September 16, 2004

C.U. Democrats Push to Elect Kerry

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The meeting atmosphere might have been low-key, but the message was loud and clear — the Cornell Democrats want you to vote for John Kerry this November. The group met yesterday afternoon in Rockefeller Hall room 122 to discuss their upcoming events and plans to advance their agenda on an increasingly large scale. While past efforts may have been more narrowly focused on the Cornell community, this year the organization of over 700 members hopes to spread its influence on a more regional level.

Group members who support Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in his bid for the presidency will be showing their support in a number of ways over the next few weeks, Cornell’s Democratic leaders announced at yesterday’s meeting. For those members who want to push for Kerry on a regional scale, the Cornell Democrats, along with Students for Kerry, have planned a bus trip as part of the “Northeast Invasion” in which college students from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and the rest of the northeast will be campaigning for Kerry in Pennsylvania. The “invasion” is targeting Pennsylvania because of its critical role as a swing state in the election.

The Cornell subset of the group will be traveling with Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland students to Scranton over fall break, from Oct. 8 until Oct. 10. For those students who live out west and need to make the expensive flight home for the break, president Tim Lim ’06 jokingly added, “it’s less expensive to go to Pennsylvania then it is to fly home — it’s free!”

An additional trip to Pennsylvania is scheduled for this Saturday to encourage voter registration, and there will be more trips to campaign in the weeks approaching the election. As Lim also mentioned, the Democrats will offer additional opportunities for members unable to travel to Pennsylvania. There will be activities taking place on campus and around Ithaca in the coming weeks.

This afternoon, the Cornell Democrats will be having a debate against the College Republicans on the topic of Iraq in the Kaufman Auditorium. This Saturday, volunteers will be assisting in “getting out the vote” from Collegetown Bagels at 1 p.m. Students will be taking advantage of their free weekend cell phone minutes and using them to help register voters.

Another upcoming event the Democrats are promoting is a speech being given on campus on Sept. 21 by Joe Trippi, former campaign strategist for Gov. Howard Dean’s presidential campaign.

Much of the Democrats’ efforts have been put into planning the Campus Canvas, scheduled to begin on Sept. 27. Throughout the week, members will be going through the residence halls on North Campus in order to gauge the political leanings of the freshman students, and thus better target those in the middle.

Cornell Democrats secretary and treasurer Jamie Gullen ’07 informed members about an event called Bush’s AWOL Week, which the Democrats are co-sponsoring with a number of campus liberal groups. In this series of lectures, professors will discuss various aspects of Bush’s policies that Kerry supporters feel must change. The Democrats hope the series will prove effective in facilitating discussion on policy issues.

“Bush is AWOL on women’s rights, Bush is AWOL on social policy issues, and we need to make people aware of this,” Gullen said.

The overall focus of the Democrats’ efforts was summed up in one simple statement: “We’re all here to elect John Kerry, and have a Democratic victory this election,” said vice president Mitch Fagen ’07.

Archived article by Jennifer Murabito
Sun Contributor