift, including a relatively higher level of education among white voters, a bloc trending toward Clinton.

Another reason is the wide gender gap. Typically, Democrats poll about 5 to 7 percentage points higher among women, and Republicans poll higher among men by about the same amount. In this election, Clinton has about a 15 percentage point edge among women. The gap among men is about the same as in other years.  

Third is the huge push by many organizations to register Latino voters, who typically vote Democrat.

According to a poll released Oct. 19, voters aged 18 to 35 who have a preference strongly favor Clinton over Trump — 40 percent to 16 percent. But 35 percent said they were undecided. The poll was sponsored by the Arizona Republic, the Morrison Institute of Public Policy at ASU and Cronkite News, part of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.

Herrera has said previous voting patterns suggest that, this close to the election, those undecided young people likely won’t vote at all, but both campaigns have sent top-level surrogates to ASU to court the fairly high number of undecided young voters.

He said that Propositions 205 and 206, the initiatives to legalize marijuana and raise the minimum wage, respectively, could boost turnout among young voters who are undecided on the presidential race.

Kevin Calabrese, president of the ASU College Republicans, met Donald Trump Jr. before Thursday’s speech, and the candidate’s son thanked the group for its get-out-the-vote efforts.

“We’re going to continue making calls and working with the Arizona Republican Party,” he said. “We’re also still tabling on campus and encouraging the student body to vote early.”

The ASU Young Democrats also are continuing to work on getting out the vote, according to Austin Marshall, president of the group.

“Elections are won in the field, talking to voters on the phone or knocking on doors, making sure they turned in their ballots or have access to the polls,” he said Thursday. “In the next 12 days, we’re focused on talking to as many voters as possible. We still have an amazing amount of energy.”

The two ASU student political groups have worked together, along with the Undergraduate Student Government, to register 3,000 students to vote and to bring a polling place onto campus on Election Day.

Both groups also are pushing students to cast ballots at the early voting site on campus in order to avoid confusion and long lines on Election Day. Any Maricopa County resident can vote at the early voting site, Palo Verde West, Room 151, now through Nov. 4. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.

On Election Day, students can vote at the Sun Devil Fitness Center on the Tempe campus from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. That location is also for voters in the Hudson and Tempe precincts, roughly from the 202 to 16th Street and Mill to McClintock. That covers all students in the dorms but not everyone who lives off campus.

To vote in any election, Arizona requires all voters to present an approved form of photo identification that includes name and address. Voters who don’t have a formal photo ID will need two of the following: utility bill, "official election mail,” voter ID card, vehicle registration or bank statement mailed to the address of the registered voter.

Donald Trump Jr., son of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, speaks to several hundred people Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Sun Devil Fitness Center on the Tempe campus. Trump urged millennials in the audience to vote. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now

480-727-4503