Sander Eizen (21), a Republican from Ann Arbor, MI, grew up in a Modern Orthodox household in Oak Park, MI. He attended Jewish day school starting in nursery school and went to an Orthodox Zionist sleepaway camp. At the University of Michigan, he attends events at Hillel and the Jewish Resource Center, and lives in a house with eight students who come from Modern Orthodox or “Conservadox” backgrounds.
We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
Did growing up in a religious Zionist environment affect your political views?
I think it profoundly forced me to think more historically about Israeli politics and shaped my centrist/center-right views on Israel. But I don’t think religion has a big influence on my political views overall. I like making arguments from a nonreligious standpoint, because if you’re talking to somebody who isn’t religious, and you start using religion as your reasoning for your stance, then you’ve already lost them.
Is there political conflict in your family?
Not really. More than ever I agree with my dad politically. He’s kind of transformed from a union Democrat to an “everybody sucks” libertarian. But the rest of my extended family are all Democrats. When they visited recently, my 11-year-old cousin started going off on how he loves Bernie Sanders. I’m just like, yo, we’re going to have a conversation about economics today. I’m sure my aunt loved that. But we’re very civil about it. We agree on so much more than we disagree on. It’s just a matter of how we want to get to a better place for everybody.
What issues do you care about most?
Probably Israel, climate change and the rule of law.
Are any policy positions make-or-break for you?
I want a climate policy that puts a price on carbon emissions in the way that candidates like Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang and John Delaney are talking about. Instead of using that tax revenue to fund government programs, the money would be rebated to the American people in quarterly dividend checks. It puts clean energy on the same playing field as dirty energy. Positions like free college for all and Medicare for all don’t make sense to me. Free college for all devalues college education and isn’t fair to people who have already paid off their debt.
What kind of personal traits matter most to you in a candidate?
Honesty and integrity. If you don’t have core values and beliefs, or you flip-flop on those things, then I don’t know why you’re running for president. Well, I do know—it’s for your ego. But if you’re the leader of the free world, you should have some moral grounding. I don’t like Trump because he doesn’t check off any of those boxes.
Do you support impeachment?
Not at the moment. Impeachment is both the apex of our democracy and a dangerous path to go down and should be saved for the gravest of circumstances. It remains to be seen if this is one of those moments.
Would you vote for any of the Democratic candidates?
I would 100 percent vote for Andrew Yang. He actively seeks conversations with people who disagree with him, and I think that’s a very compelling way to lead—by unification versus division. Pete Buttigieg is interesting to me. Not necessarily because I agree with him, but because I think he’s absolutely brilliant. I would vote for Amy Klobuchar because she’s very moderate and is one of the most bipartisan senators right now.
Do you anticipate any surprises?
Andrew Yang is very popular among young people, and young people drive debates in a strong way. You’ll definitely be seeing more of him.