February 13, 2004

Caucus 'Elects' Dean

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The results are in from last night’s Cornell Caucus held in Kaufmann auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall. Winning the “democratic nomination” was Gov. Howard Dean who went on in a landslide victory to beat George W. Bush 56-17 in the “national election.”

“Cornell is Dean Country,” said Peter Cohl ’05, the president of the Cornell for Dean organization, who represented Gov. Dean on the panel discussion held before the vote.

Kaufman Auditorium was packed to the brim while students listened to each of the candidate’s views on a select number of issues. Questions were first asked by the moderator Ganesh Sivarajan ’06, the vice president of US India Political Action Committee (US INPAC), to each of the candidates who had 30 seconds to respond to the questions.

These four questions included the topics of the USA PATRIOT Act, campaign finance reform, affirmative action and immigration reform. Each representative had 30 seconds to respond to each prompt as if they were the actual candidate. US INPAC and a variety of other minority groups on campus generated the questions in a collaborative effort.

The candidates included all four remaining contenders for the democratic nomination. Gov. Howard Dean represented by Peter Cohl ’05, Sen. John Edwards represented by Rachel Gage ’03, and Sen. John Kerry represented by Matthew Gewolb ’04; Ryan Horn ’02 represented President Bush.

“I got more votes than Kerry,” said Ryan Horn ’02, a current student at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs.

This was followed by questions from the audience ranging in subject from US-Israeli relations to health care to social security. Questions were either directed at all of the candidates or a specific one. After each candidate gave a brief closing statement, the voting began. Among the democratic candidates Howard Dean received 37 votes, John Edwards received 29 votes and John Kerry received 18 votes.

“I thought it went exceptionally well, Howard Dean won the most important primary,” said said. Commenting on the Dean campaign, Cohl added, “I think the Dean campaign serves as a focal point galvanizing a lot of different Democrats and others on campus who want change.”

Ryan Horn, equally enthusiastic said, “In the past four years the conservative movement has grown astronomically,” citing several statistics showing the support for President Bush and the Republican party on college campuses across the nation.

“I always wanted to be on a panel with Peter Cohl,” Horn said. He also commented on the enthusiasm of the crowd, “I’m really glad I decided to do it.”

“I was surprised as to how fun it was, all the candidates were well prepared,” said Raj Shah ’06, the president of US INPAC and one of the organizers of the event.

The event was organized through the collective effort of many student groups including US INPAC, a group concerned about Indian American political participation, Democracy Matters, the Cornell Democrats, the Cornell Republicans, and a variety of other minority groups on campus.

“I think [US INPAC] did a great job, we on our first event were not as well set up,” said Danny Pearlstein ’05, president of Democracy Matters and a Sun Columnist.

“I found at this event that I was able to understand the views of each of the candidates,” said Vivek Jain ’06.

In October, there will be a follow up event which will be an actual mock election done online preceding the national election.

Archived article by Ted Van Loan