State News

UW students meet with congressman to prepare for presidential election

During a meeting Sunday, congressman Keith Ellison helped UW-Madison students plan for the upcoming presidential election.

Image By: Peter Coutu

Several UW-Madison students sat down with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Sunday in Union South to plan how to best unite students for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election.

The event, which was organized by the Hillary for Wisconsin campaign, led to a discussion on why it is vital to ensure that Clinton is elected in November. Ellison was the second U.S. representative to endorse Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but he is now campaigning for Clinton leading up.

He said beyond the fact that Clinton is incredibly qualified to be president, she needs to be elected because she is facing a candidate that is unprecedented in American history.

Ellison said Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has made racist comments, and he said Trump’s past “disgusting, sexist, misogynist” remarks about women are “deeply disturbing.”

“We have more at stake than the presidential election because if Trump wins this election, what it will say is that the haters win, that hate, division won,” Ellison said. “We cannot tolerate this; we cannot let anybody win who says that a judge born in Indiana is unfit to judge him because his parents are Mexican.”

The congressman also urged students against casting their vote—which Ellison said should be viewed as a “tactical decision” to improve the voter’s life—for a third party candidate.

“I’m sure [Jill Stein] is a fine person, but if she’s polling at 2, 3, 4 percent, then she’s not going nowhere; therefore, any vote for her is a vote for Trump,” Ellison said. “It’s just the way it is.”

Most students at the event agreed that Clinton needs to be elected, even if they had previously favored Sanders in the Democratic nominee race.

UW-Madison student Denzel Bibbs helped campaign for Sanders prior to Clinton securing the Democratic nomination, but he said he now supports Clinton, and is actively campaigning for her. Despite his change, he said many students on campus still have mixed feelings toward Clinton.

“A lot of people are not jumping on board to Hillary yet. They still feel like she hasn’t earned their vote,” Bibbs said. “We have a lot of work to do in uniting people and making sure we get Hillary Clinton in the White House.”

When campaigning during the school year, Ellison advised the students to set goals for how many people they should be reaching a day, as well as personalizing events to attract different groups of people.

He also said they should help other students and community members plan exactly how and when they are going to vote, as people often say they run out of time during election days.

Among the students in attendance was Chair of College Democrats of UW-Madison August McGinnity-Wake, who said it was a great opportunity to have Ellison on campus. He said hopes the congressman will come back to campus when more students return from summer break.

"It was great to have Congressman Ellison on campus today in a show of Democratic unity going into this fall,” McGinnity-Wake said. “He underscored that we're all fired up to elect Hillary Clinton and we had a wonderful conversation about turning out students to vote Nov. 8."

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