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Howard Students Weigh on 2020 Presidential Race, Candidates

By Ashleigh Fields, Staff Reporter

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

There are currently 12 Democrats and three Republicans running in the 2020 presidential election. Though their campaigning styles and promises vary, they are each targeting a specific audience, college students.

College students haven’t always been among a group with the highest percentage of voters. However, a study conducted by Tufts University says college students across the United States more than doubled their rate of voting between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections. The study found that 40 percent of students who are eligible to vote cast ballots last year, up from 19 percent in 2014. 

“I think the rise in college voters is due to the antics of President Trump and the heated political climate he’s created,” said freshman political science major, Ellison Estwick. “More college students are becoming aware of how important it is to vote.”

Politicians have also discovered how important it is to gain the vote of a college student. College in swing states like Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, have become, “Battleground Campuses.” Organizers and activists target these campuses for events that cater to the language and liking that are common for voters ranging from ages 18-24. Many have done this by adding students to their campaign teams.

“Being a college student working on a campaign is extremely meaningful. I volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and now I work for Elizabeth Warren’s,” said government and politics major at University of Maryland College Park, Anaya Truss-Williams. “I planned on voting for Warren before I started interning on her early states teams, and seeing how she ran her team made me comfortable in committing to advocating for others to vote for her.” 

Many are impressed by the work of Elizabeth Warren.

“I like Bernie because I think a lot of his ideas from 2016 set the tone for progressivism in 2020, but I think that Warren has the most concrete plans,” said senior political science major, Alexis Grady.

One of her most popular plans is centered around higher education. With goals to focus on decreasing student loans and protecting Historically Black Colleges and Universities, she’s captured a diverse audience of voters. 

“I think Warren’s experience as a Professor helps her explain really complicated concepts in simplified terms, Warren makes sense,” said senior computer science major, Andre Vincent.

Though many do support Warren, after the 2016 election The Pew Research Center found that 23 percent of young Republican voters defected from the party. And a new national poll of America’s 18-29-year-olds by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School found that many of them flocked to Senator Bernie Sanders (31 percent) who leads among likely young Democratic presidential primary voters.

“I’m looking for a candidate who is genuine in their platform and respects the people they are supposed to serve, and I believe that Bernie will do just that,” said freshman journalism major, Corey Utesy.

Though the primary season has not yet begun, many candidates are making a strong impression on their young college audience. After the Iowa Caucus on Feb. 3, America will have a better look at who will serve as the next president.