Danny Miles: Campaign proactively

The Salt Pile

It’s hard to be even moderately aware of politics these days and not know the name Bernie Sanders. The Democratic senator from Vermont has been steadily gaining in the polls, even as detractors jeer that he has no chance against the liberal frontrunner Hillary Clinton due to his myriad left-of-center policies. This surge in the polls is stemming from an obvious cause: Sanders has a lot of supporters and they are loud. The issue, though, is how this loudness detracts from Sanders’ actual message.

The movement for Sanders has spread throughout the country and Case Western Reserve University is no exception. This semester, a group called Bernie’s CWRU was established with the goal of promoting Sanders and his policies to the student body in an effort to increase voting turnout. Sanders’ popularity is clear; only two months after its creation, the group’s Facebook page boasts over 140 members, an impressive feat when one considers the typical political apathy among college-aged Americans. Members of this group are anything but apathetic.

As an example, consider Hillary Clinton’s visit to campus on Aug. 27. At least a thousand people showed up that Thursday morning to hear the presidential candidate speak, but six CWRU students very pointedly did not. Instead, these students staged a minor protest just outside of the assembly, carrying signs claiming that the country is “#NotReadyForHillary.” They were nonaggressive, instead choosing to simply hold their signs and promote their criticisms of Clinton, but their total opposition to the rally was apparent.

It is interesting to note, however, that while some of these students were members of Bernie’s CWRU, the organization was not officially affiliated with the protestors in this endeavor. In fact, there was a minor dispute within the organization over the appropriateness of the counter-protest.

The Sanders campaign prides itself on non-aggression toward other candidates, a position Sanders frequently notes, which provides a stark contrast to most if not all of the other candidates on the campaign trail. The #NotReadyForHillary rally is clearly against this supposed tenet of the Sanders campaign. The opposition from members of Bernie’s CWRU is understandable.

This incident is not unique to CWRU; the notion of peaceful campaigning is one that is being brought up across the nation. From coast to coast, pundits are either applauding or lambasting Sanders’ decision to not detract from his opponents. Is this a wise decision on Bernie’s part? I, for one, applaud him for promoting his policies over blasting his opponents’ directly. It may be naive, and it may prove to be a fruitless strategy, but who can fault a candidate for trying to bring integrity to the campaign trail?

This particular incident involving Sanders’ supporters and Clinton is just the latest in a series of conflicts between the two camps. Citizens supporting Sanders loudly criticize Clinton’s policies, even going so far as to attack her integrity directly. This isn’t new to the political process, as it has been the norm since this country was founded. A part of me, though, wonders why that can’t change. Why can’t Bernie’s supporters promote his message peacefully, like the senator himself wants?

One would assume that this kind of proactive campaigning, which would hinge on promoting one’s favorite candidate, would lead to a more positive reception and a stark contrast to the feuds that can erupt when candidates start directly attacking each other across the media. Bernie doesn’t want that, and, for the most part, Clinton doesn’t seem to want that either. I say it’s time we make that change. Let’s bring some integrity and respect back to the campaign trail, and with it, possibly some unity to not only the Democratic Party, but the country as a whole. A house divided cannot stand; perhaps this can be the first step to putting that house back together.

Danny Miles was supposed to be made of everything perfect little boys are made of: sugar, spice, and… Whoops, someone used salt instead of sugar. He is a second-year.