Meet the Teenagers Who Skipped Class To Attend A Trump Rally

Nov 2, 2016

It's 12 noon on a school day in November: 12th grader Beltran Arellanes should be in his AP government class at MAST Academy, a magnet school and one of the highest-ranked high schools in Florida. Instead, he's walking into a Donald Trump rally at Bayfront Park Amphitheater in Miami, along with his ninth grade sister Casilda.

"I pitched this to my parents," Beltran says. "My parents despise Donald Trump. I mean, I don't like him either," Beltran  explains. "I just thought it would be interesting to hear him speak."

"A good experience," Casilda chimes in. Neither of them is much encouraged by the field in the election. "Both candidates are terrible," Beltran says. "Really, all four are no good. Gary Johnson's an idiot, and Jill Stein's a boring lady." 

"I'd rather Trump get elected than Hillary so something can change," Casilda suggests. Her brother, who wants badly to see strong action on climate change and economic inequality, thinks a Trumpified Supreme Court, which could reverse Roe vs.Wade and strike down environmental regulations, might not be such a bad thing. 

"The institution itself would lose legitimacy, and people would be forced to become engaged in the political process," he says.

This is the burn-it-down-to-buid-it-back-up theory of politics that has attracted many Trump supporters this year. Beltran hopes things might break another way. "I think a Trump presidency would be...interesting," Beltran says. "Because, next year, I'll be in college, I think there will be so many protests, so many riots; it'll just be like the 60s again!"

"My family doesn't like the Clintons," says Delano Cicconi, who took the afternoon off from Westminster Christian Academy to show his support for Donald Trump.

Delano Cicconi came to the Trump rally with his father, and with the full support of his old history teacher—Ms. Forbes—and his Bible teacher at Westminster Christian Academy. He's 15, holding a rapidly melting frozen lemonade and wearing a Harvard sweatshirt. "Our family doesn't like the Clintons," he says. 

Cicconi says he's an outlier in his ninth grade class. "I would think at my Christian school that a lot of people would support Trump, but a large majority of people at my school actually support Hillary," he says. 

"As a Christian, we're all sinners. But what Hillary has done, the evil things she has done, is much worse than what Trump has done."