Protesters lined the streets of Fargo on Friday, Sept. 7 in anticipation of none other than one of the most highly contentious presidents in U.S. history. President Trump arrived in Fargo to a crowd of protesters who, among many things, were protesting his recent Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is to have senate hearings this month. The purpose of Trump’s visit was to speak on behalf of Senate candidate and current congressman Kevin Cramer at a private fundraiser held at the Delta hotel by Marriott.
Among Trump’s talking points was praise for Cramer stating that “Kevin is Special,” and praise for the North Dakotan people saying that “our farmers are very important to me.” The Republican fundraiser, which boasted a hefty $1,000 entrance fee, raised roughly one million dollars in campaign funding although, even considering the fundraiser, estimates still put Cramer behind his competitor in campaign funding.
Cramer is raising funds in the hopes of unseating incumbent senator Heidi Heitkamp, who is expected to be one of the more vulnerable democratic seats in the Senate in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. The 2018 midterms are predicted to be crucial for democrats, with Former Vice President Joe Biden even going as far as to publicly say that “everything” is at stake.
The democrats have high hopes of winning both the House and Senate, giving them much a much needed majority in order to block legislation from reaching the pen of a Republican president. In addition to that, it will allow them to set the agenda in Congress and give them bargaining power against the Republicans who currently hold a slim majority. The Democrats are hoping history will repeat itself as typically the sitting president’s party loses the midterm election.
Although Concordia College is a college campus, which historically have always been very liberal, there are still a of multitude of students with several different political viewpoints or lack thereof.
Alyssa Niestad, president of the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), a national conservative advocacy student group, doesn’t have any specific plans for the upcoming elections.
“We’re more about political ideology then political candidates,” she said.
When Jasmine Engstrom-Bolstad, a PSEO student planning on majoring in chemistry, was asked about their opinion on the race Engstrom-Bolstad was unaware of both candidates.
“As a Minnesotan I don’t really know either of them too well to make an opinion,” they said.
Of course, Concordia also has a wealth of professors who are invested in the race. Professor Mike Bath, who teaches American Politics, said “I think it’s going to be tough.”
Bath said that Heidi only won by 3,000 votes in the last election, and that Cramer has tried to closely align with Trump in order to gain votes from his base which won North Dakota by a large majority in the last presidential election. He also explained that Heitkamp has been trying to garner votes through this method by supporting some of Trump’s nominees and policy choices.
There are many different opinions on campus, and whether or not somebody considers themselves a Republican, Trump’s visit to Fargo was a big deal. Only time will tell if a personal visit from the president is enough to push Cramer to victory.