Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

August 24, 2016

Cornell Democrats Endorse Clinton, Republicans to ‘Make Announcement’ This Week

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Cornell Democrats announced Tuesday night that they will endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president and “strongly support” her candidacy this fall. Cornell Republicans plan to make an announcement about the 2016 election by the end of this week, according to Chair Olivia Corn ’19.

Cornell Democrats President Kevin Kowalewski ’17 said the group plans to campaign aggressively for Clinton on campus this fall.

“The Cornell Democrats strongly support Hillary Clinton and we will be working hard to elect her in November,” Kowaleski said. “When the election gets closer, we will put out a voter guide with a full list of endorsements.”

Both groups spoke to The Sun this summer, sharing their reactions to their parties’ conventions hosted in Cleveland and Philadelphia, respectively.

Remembering the RNC

In July, Cornell Republican leadership diverged on whether Donald Trump’s law and order message at the Republican National Convention resonated with Americans or revealed an alarming authoritarian leaning in the candidate.

Corn said she believed the convention’s darker message managed to reach voters who “rightly have fears, given [that] random acts of terror that have been committed here in the United States, and around the world.”

However, Senior First Vice Chair Austin McLaughlin ’18, said he found the presidential nominees statements such as, “‘I alone can fix it,” concerning as they “make [Trump] out to be more of a strongman than a unifier.”

“Trump combines this language with language of law and order as if he alone can solve the gun violence and terrorism wrought upon the United States,” McLaughlin said. “In my opinion, the Republican Party inches closer and closer to authoritarianism with this law and order motif.”

First Vice Chair Irvin McCullough ’18 also criticized Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tx) decision not to endorse Trump in Cleveland.

“If Donald Trump loses, Senator Cruz and the #NeverTrump movement may become the Ralph Nader of the 2016 election,” McCullough said. “Speaking out at the RNC may have been a poor decision for Senator Cruz in the long run.”

Despite these divergent opinions among members of its board, Cornell Republicans will issue an announcement about the election by the end of this week, according to Corn. She did not clarify whether the group would endorse a candidate.

Discussing the DNC

On the other hand, leaders of Cornell Democrats praised the display of party unity in Philadelphia this summer as different factions rallied around Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.

Cornell Democrats Secretary Natalie Brown ’18 shared how, in particular, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) support of Clinton has helped to create a cohesive platform that reaches young Democratic supporters.

“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.”

Kowalewski also praised President Barack Obama’s speech at the convention, sharing his hope that his speech will “help to re-energize the coalition that turned out for Obama in 2008 and 2012” in this electoral cycle for Clinton.

Hooja praised First Lady Michelle Obama, whose speech, she said, 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.

Several members of Cornell Democrats warned of the dangers of a Trump presidency in reflecting on both conventions, creating an atmosphere even tenser than in previous election years as the Cornell Republicans prepare their announcement.

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.”