Student political orgs prep for midterm election

Ahead of midterm elections, Temple College Republicans and Democrats rally votes for their respective candidates.

Leading up to midterm elections on Nov. 6, the Temple College Democrats and Temple College Republicans are actively trying to garner votes for their parties’ candidates.

College Democrats are holding protests, canvassing and rallying to increase voter turnout, while College Republicans are also working to promote their party’s candidates.

Christina Borst, the president of Temple College Democrats, said the organization has been focused on getting young people to vote in the midterms. Recently, the organization has registered people to vote on the subway and participated in rallies for #VoteThatJawn, a city-wide campaign to register students and youth to vote.

“The midterms have overwhelmingly been overlooked by young voters,” Borst said. “People don’t think their vote will have an impact, and that isn’t true.”

Chris Smith, president of Temple College Republicans, stands on Polett Walk. | LUKE SMITH / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The Temple College Republicans has been focused on getting the word out about their party’s candidates, said Chris Smith, the organization’s president. The organization is canvassing, phone banking and handing out pamphlets to support the local candidates in the party.

Smith said that in the past few years, he has been most upset by protests at major universities, which have attracted national attention.

“On most college campuses, most of the student population is pretty far to the left,” Smith said. “When we saw things like what happened in [University of California] Berkeley, where conservative students were attacked, it woke a lot of us up to intolerance toward right-leaning opinions.”

University of California, Berkeley scheduled several conservative speakers in 2017, but most were canceled due to safety concerns. At the speeches that did happen, left-wing students protested to the point that speakers, like Milo Yiannopoulos, were unable to be heard, the New York Times reported.

Temple College Democrats has directed most of its efforts toward electing congressional representatives, Borst said.

Temple College Democrats collaborate with Pennsylvania Democratic organizations that help to campaign for candidates running for local and national offices. The student group is advocating for Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat running in Pennsylvania’s 6th District in Berks and Chester counties — one of the many districts redrawn earlier this year after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined the old congressional map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

Christina Borst, president of Temple College Democrats, stands on Polett Walk. | LUKE SMITH / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The new map substantially increases the likelihood of Democratic victories in many districts across the state, the Washington Post reported. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined the lines were drawn to give an advantage to Republicans.

“If [Houlahan] wins, she’ll be the first woman to hold that seat in our district’s history,” Borst said. “[Pennsylvania] doesn’t have any women in Congress, it’s really important that we get women into Congress.”

Smith said his organization is working to support U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 1st District located in Bucks and Montgomery counties, and Pearl Kim, a Republican running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 5th District located in parts of Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

Smith said he’s seen an increased amount of Republicans and Democrats are getting involved with politics.

“There’s been a lot more political momentum on both sides,” Smith said. “It’s a battle between two giants.”

Dakota Deyoc, a junior music technology major, said he hasn’t noticed on-campus activism as a commuter but hopes those who may protest on campus will be civil in their debates.

“I’m just hoping that we get some open-minded people in there,” Deyoc said.

“I love a good protest,” said Osimiri Sprowal, a senior Africology and African American studies major who is a socialist. “I’d say I’m politically active. I’m definitely going to vote in the midterm. The last election was bleak.”

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