Article by Jenny Hottle and Kelsey Hughes
Photos by Jenny Hottle
Originally published on The Terrabyte on March 30, 2012
For a candidate that more than 60 percent of Americans believe should drop out of the Republican primary race, presidential hopeful Ron Paul arrived at Ritchie Coliseum to a welcoming crowd of nearly 2,000 with even more supporters waiting outside.
By 6 p.m. Wednesday, a line of people sporting Ron Paul 2012 t-shirts and carrying homemade signs with phrases such as “The Doctor is in” and “Welfare + Warfare = Bankruptcy” snaked from the entrance of Ritchie to halfway around the perimeter of the Fraternity Row fields.
Local residents and college students from this university and other area schools packed the venue, and some were turned away at the doors as the arena reached capacity.
Paul was greeted by chants of “Ron Paul revolution! Give us back our Constitution!” and “End the Fed!” as he stepped onstage.
“Sounds to me like freedom is popular here in Maryland,” Paul said as the crowd quieted down. “Sounds like the new revolution has arrived.”
The audience applauded and cheered enthusiastically as Paul discussed his trademark points — ending the Federal Reserve, shrinking the government and reducing spending — issues some people, such as senior economics major Christopher Brown, find extremely relevant to college students.
“He appeals to college students because he addresses future issues that we’ll have to pay for,” Brown said. “He’s representing us.”
Martina Beshai, a senior government and politics major, cited several other reasons why college students might agree with Paul’s views.
“He touches on things I consider personal, the American Constitution, going back to our original values and the true meaning of freedom and democracy,” Beshai said. “He really knows how college kids feel.”
In addition to those who came out to support Paul, others, like Beshai, came simply to learn more about him as a candidate.
“As an American citizen, to make an informed decision, you need to learn as much as possible about candidates,” Beshai said.
Journalism major Blanca Bejarano came for the same reason.
“I want to hear where he’s coming from and his background,” she said, “What he wants to do for us.”
Not all students who came to Wednesday’s event supported Paul’s platform, but many agreed that he is a likeable candidate for one key characteristic: integrity.
“I don’t agree with pretty much all of his platform, but I have a lot of respect for him as a candidate,” sophomore linguistics major Aaron Revere said. “I think he has a lot of integrity.”
Brown agreed, adding, “Even if you didn’t agree with any of his positions, you have to admit that the guy has more integrity than any other candidate out there.”
As for the people who think the last-place candidate should drop out of the race, Paul encouraged voters to remain positive, saying that the revolution was far from over.
“They haven’t counted all of the votes yet,” Paul said.