Several members of Cornell University Democrats praised their party’s convention last week as a meaningful step toward unity, stressing that speakers offered a message of optimism in stark contrast to the gloom of the Republican convention.
Looking ahead to the general election, club representatives voiced enthusiasm about the diversity of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s platform, and warned of the abnormality and danger of a Donald Trump presidency.
Some Bernie Sanders protestors continued to demonstrate throughout the convention, undeterred by their candidate’s endorsement of Clinton.Cornell Democrats Secretary Natalie Brown ’18 said she believed the DNC helped Democrats unite behind a common cause, citing candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt.) endorsement as an example of party factions rising above their differences.
“During the convention, Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton and the outpouring of support from Democrats of all leanings helped to solidify support behind the Democratic platform,” Brown said.
Clinton’s and Sanders’ campaigns both played an instrumental role in accruing support for a Democratic successor to Obama, even while the candidates drew from different bases of the population and focused on different themes, Brown said.
“Sanders has helped attract younger voters to the party and has encouraged them to be politically active,” she said. “Clinton has brought the voice of foreign and domestic experience and has helped set a mature tone for the party, a clear distinction from the RNC.”
The DNC showed that this election “is so much bigger than political parties or simple political ideologies,” said Vice President of Cornell Democrats Gunjan Hooja ’17.
“When faced with a racist and demagogue, not to mention a misogynist, it becomes a clear choice,” Hooja said.
Cornell Democrats President Kevin Kowalewski ’17 stressed the importance of President Obama’s convention speech, saying he hopes the president’s endorsement will “help to re-energize the coalition that turned out for Obama in 2008 and 2012.” President Barack Obama “passed the baton” to Clinton in his speech before the convention.
“President Obama expressly passed the baton to Hillary Clinton, making the case that we should elect her to protect and expand upon his legacy,” he said. “We can also not ignore the historic significance of the first African-American president urging us to elect the first woman president.”
Hooja also had praise for First Lady Michelle Obama, whose speech, she asserted, will “undoubtedly go down as one of the best convention speeches of all time.”
“I believe Michelle Obama did a great job of explaining to voters exactly what was at stake this November and why they should vote for Clinton,” she said.
Brown added that she was struck by the diversity of interests represented and addressed at the DNC, including the platforms of groups which have not been featured prominently in the past.
“So many interests were represented and brought to the forefront,” she said. “Anastasia Somoza’s speech on her life as a disability advocate and how Clinton has committed to education and workforce inclusion for the disabled was one of my favorite moments; finally the needs of a group so frequently silenced were voiced. “
Addressing the Email Leak
In the wake of a disclosure of hacked emails of the DNC, these three representatives of Cornell Democrats stress the importance of the DNC remaining impartial in future democratic primaries.
Brown said the apology that the party sent out was vital in emphasizing the virtue of fair and unbiased Democratic party operations in any future elections.
“It is crucial that our party operate fairly and not exhibit any preference in races,” she said. “I am happy that the DNC has apologized; the leaked emails were alarming and are not the way our party should present itself.“
Kowalewski added that he believes the DNC has been actively addressing concerns raised by the email hack, saying he does not believe the leak “will cause any major issues for the remainder of the 2016 election.”
DNC v. RNC
All three Cornell Democrats representatives agreed that the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention offered two distinctly different visions for the future of the United States.
Differentiating between the two, Hooja called the DNC a “much more hopeful, patriotic, and forward-looking convention.”
“It was a convention that celebrates American ingenuity and people and acknowledged that we have come far in eight years, but progress still needs to be made and will be made as a nation,” she said. “The RNC, on the other hand, painted a dreary and depressing picture of our country, one that rejected the very optimism that our country was founded upon.”
Brown added that speakers at the RNC portrayed the United States as a “failing power being torn at the seams in a state of chaos.”
“Instead of bringing forward substantive policy proposals and discussing possible solutions to society’s problems, Hillary Clinton was the only subject they deemed worthy of discussion,” she said. ”I was petrified as I watched large crowds chanting ‘Lock Her Up’ time after time throughout the four days, and I am fearful for the state of the Republican party.”
Kowalewski stressed that one of the “most important points of this election” is that Donald Trump is not a normal candidate.
“We should be careful not to normalize his stunning ignorance, hateful views, authoritarian tendencies, and his vicious attacks against anyone who dares critique him,” he said. “I want to believe that the Republican Party is better than Trump — and I hope that more Republicans begin to speak out against the dangerous idea of electing such a man.”