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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Jaimes: Students Give SOTU Thoughts

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Katin
College Republicans listen to the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 at the Pappajohn Business Building. The president discussed events that occurred throughout his first year of presidency. (Katina Zentz/ The Daily Iowan)

On Jan. 30, I gathered around with fellow UI College Republicans as they hosted a State of the Union watch party. I had a fantastic time, surrounded by classmates and friends, but I wondered if this night was exactly as popular among peers who were not so politically involved.

I took this notion to the test to see what a small group of Mayflower Hall residents had to say about Trump’s first State of the Union address. I asked 14 students — that were willing to talk to me — about key players in Trump’s first year in office and also those centered on several controversies.

Out of all participants questioned, only three out of 14 watched the State of the Union. Out of those three, only two actually enjoyed it.

Here are the percentages of participants that knew key political figures shown or addressed at the State of the Union Address:

Watched the State of the Union:

Paul Ryan — 100%

Ben Carson — 100%

Mike Pence — 100%

James Mattis — 100%

Elaine Chao — 33%

Melania Trump — 100%

Steve Scalise — 33%

Nancy Pelosi — 100%

Kirstjen Nielsen — 0%

Did not watch the State of the Union:

Paul Ryan — 82%

Ben Carson — 82%

Mike Pence — 82%

James Mattis — 55%

Elaine Chao — 0%

Melania Trump — 82%

Steve Scalise — 9%

Nancy Pelosi — 82%

Kirstjen Nielsen — 0%

The most recognized names in the survey were Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Ben Carson, and Melania Trump. With the exception of Melania Trump and Carson, I was happy to see that most students knew who the two men sitting directly behind the president were during the State of the Union Address. I consider this a small victory to take away from this survey.

Chao, shown in the crowd at the address, serves in the Trump administration as the secretary of transportation. She has played key roles in other Republican administrations and is also the wife of Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. Chao is also a minority woman of color, a fear of identity-politics-loving leftists. One student recognized the secretary’s name.

RELATED: In their own words: Hawkeyes comment on the State of the Union

Out of all participants questioned, 14 percent recognized Majority Whip Scalise, who was shot at a congressional baseball game last summer by a raging Bernie Sanders supporter who had announced on Facebook his hate for all Republicans. Scalise did not change his Second Amendment view even after the incident.

Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen made national headlines last month as she was publicly “mansplained” on the Senate floor by Democratic Sen. Cory Booker. Even though the Democrats have been very vocal on their view of DACA, 0 percent of students knew the secretary’s name or the role she plays in immigration.

RELATED: Trump talks immigration in first State of the Union

Another small victory to claim was the recognition of James “Mad Dog” Mattis. When asked if students knew who the secretary of defense was, almost all answered with “Mad Dog” along with a smile. As an avid fan of America’s favorite patriot, this is a big win for millennials in politics and also an area where Democrats and Republicans can come together and show support for those who serve.

Although it was small, this survey showed me how little my peers know about politics, yet feel knowledgeable enough to know they do not like the president. In delivering these questions, I can assume participants assumed my political affiliation and felt comfortable enough to joke about their dislike for the commander-in-chief with me. You can imagine how unamused I was as the party I belong to was mocked and ridiculed by students who lacked basic knowledge about the politics that surround them.

While I knew this was going to be the result of the small survey, my disappointment in society has reached a new low. Despite what Twitter and Facebook may tell millennials, ignorance is not bliss. Educate yourselves on policies that affect your education, health care, taxes, and job opportunities — this country needs it, now more than ever.

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About the Contributor
Marina Jaimes, Opinions Columnist
Email: [email protected] Marina Jaimes is an Opinions columnist and member of the Editorial Board. She previously served as the editor of the section. She is a senior studying political science and criminology.