Grinnellians prepare for general election

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By Teresa Fleming
flemingt17@grinnell.edu

While the electoral fervor on campus may have waned since the Iowa caucus last February, some students are still finding opportunities to participate in the national election.

National Council Vice Chair at College Democrats of America and the President of College and Young Democrats of Iowa, Austin Wadle ‘18 charters new campus organizations and acts as a liaison between the nationally elected executive board and our chartered state federations.

“We are working to make sure that we get [the] message out and show that Democrats are the party of progress and smart government. The GOP are clearly not the party for young people, whereas Democrats are the party that do not want dictate which restroom a gender non-conforming person like myself can use,” Wadle wrote in an email to the S&B.

Wadle encourages Grinnell students to get involved in local politics in addition to voting in November’s presidential election, reminding them that because Iowa is a swing state their votes will have a significant impact on the White House, Congress and local government.

“I am really excited about the Democratic State House candidate here in district 76, Jake Tornholm,” Wadle wrote. “He’s a social worker from Williamsburg and is actually married to a Grinnellian, Erin Nicholson ’99. He’s really committed to the progressive policies Grinnell College students really care about, like making sure public schools are fully funded across the state and raising the minimum wage here in Iowa because he’s seen the good that these policies could do for the people in his community and across the state.”Elections with color

Students can also take part in the political process while remaining on campus. Anna Schierenbeck ’18 is the co-chair of Campus Democrats, a group which is working to register students to vote and generate excitement about the upcoming election. She also highlighted the importance of participating in local elections.

“Iowa, according to a lot of polls, is currently the only state that’s actually ina dead heat between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,” Schierenbeck said. “And I know that a lot of the narrative we’re getting right now – which is honestly very true for a lot of states – is that Hillary is leading by double-digits and is on her way to pulling a landslide, but that being said we don’t want to be a state that goes for Trump. Especially given the legacy of voting for Obama twice. That would be embarrassing.”

Schierenbeck noted that the base of local support for Trump makes sense, given Iowa’s tendency to elect conservative politicians like Governor Terry Branstad. She encourages students to get involved with Campus Democrats, whether it be canvassing in town or on campus, registering voters, or even entering voter registration data.

Schierenbeck also acknowledges the disappointment students might feel that presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders failed to win the Democratic nomination, despite the success he encountered in theIowa caucus.

“I think that it’s important to recognize where people are frustrated, but I also do think that given this two-party system and the fact that really only two party candidates are viable, and especially given that Iowa is so close, the [Democratic Party] does need all the votes it can get, to even make that incremental change that we need,” Schierenbeck said. “I think that [Clinton] has heard what Sanders supporters want, and she’s going to take it into account, and she is the best option to put those policies into places, versus someone who could be the last president. Not to be so extreme, but rule of law is really at risk. It does feel like the end of days.”