As the primaries and presidential election edge closer, more students are turning their eyes to the future of 2020. Inevitably, New Hampshire and the college student demographic is a top priority for many candidates, so it’s likely that the campus will keep seeing hopeful presidential visitors.
For a few students, this has ignited efforts to bring more political engagement closer to home. Political activity has grown on campus with a new progressives and moderates group, the climate strike, and a Bernie Sanders rally on October 25.
The Bernie Sanders rally was done in collaboration with the Environmental Club. The organization’s Vice President Julianna Larue (‘22) was volunteering at the event and taking attendance. She is also acting as the student coordinator of Students For Bernie, a group that she is trying to start. In addition, she is a member of SNHU Blue, the affinity group for moderates and progressives on campus started by Aisha Khiyaty (‘21) this semester.
Larue explained that the Bernie campaign actually approached the executive board of the Environmental Club to plan the event. The club was eager to accept with Larue saying, “We need more college students to vote, so getting more campaigns on campus is really, really great to get more students educated.”
According to the Concord Monitor, “The Sanders steering committee in New Hampshire has met monthly ever since the 2016 general election,” making the Sanders team arguably the most organized candidate in the state. It makes sense that the campaign would know how to connect with SNHU students despite there having been no formalized left-leaning group on campus until recently. And considering Sanders’ success in the 2016 primary election, beating Hillary Clinton by 22 points in New Hampshire, it’s a no brainer that they’re trying to get onto the campus.
Shannon Jackson, the New Hampshire Sanders campaign director, has been working diligently to bring awareness to the Sanders campaign in the state. In just the day he came to SNHU, he had previously visited Saint Anslem College and Dartmouth while preparing for a day of action the next day.
In New Hampshire, the Sanders campaign has been working closely with Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry’s. The rally at SNHU featured Ben from Ben and Jerry’s scooping ice cream to students while promoting Sanders and his platform.
Jackson said about the event, “The Bernie Campaign is all about the people. One of the important things is just to get the energy prevalent throughout the whole state. So today, we’ve got the Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream talking about why Bernie is the best, why he’s going to beat Donald Trump, why he’s the strongest candidate, and why Ben and Jerry – Ben and Jerry the people – have never endorsed a presidential candidate besides Bernie before. They are dedicated to really doing everything they can to get Bernie elected.”
The event also included pins supporting Bernie that said, “Bernie beats Trump”. This was supposed to represent the fact that in every national poll, according to Jackson, Bernie beats Trump. According to CNN, FoxNews, Quinnipiac, and numerous other polls this is true. These polls and more can be confirmed here: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_sanders-6250.html