Ethan Lam / The Daily Gamecock

Students get politically involved through presidential campaign stops

Several democratic candidates visited Columbia to speak on their policies after kicking off their 2020 presidential campaigns.

In the past week, Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker, Seth Moulton and Pete Buttigieg have spoken to Columbia residents and USC students. Other recent visits include Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders

Several students have responded positively to the opportunity to get more politically involved and learn about candidates’ platforms. Though she hasn't been able to attend a candidate's rally in Columbia, second-year psychology student Logan Gallagher said she appreciates that candidates pay attention to colleges and universities.

“I think it's good that candidates can come and express their opinions and make the college students be more aware of what's going on, because I know being at school it's harder to get the daily news that you'd usually get at home," Gallagher said.

Some students also said they appreciate the opportunity to learn about the candidates in a more candid way. Elizabeth Grosso, a first-year media arts student, said she likes that candidates seem more "real" when speaking in person. 

"I feel like you see them more honestly than the way they present themselves online," Grosso said. "It can be more of a façade and that’s the real thing there, and you can ask whatever questions that you want to and be heard."

Jacob Gamble, a first-year journalism student, said he is very politically active and has been to many of these campaign events because he appreciates being able to see candidates through more personal interaction instead of through television. 

“You get to see who these people really are," Gamble said. "You read articles about them, you watch videos of them on the news, but when you go to these events, you actually see who they are in person and that's much different sometimes than what the news portrays of them. It makes them more human."

Gamble said he believes it is smart for candidates, particularly Democrats, to campaign on college campuses and target younger voters, he said.

"It's a great idea to do that if you're a candidate because the youth vote is extremely important ... to the primary because college campuses are primarily liberal, and students are the future of the vote,” Gamble said. 

Other students said they believe it’s important that others use these opportunities to get involved. Third-year political science student Josh Clardy said he thinks students should take advantage of these events being so accessible.

“Being politically involved is important for people our age, because we're already the least involved age group voting-wise," Clardy said. "We should start getting more involved."

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