Samuel Samson knew who had his vote for the midterm election before the race even kicked off.
Samson, a government and liberal arts honors sophomore, is active in conservative organizations on campus and worked as a legislative staffer for Senator Ted Cruz’s office this summer.
Samson voted for Cruz, the Republican incumbent seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate. He said he believes Cruz stands on the right side of issues in American politics, such as low unemployment for minority demographics and a “law and order sensibility” on border issues.
Samson also believes the ability for people of all views to express their opinions without being shut down is important.
“He’s advocating on a policy and with a party that’s centered around positives rather than negatives,” Samson said. “You see the Dems coming out with less policy and more of a desire for obstruction, which is a step away from intolerance. I don’t see many liberals calling that out as not right.”
Samson said while Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke is a “rockstar,” much of his campaign is centered around rhetoric instead of substance, especially on issues of tax reform and late-term abortion.
“I don’t see anything other than the Democratic talking points,” Samson said. “Behind the man who is very gregarious and raising all this hype, I see someone who could be used by the obstructionist left and also doesn’t really develop his platform.”
Samson’s mother was an immigrant who went through an extensive naturalization process, which he said has shaped his current view on immigration.
“She worked her butt off wanting to come to this country, and I think that’s a microcosm of why I’m a conservative,” Samson said. “There’s a certain way the world works. If you work hard and set your mind to something, you can accomplish anything in America, and I think the conservative ideology encapsulates that.”
As a conservative student at UT, Samson said he has received a lot of pushback, including racial slurs, personal attacks and death threats. He said this is a big reason why he is often vocal about his beliefs and his choice for the Senate.
“I’m blown away every day by the amount of harassment that conservative students have to endure on campus,” Samson said. “I can’t walk to class in a Reagan-Bush shirt without someone screaming f-bombs at me. That has definitely pushed me more to the activism side.”