The Political Game: the Duel for the Democratic Soul

James Calabresi ’20

Contributing Writer

You may have heard that there’s an election coming up. Yeah, to decide where our country goes the next four years, so dig your head out of Netflix, get that hungover ass away from Sunday margaritas, and make an attempt to see where the country will be if we can elect a different President than the one we have now.

The nation’s leading candidates among college students are Bernie Sanders, who ran in the 2016 Democratic Primary, and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom have been expanding their support in recent weeks. Bernie took home 40% of the vote and Senator Warren 21% in College Pulse’s election tracker of students from all 50 states as of a Jan. 7 poll.

To Democrats, moderates, and centrists depressed by politics (Trump, not knowing who could fix it), I want to offer some reassurances. Trump’s approval ratings in the Midwest are underwater, and the state of the country is drastically different than in our pre-2016 days. Democrats are still likely to win both Pennsylvania and Michigan at least, with incumbents from the 2018 midterm elections prepared to make strong runs at reelection.

Now, if you’re a Trump supporter, you don’t have to stop reading now. Trump earns a bit above 20% of college student’s votes as opposed to a generic Democrat’s ~65% in a hypothetical reelection bid, and, surprisingly, has made ever so modest inroads into the black and Latinx communities. Republicans may sincerely worry about a number of things—that the left will let our country fall into socialism, that there’s a liberal plot to destroy America, etc. So, let me reassure you. All we really want is black-owned weed companies, and importantly, to rally all the Hot Girls for Bernie.
And for democrats, Mayor Buttigieg, aka mayor-Pete, and his eggshell-white base is the only other middle of the road campaign between the poles of Biden and Bernie. And see his record just this year in politics to see just how poorly he has reached out to minorities. Amy Klobuchar is also just as bad in her prosecuting record as Pete is in directing South Bend’s police department, and the New York Times befuddled many by offering her one of their two editorial boards endorsements. But, again, we have two lions of the progressive left in this race, and they won’t lose—to the field or to each other, easily. This is really the case, because whoever wins this primary will be the de facto head of the Democratic Party and move into the second half of 2020 in a good position to be our next President. They will likely have broad executive privileges thanks to Trump’s trampling of existing rules to fund parts of his border wall and camps. The next President will have the responsibility to transform the country as we know it. It wasn’t long ago when Barack Obama was forced to ease back on true-blue Democratic proposals to pass bills in the House and Senate through Republican-approved reconciliation packages. Even if Democrats win the Senate, opposition will be fierce, and we’ll only have one or two votes to work with.
But there is also cause for hope! While most are plodding along in the realm of elections and policy pragmatism, you’re what’s going to make the world change.

Warren and Sanders have done so much to change the country for the better. The Warren camp can compromise and can build a ‘get-behind-us and Warren’ll lead you to success approach. Meanwhile, Bernie is dogged in his commitment to remake the political landscape and bring in non-voters to the party. What this election will take is one side getting over supporting the other to win and win big enough that Trump can’t possibly contest results in court come November. Research your candidates and inform your parents. Volunteer and make some calls.

In the meanwhile, find friends and family that live in one of Maine, North Carolina, Arizona, or Michigan, and talk to them. Start the rough, uninformed, touch and go conversations that may lead to a mind changed, a non-voter converted, or an opinion fine-tuned. It’ll take all this, all we have within us to make the change: environmental, racial, economic- that we require to build a brighter tomorrow. Friends, let us search within, for we have the world to win.