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Stu­dents protest against Trump in Oxford. | WikiNews

“No Trump! No KKK! No racist U.S.A.!,” shouts the mob of stu­dents as they protest a speech by former White House adviser Steve Bannon. Blocked from storming into the lecture hall by a solid wall of police, the pro­testers’ chants soon become decidedly more pointed. “Who pro­tects the racists? Police protect the racists!” they scream.

Sur­pris­ingly, this all-too-familiar scene did not unfold at Berkeley, the Uni­versity of Michigan, or any other under­graduate American insti­tution, but rather, a world away at Oxford Uni­versity. When I first arrived at Oxford last Sep­tember, I couldn’t under­stand why British stu­dents would take time out of their tightly-packed aca­demic schedules to yell use­lessly about the ‘fascist’ regime three-thousand miles across the Atlantic. But, to my sur­prise, I soon dis­covered British stu­dents have no shortage of opinions about American pol­itics, par­tic­u­larly the Trump pres­i­dency. Equally sur­prising — and dis­ap­pointing — was the vit­riolic uni­formity of these beliefs. Indeed, no matter where I encoun­tered the name “Trump” I inevitably heard the same three state­ments, almost as if they were rehearsed. To prac­ti­cally every British student I encoun­tered, Trump was equal parts childish, stupid, and bigoted.

The best example of this anti-Trump trio of opinions occurred during a formal dinner at Trinity College, where I was pleased to find myself sitting adjacent to a number of other American stu­dents. With the midterms fast approaching, the con­ver­sation quickly turned to pol­itics. Our dis­cussion was quite pleasant, and we tried to avoid par­ti­sanship as a gesture of courtesy to one another. Yet, this did not stop one of the British stu­dents sitting next to me from turning to us and explaining how the 2016 election had lowered her opinion of Amer­icans. She said she could not under­stand how so many people could vote for an emo­tionally immature, unin­tel­ligent, and racist man. To her — and a great many of her peers — the name “Trump” seem­ingly con­jured up images of Alec Baldwin in a toupee and Tom Hanks with a MAGA hat on SNL.

The bewil­dered outrage towards our new Trumpian reality extended beyond the mere airing of per­sonal opinions. Many pro­fessors delighted in casting asper­sions on Trump during their lec­tures — usually going hand-in-hand with angry remarks about Brexit — and several student political orga­ni­za­tions adver­tised events focusing on how to stop the neo-Nazi regime in America. The anti-Trump obsession extended even to the pulpit of the Anglican church. In a nation where union of church and state is integral to its con­sti­tution, I was not sur­prised to find pol­itics as a recurring sermon theme. But I was admit­tedly shocked when one chaplain cen­tered her message around the idea that an antichrist occupies the Oval Office.

What is to be made of these stories? To a certain extent, the Trump-mania gripping Oxford stu­dents and aca­d­emics is entirely explainable. People often object to what they do not under­stand, and a reality-TV star-turned-politician runs totally counter to British political tra­di­tions and cul­tural sen­si­bil­ities. Trump is a dis­tinctly American figure. His bravado, his crudeness, and his coarse rhetoric are enough to make any prime min­ister blush. Fur­thermore, even more so than in the United States, the British media and academia’s opinions of Trump are uni­formly hostile, and it is clear from the stu­dents’ per­sistent refrain that Trump is equal parts evil and stupid demon­strates that many of them suffer from a lack of exposure to alter­native points of view.

That doesn’t nec­es­sarily mean Trump’s unpop­u­larity among those attending Oxford is a bell­wether for the rest of the U.K., just as Trump’s unpop­u­larity among those attending Harvard and Yale does not reflect the opinions of Amer­icans gen­erally. But before mocking their under­standing of Trump as sim­plistic, car­i­ca­tured, and out-of-touch with reality, it is worth noting that the aggres­sively anti-Trump views of Oxford stu­dents mirrors a general trend among American mil­len­nials and Gen Z. An AP-NORC poll from March of last year found that only 33 percent of those from the ages of 15 to 34 approved of Pres­ident Trump’s job per­for­mance. Even more striking, 24 percent said Trump is rep­re­sen­tative of the Repub­lican Party, but only 9 percent said Trump reflects “my per­sonal values.” The alien­ation of young voters from Trump — and the Repub­lican Party he rep­re­sents — should be con­cerning to con­ser­v­a­tives looking ahead to 2020.