February 27, 2014

Cornell Democrats Support Potential Clinton Run

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Although the next presidential election is more than two years away, some Cornell students have already planned to support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a presidential run in 2016.

Clinton has emerged as an early favorite among Democrats — according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, which says that 8 in 10 Democrats want Clinton to run for the presidency — even though she has not previously announced plans to run in 2016.

“Of the limited alternative candidates who do have their sights aimed at the presidency, most simply lack the resources and support that Clinton has,” —Mark LaPointe ’16.

Jared Ham ’15, treasurer of the Cornell University Democrats, said he would support a Clinton campaign, having donated to “Ready for Hillary,” a political action campaign that aims to encourage Clinton to run in 2016.

“I am extremely excited about the notion of Hillary Clinton running for President,” Ham said. “If Hillary Clinton were to run in 2016, I would wholeheartedly support her in both the Democratic primary and the general election.”

Eric Pesner ’15, director of public relations for the Cornell Democrats and a columnist for The Sun, also voiced his support for a Clinton run.

“There are many great Democrats who could possibly run for and win the Presidency. However, Hillary Clinton would be a great nominee who many people, including myself, would back enthusiastically,” Pesner said.

Mark LaPointe ’16, a member of Cornell University’s College Republicans, said he acknowledged Clinton’s status as the Democratic frontrunner, though he said he does not support her for president.

“Of the limited alternative candidates who do have their sights aimed at the presidency, most simply lack the resources and support that Clinton has,” LaPointe said.

LaPointe added that Clinton’s age could be a potential roadblock for her candidacy.

“At 66 years old currently, she will only be three years younger than Senator John McCain (R-A.Z.) was when he ran in 2008,” he said.

Kyle Ezzedine ’14, chairman of the College Republicans, said he worries that the possibility of Clinton becoming the first female president could overshadow other important issues.

“Even if Clinton’s supporters emphasize gender politics, I hope that Clinton officially shapes the tone of her campaign towards more urgent issues, like the economy, environment, international security and privacy,” Ezzedine said. “Clinton deserves to be treated as more than the ‘first female president,’ so I hope she doesn’t pigeonhole herself into this divisive wedge issue.”

The New York Times reported that campaigns by possible candidates current Vice President Joe Biden (D), Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) were supported by only around 40 percent of respondents from their own party.

Ezzedine said he believes that the lack of a strong Republican frontrunner would help Clinton’s chances in 2016.

“As of right now, there aren’t any standout GOP contenders, so that really strengthens her odds,” he said.

LaPointe said he agreed that none of the current prospective candidates for the Republican Party have the name recognition that Clinton has and said he is concerned about the mainstream appeal of some prospective Republican candidates.

“While I align with the more conservative candidates such as Senators Rand Paul (R-K.Y.) and Marco Rubio (R-F.L.), I would be hesitant to support their nomination because I do not think they would satisfy enough voters to win the presidential election,” LaPointe said.