Student orgs campaign on local, national levels

Cliff Soloway, Staff Reporter

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On Tulane’s campus, few groups have been more active leading up to the election than the various political organizations. They dedicated this semester to making their voices heard both inside and outside the voting booth.

Tulane College Republicans, under President Abigail Michel, focused its efforts on local politics rather than the national election because many of its members do not support Donald Trump.

“Trump doesn’t really have any grassroots stuff,” Michel said. “Hillary [Clinton] has locations all over the country. Trump has around five, so it’s really hard to get involved, and we talked about it. Everyone in the club doesn’t support Trump, so there’s really no reason for us to go and do things when there’s nothing for us to do, and it’s hard to get involved.”

The club has played an active role in Louisiana politics this year. Over the summer, Michel reached out to all Republican candidates for Senate from Louisiana and received responses from Charles Boustany, John Kennedy, John Fleming and Rob Maness.

Members of the club have worked with these campaigns by participating in phone banks and putting up signs to support these candidates.

“After the Nov. 8 election…it’s mainly just making sure a Republican wins in the runoff and doing what we can to make sure that happens,” Michel said.

On the other end of the political spectrum, the Tulane College Democrats extend their support to the Democratic nominee. They recently attended their annual “Demsacola” event in Pensacola, Florida where they heard President Bill Clinton speak and canvassed for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Given the unlikelihood of Clinton gaining ground in Louisiana, they have also focused on local politics by reaching out to the Senatorial campaigns of Caroline Fayard and Foster Campbell. They also canvassed for local school board candidate David Alvarez, who will speak to the club next week.

“We just thought ‘Focus on local politics, that’s what actually affects people,'” College Democrats President Brooke Payton said.

After the election, the College Democrats are looking to stay local and pursue activism-based politics. They will be partnering with Students Organizing Against Racism and Students United for Reproductive Justice, as well as organizations in the city, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the New Orleans Abortion Fund.

Students who are interested in exploring political options beyond the two main parties can find opportunities in the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE). This organization is the youth group of the Socialist Equality Party. They endorse the party’s candidate for president, Jerry White, and his vice president, Niles Niemuth.

Last month, IYSSEheld a talk hosted by Jerry White, the SEP candidate for President.

Before this semester, members of the club also campaigned across Louisiana to place White and Niemuth on the state ballot. They will also be sending students to Detroit to attend a conference held by the SEP and IYSSE titled, “Socialism versus Capitalism and War.”

“While we, of course, are calling for a vote for our own candidate in the election, the most important political task right now is the fight for socialism,” IYSSE president Tom Agnew said. “We call on people who have come into contact with the SEP and IYSSE through the campaign or who have, until now, stayed on the sidelines to make the decision to contact us, to join the IYSSE and to take up the fight against war and for socialism.”

Regardless of their political affiliation, all of these organizations emphasize the importance of Tulane students going out to vote. They are hopeful that their activism over the course of this semester will become particularly meaningful on Election Day.

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