VU Dems and Conservative Union Interview

VU Dems and Villanova Conservative Union are student political organizations on campus.

VU Dems and Villanova Conservative Union are student political organizations on campus.

Cate McCusker, Senior Editor

Ahead of the midterm elections, I sat down with members of the two major political clubs on campus. I met with Gabriella Cardona, one of the Co-Presidents of the VU Democrats, as well as Max Sallee and Vincent DiTeodoro, President and Vice President of Fundraising and Recruitment, respectively, of the Villanova Conservative Union (VCU).

All three students were voting in their home states, New York for Cardona, Virginia for Sallee and Connecticut for DiTeodoro. All three are planning to vote completely along party lines, and most would continue to vote along party lines if they were voting in Pennsylvania.

“In past years, I would have considered [voting for Republicans] but at this point, I would not,” Cardona said. “Just based on the candidates, because I like to look at candidates rather than just party alone.”

DiTeodoro is voting for all Republican candidates in Connecticut, but if he was voting in Pennsylvania, he explained that he would not vote for Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for Governor.

“He’s a nut job,” DiTeodoro, a self-proclaimed “New England Republican,” said. “I’ve seen him speak. He’s crazy.”

Yet, DiTeodoro could not bring himself to vote for the other candidate for Governor, Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro, simply due to party loyalty.

“I’m not voting for Shapiro no matter what,” he said. “I would just do Oz… I would leave [the governor vote] blank.”

Sallee said he wasn’t a huge fan of Mastriano either but would still vote for him, even though it seems like a losing battle. 

“I’m fairly certain he’s not going to win,” Sallee said. “You gotta, like, pad the number a little bit.”

Besides their thoughts on Mastriano’s chances, both Sallee and DiTeodoro predict a “red wave” with the midterms on a national level, and in PA they were confident that Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for senate, would defeat John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate. 

“I watched that debate,” DiTeodoro said, referencing Fetterman’s rocky debate against Dr. Oz. “There’s no way that man is winning.”

Cardona was not as enthusiastically confident as the members of the VCU, but she had not given up hope.

“I would say, we [the VU Dems] are cautiously optimistic,” she said. “We obviously ourselves are concerned…about Fetterman’s health going into the election, but we came to the consensus that it’s not about how you say things, it’s what you’re saying.”

The issues that mattered most to these students again fell along party lines. Cardona was most concerned about abortion and reproductive rights, especially after the fall of Roe v Wade, and both members of VCU believe the issue of abortion should be left up to the states.

“If you nationalize it, no matter what, somebody’s going to be unhappy,” Sallee said. “But, if you leave it up to the states, at least the state majority will be happy.”

Sallee and DiTeodoro recognized that abortion may affect the vote somewhat, but they believed economy and crime were the most important issues and would swing the vote to the right.

“I mean, abortion is a big issue, but I don’t think it’s bigger than the economy,” DiTeodoro said. “People notice that. They vote with their pocketbooks.”

Cardona explained that she recognized the importance of the economy, but she believed in the Democratic candidates and their policies to help the economy.

“The economy in the entire world seems to be bad right now,” she said, explaining that people seem to blame Democratic President Joe Biden for this even though it’s a worldwide problem. “It’s obviously a complex problem…I would trust Democratic candidates on issues like this. I’m a big supporter of Fetterman for that reason.”

Although the students differed on their view of Villanova student’s politics, with the members of the VCU saying the school was more liberal in the social sense and the President of the VU Dems saying the school was “conservative leaning,” they all agreed it’s easy to be friends with people who don’t share your beliefs.

“I have a lot of guys that I hang out with that are Democrats,” Sallee said. “I think right now, the problem is that there are people who let it affect their relationships and that’s why the political climate is so bad. There’s a lot more you can have in common with other people.”

“I always see like, oh, everything’s really hyper partisan,” DiTeodoro said. “I don’t see that with my friends. We try not to talk about it, and if we do it’s kind of funny, it’s not deep.”

“I think we all find a lot of common ground when we go past our initial preconceptions,” Cardona said.