College Republicans look to down ballot races

By Mary Schrott, The Miami Student

This election season, Miami students and staff aren’t afraid to address the elephant — and donkey — in the room.

In a “Welcome Back and Moving Forward” email sent earlier this month, President Crawford addressed the student body, acknowledging this as a “tense election year” that can elicit turmoil on Miami campuses which “mirror the world around us.”

Politics on campus this semester has outgrown student organizations like College Republicans and College Democrats. Now, the Hillary Clinton campaign has an employed campus organizer in Oxford, senior Kirby Chandler. The Ohio Director of the organization Students for Trump, Brittany Brown, is also a senior at Miami.

“Polls in Ohio are still within a one or two percent margin,” Chandler said while manning a table draped in an electric blue “Ohio Together” banner in the Armstrong Student Center. “So when I say I work 12-14 hours a day doing voter registration or organizing events on campus, I literally do.”

Approximately 150 students at Mega Fair last week registered to vote with Chandler and her team of volunteers from College Democrats and Students for Hillary, of which she also is the president.

“I had people at Mega Fair coming up to me and asking how they could get involved at the College Dems table,” Chandler said. “I was so excited about that.”

College Republicans were also represented at Mega Fair, however, the group has not officially endorsed Donald Trump for president.

“I’m not a Trump supporter,” said Michael Wing, a sophomore member of College Republicans and prior Ted Cruz delegate. “I’m really more concerned about the down ballot races.”

Wing, along with several other Miami students like sophomore Caleb Stidham, volunteer with Rob Portman’s campaign which is now a part of the most expensive senate race in the country. 

“Ultimately the presidential election is not going to be the reason I go to the polls,” said Stidham who is also a member of College Republicans and attended the Republican National Convention this summer with a group of Miami students. “I’m going to go and vote, but Rob Portman’s going to be the reason I go.”

While neither Wing nor Stidham endorses Trump, they agree that collaboration between College Republicans and Democrats is likely.

“In the past, College Republicans have done several voter registration things and have worked with College Democrats,” Michael said.

Chandler said she also would support a nonpartisan voter registration drive.

“You can literally print off forms and take them to the board of elections,” said Chandler. “Honestly it’s not that hard.”

Chandler has plans to host several voter registration events this fall like offering free pizza on Slant Walk and bringing puppies to campus.

Registering to vote is seen as important not only by politically active students, but by faculty as well.

Based on past elections, professor of Justice and Community Studies at Miami’s Hamilton campus, John Forren, believes participation among college students this fall will be low. However, Forren said, even a relatively small increase in voting among college students could make a big difference in the presidential race and in many down ballot races.

“This year in particular is a year college students can make impact on the society we live in,” Forren said.

Miami’s Hamilton campus houses more non-traditional students, Forren said, which enhances engagement with local politics.

“Regional campuses are very imbedded in these communities,” Forren said. “There’s a very strong connection between students and the communities.”

When Hamilton campus students are not at school, Forren suggests that they are out in the community working and living, in contrast with students from Miami’s Oxford campus, only about half of whom are Ohio residents.

“Politics does not strike our students as distant thing that other people worry about,” Forren said.

Though regional campuses may house students who are more concerned with local voter issues, Forren explained that Miami faculty on every campus work hard to illustrate to students that politics matter in their lives.

Courtney Rose, a sophomore member of Students for Hillary on Oxford’s campus, said personal research is the best way to decide your vote.

“A lot of people don’t realize how much they don’t know about [the election] until they research because a lot of things are told by word of mouth,” Rose said.

“I always say, if you don’t know then look it up and decide for yourself, but don’t decide based on other people’s opinions.

Photos:

(Taken by Chandler)

Members of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity help register voters in ASC

Taken by Schrott

Kirby Chandler (right) Courtney Rose (left) register v

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