By Shelby Horton and Lauren Rust
Presidential Republican candidate Marco Rubio entered the Col. James Jabara Airport hanger on March 4, nearly skipping as he jumped onto the stage, with Christian country music playing in the background.
Ecstatic high school students on risers behind the stage cheered and waved signs brandishing his name.
Rubio stopped and shook hands with the students, stopping to hug one young lady who was falling out of her seat for the chance.
The candidate then crossed the stage and hugged his supporters. He turned to the audience, waving, with a big toothy grin. He shielded his eyes from the bright lights, peering at a TV in the corner, noticing the WSU Shockers basketball game was on.
“What’s the score?” he asked. “It’s unfair, you guys got me competing with the game here!”
The audience laughed, but then quieted as Rubio gazed at them calmly and began his speech.
The next day, downtown, rally-goers briskly walked, some for several blocks, toward Wichita’s Century II for the Donald Trump rally.
On their way to the entrance, attendees were urged to buy Trump buttons, scarves, flags, and “Make America Great Again” caps. Upon entering the building, they were sent through metal detectors. Police dogs searched the bags of the media.
After being searched, atten-dees came into the large, packed convention hall with ‘80s rock music playing. At least a dozen police officers searched for potential protestors. Finally, after a 30-minute wait, Trump entered the room to a thunderous applause.
Rubio started his speech at Jabara by reminding the audience that America is living in a tough time.
“This election is about a choice of what it means to be a Republican in the 21st Century, and what America is going to mean to us,” Rubio said.
He described how each generation must go through challenges and sacrifices in order to later on embrace the opportunities in America. He fears that this will be the first generation in which Americans leave their children worse off than the previous generation.
Rubio defines America as the only place on earth where people like his parents (poor immigrants from Cuba) can have a chance at making it.
The Donald speaks
Trump used his signature phrase for the campaign: “Make America great again,” many times during his speech. According to Trump, a wealthy America is a great America.
“We have to become rich again to become great again,” he said. “We have no money.” His plan, he said, is to create a powerful country that is assisted by other countries instead of us helping them.
Rubio is the son of immigrant parents from Cuba. His mother and father moved to America to seek a better life. They struggled and even considering moving back to Cuba at some points.
But they stayed and found jobs at a hotel. His father was a bartender; his mother, a maid.
“My parents lived in a world, like many people do today, that said if your parents don’t have money you can only go so far,” Rubio said. “But then they move to the United States.”
Rubio recog-nized that many Americans have parents or grandparents that made the same journey that his parents had. Many immigrants come to America hoping to achieve the American dream, he said.
Trump’s immigration policy is gaining attention quickly, especially in high-density immigration states.
According to Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and a Trump supporter, Trump’s view on immigration is that “illegal means illegal.”
“He is the only presidential candidate who understands that if you don’t have a border, you don’t have a country,” Kobach said.
Trump also touched on immigration during his speech. He spoke about the wall that he wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to Trump, the wall will cost $10 billion, since he is building it and it will be “under budget and ahead of schedule.”
“Oh it’s going to get tall,” he said. “Every time Mexico contests it, it’s going to gain another 10 feet.” This was met with booming applause.
Trump asked the audience who would pay for the wall. The audience responded with a resounding, “Mexico!”
Trump’s policies on immigration have appealed to many, but they also have turned many against him, causing protesters to disrupt his rallies.
One in particular yelled, “No human is illegal!” He was promptly thrown out.
Rubio believes President Barack Obama has made a disaster of this country, and once in office he plans on repealing most or all of the president’s executive orders.
Rubio defines himself as one of the last “true” conservatives currently holding office. The Senator wants to give more power to state governments, cut taxes, prioritize the budget, and build the military back to its full potential.
“The world is growing more dangerous. Our military should not be growing weaker and smaller. Obama is gutting our military, in a world where North Korea has nuclear weapons, China is hacking into our systems, and Vladimir Putin is charging through as a dictator,” he said.
Rubio promises Americans he will put a stop to Obama’s deal with Iran, and pledged to help our veterans by improving their benefits and forcing the VA to do its job.
Trump wants to change many facets of government if he makes it to the Oval Office.
“They just signed the worst budget deal,” he said.
Because of Trump’s past with economics, he hopes to make a budget for America that works so America can decrease its debt.
Along with cutting the national debt, he hopes to work on America’s trade deals.
“We are going to take care of trade,” Trump said. “We will get
rid of these horrible trade deals that are being laughed at all around the world.”
Trump also hopes to review the Veteran’s Administration and make it more useful for veterans.
“All they do is spend money. It’s a corrupt organization,” he said. “But we are going to take care of our vets.”
He also hopes to cut out Common Core, stating, “we have horrible education.”
Trump hopes to cover a wide range of issues during his planned presidency.
“We are going to win with the military, we are going to win with healthcare, we are going to win with education,” he said. “You are going to see us win, win, win.”
Rubio ended the speech by addressing the young voters in his audiences who had attended the event undecided, or maybe were unsure of how they were going to vote. He reminded the voters that in this election they would be the ones to have the final say in what this country will turn to. That the young voters and activists of America will be the ones to change the country and that our vote will matter the most. The strength of this country will come from the people within this country.
“When you go vote, please remember you shouldn’t vote to make a point; you should vote to make a difference,” Rubio said.
Trump moved toward the end of his speech by placing the burden on himself.
“Do me a favor, just relax, I’ll take care of the stuff,” Trump said.
Trump believes that his economic and business background will help him win this presidential election. He is passionate about America and the way that he wants to help the country that has made him great.
“We are going to win, and we are going to win so much,” Trump said.
Trump then ended his speech, rushing off to the Kansas Caucus to speak after his opponent, Ted Cruz.
“Let’s make America great again, I love you all,” Trump said. And with that, he headed off into the throng of rally-goers.