Category Archives: 2016 Politics

CCSU Political Clubs Staying Active

by Lauren Lustgarten

With the 2016 Presidential Election just under a month away, political clubs on all college campuses are involved with campus activities. Political clubs at Central Connecticut State University have continued to increased their activity.

Although, some groups are finding less interest than they were expecting. Whether it is because people think their vote doesn’t matter or simply because of unlikeable candidates, it is greatly affecting school involvement.

College Democrats is one of the more active clubs on campus. Currently holding about eight to ten members, the club has been active for at least the past six years.

Most members come from the Department of Political Science, with more members joining during election years. In 2012, there were 40 active members.

The club does a lot more off-campus than they do on-campus but, this year they are hosting the Young Democrats Convention on Nov. 12 in which the club will be the ground team.

The College Democrats are an affiliate of the Connecticut College Democrats who are an affiliate of the National College Democrats.

A normal meeting consists of around eight members in attendance with an equal mixture between males and females. With a lot of chatter among the members, there seemed to be one major issue they were worried about: voter apathy.

“We need to get the people to vote. Since Bernie dropped out, a lot of people are refusing to vote. We need to get the Bernie supporters to vote for Hilary,” said one of the members with a bunch of nodding heads following.

A few members described themselves as “Bernie guys” and one even said “I hate Trump…I’m not even crazy about Hillary but we’re better off as a country with her as our president.”

College Democrats have been doing a lot around campus. They can be around campus at voter registration tables. The group attempts to outreach to as many people as possible through door-to-door knocking. They also co-sponsored a showing of the presidential debate with SPJ. As always, they hope to continue to grow and change the way people think about this election.

SGA is an extremely active organization on campus. They are the creators of many events that take place at CCSU.

When it comes to the election, they are doing their best to extend awareness around campus regarding the upcoming presidency. Caitlin Moreau, an At-Large Senator and on the Public Affairs Committee for SGA, said they have already started getting people involved on campus.

“We held a watch the debate party in Vance on Monday night for students to watch the debate together. We are starting a voter registration campaign to help students to register to vote in the upcoming election and we have already started walking around campus with forms to register students,” said Moreau.

She said they will be taking further action to inform students how easy it is to register and are planning ways in which to reach all students possible. Some strategies include tabling at dining halls, walking around in groups , posting flyers and possible promotional items like stickers.

Another extremely active group on campus who seems to have the most followers and pull on campus is Youth for Socialist Action (YSA). The group has been around since 2006.

Currently, there are around 20 members total with new students wanting to join regularly. The group engages in a lot of action so balancing workloads as students with activism can be difficult, explained president Brian Becker. That is why active members come and go during the semester.

YSA works with other on-campus clubs to discuss and defend students’ rights, organize and attend local and national protests and rallies and engage in weekly educational work. Members of the club learn how to paint banners, give speeches and organize to create change.

The activities they engage in often correlate with the interests of students on-campus and off-campus. For example, they worked with the CSU-AAUP, the professors’ union, in protecting their right to a fair contract. They organized rallies and protests to ensure that the quality of education in universities doesn’t suffer.

Becker is a 21-year-old senior. He is a sociology major with a minor in political science. He only joined the YSA last semester while they were working with the university professors’ union to help fight for a fair contract. It was immediately a club he thought he could get behind and now he is the president.

With a heavy persistence on change, Becker has a solid grasp on this upcoming election and feels strongly in what he plans to do.

“I don’t plan on voting. While I would never dissuade other students from doing so, I would urge them to get involved with groups that engage in social activism on the ground. It is because of the pressure of social movements from below that change is pushed forward and the voices of the oppressed heard. Genuflecting to politicians to enact policy, as we’ve seen in this state and with this election, doesn’t accomplish much,” said Becker.

Anyone committed to social change can join the YSA.

College Republicans are a now defunct campus group. They were just as involved as the College Democrats, but offered no comment on the reasoning behind the inactivity.

Despite this one group’s inactivity, the other groups are doing more than enough to get students involved in the election this year.

The old mantra, “One vote can make a difference,” is still strong.



Students Advocate for Socialism Support on Campus

by Jacqueline Stoughton

The Socialist Action and Youth for Socialist Action groups got together last month to advocate for socialism voters on the Central Connecticut campus, in hopes that students would vote for Bernie Sanders at the Connecticut primary elections later this month.

Five speakers took the podium and preached to a room full of students and community members as to why they believe in the socialist movement, as well as to why they’re putting their support behind Sanders as their presidential nominee.

“I don’t consider myself a socialist. But creating change should be done by any means necessary that makes sense and achieves change from within our team,” said Dan Dorso, Bernie for Connecticut team leader. “Our team is convinced that there will be a movement after if he [Sanders] loses.”

All the presenters made similar points as to why they believe Sanders is the best chance for the future of this country. Dorso explained redistributing the wealth throughout this country is a must – Sanders being the only candidate capable of doing so.

“He [Sanders] wants to build a wall too. A wall against racism,” said Dorso. “We believe we can make a difference.”

Through a video conference call, Eugene Paryear, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation Connecticut, explained the GOP is beginning to disintegrate, which will cause an uprising of the youth in this country.

“Millennials are accepting socialism as a legitimate party,” said Paryear. “All of these donors are putting their money behind a movement that is significant.”

Paryear expressed uncertainty whether or not these socialist reforms will work, but still remained confident that they’re worth trying and supporting in this years election.

“We need to go out and be bold and restore the left ideas,” said Paryear. “We need solutions that meet the scale of the problem when we talk about socialism. We don’t want to lose this opportunity.”

Sanders is still trailing behind Hillary Clinton for delegate votes. According to AP, Sanders has 980 pledged delegates and 31 Superdelegates giving him a total of 1,011, compared to Clinton’s 1,712-delegate lead. There are still 2,042 left to claim, in order to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

“We’re living in the most productive time. Tax breaks only help the one percent,” said Dan Kiely, member of the Socialist Party for Soltysik/Walker. “The rich own everything. We need to start a movement and join an organization.”

College Republicans Attempt Club Recharge

by Jacqueline Stoughton

During this time of year as primary elections begin to unfold and lead into the presidential election, colleges are brimming with political excitement and varying opinions. Although the College Democrats club on campus has been active, the College Republicans club has been irregularly quiet and inactive all year.

“We’ve had three watch parties. Two were primary watch parties, one on Super Tuesday, one for the primary results in Connecticut and one for the first Democratic debate,” said Wyatt Bosworth, president of the College Democrats. “We want to instill excitement on this campus over the election.”

The College Democrats club recruited over 150 students to register to vote in the New Britain area in time for the primary election, along with attending conventions both semesters at Fairfield University and Southern Connecticut State University and hosted a fundraiser with Congressman John Larson at Elmer’s Place where Congresswoman Elizabeth Etsy was also in attendance.

Meanwhile, the College Republicans have been dead silent, not hosting a single event all year or making any noise trying to recruit and promote their club.

“As of right now, the club is in a regrowth period as it was inactive until I transferred here this semester so we have been focusing on tabling and trying to build support for the club,” said Haley Birch, President of the College Republicans. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve been steady with our couple of members, definitely not a strong following.”

Although they weren’t able to host any events this year, the College Republicans have been funded for next year and granted a base budget. They hosted their last meeting yesterday to start laying the groundwork for potential events next semester. Currently, the club meets on Tuesdays in the camp room at 7:15 p.m., but that is subject to change next semester.

“We’re going to make our presence more known and will likely plan an event or two regarding the election. Hopefully we can hold an event with a guest speaker, but at this point no plans have been made,” said Birch. “We are going to put more effort into events and tabling.”

While the College Republicans attempt to relaunch their club, the College Democrats have been busy making plans for next semester, including hosting a surrogate debate with the Republicans, promoting the Democratic nominee around campus and recruiting more students to register for voting.

Bosworth explained they will also be working down the ticket, promoting other Democratic candidates and working on races happening in New Britain and surrounding areas as well.

Although they haven’t had quite the same struggle as the Republican’s with membership, Bosworth explained they’ve stayed consisted and have been successful in recruiting members at their various watch parties.

“With a political club, if it’s a municipal year, it’s hard to get students engaged and excited. There’s been an increase in students who want to learn more and get involved. This fall, there will be a lot of excitement,” said Bosworth.

Kasich Brings Optimistic Message to Connecticut

by Tyler Roaix

Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) came to Glastonbury High School Friday evening to make his pitch to Connecticut Republicans on why he should represent the party in the general election this November. The event came just days before the Connecticut primary vote, on April 26th.

In front of a little more than 1,500 people that filled the gymnasium of Glastonbury High School, Kasich entered by dancing and clapping along to Walk the Moon’s hit single, “Shut Up and Dance.” He brought in a level of optimism, emphasizing his belief in the values that make America strong.

“Each and every one of you is special in your own way,” said Kasich. “There has never been any one like you and there will never be anyone quite like you again.”

Kasich also shared stories of his youth, including when he wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon, who eventually responded by inviting Kasich to the White House.

The talk quickly switched to education and the importance of training people while they are young. Kasich called teachers the most, “underpaid people on the face of the Earth,” which earned him the loudest ovation of the night.

Maureen Boatman, of Glastonbury, made no hesitations when asked who she supports in the race.

“I support Kasich,” said Boatman. “Not only does he have the best character, but also the best qualifications. Just look at what he did in Ohio.”

His success as governor of the Buckeye State was a major focus for Kasich. He reiterated his economic accomplishments specifically. He boasted over the creation of over 400,000 new jobs in his home state and the fact he was able to, “Take a $8 billion hole and turn it into a $2 billion surplus.”

It is well known that Connecticut’s economy has been in a downward spiral. As Kasich was listing his economic plans – lower taxes, easier regulations and finding ways to keep companies from going abroad – residents of the Nutmeg State were getting increasingly excited.

John Tyczkowski, 26, a local entrepreneur, explained why he’s backing Kasich in this election.

“He’s just more well-rounded than any of the other candidates,” said Tyczkowski. “He’s been an executive as governor of Ohio, so he knows how to lead. But he’s also no stranger to the legislative process.”

Kasich finished his speech by giving voters one last pitch of his electability. He pointed out how he has experience in legislation at both the state and federal level. He has much more experience than competitors, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, and he made that well-known on Friday night.

“If you want to go on an airplane flight, it’s best to go with somebody’s who’s flown a bunch – I don’t want to get in an airplane with somebody that says, ‘Well I’ve never really done this before, but I think I can do it because I’m really great,'” he said in an obvious jab at Trump.

Polls give Trump, who leads the Republican candidates with 845 delegates, a 22-point lead in Connecticut. But despite being a sizable underdog, Kasich is still hopeful for a contested convention.

“We’re hunting delegates,” said Kasich. “Regardless of what these other two people have to say, when you win 15 separate polls over Hillary and they lose 15 separate polls, that would be a big consideration when we get to Cleveland.”

We are still a long ways away from the Republican National Convention in July, but it’s obvious that John Kasich, no matter what the numbers say, isn’t going away any time soon.

Sanders the Projected Winner for Many CCSU Voters

Video by Taylor Jacobs

by Jacqueline Stoughton

As Connecticut primary night looms near, many Central Connecticut students have plans to cast their votes for Bernie Sanders. The vast majority, however, either don’t plan on voting or know what the purpose of the primary election is.

“I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. I know a lot of people say his policies are unrealistic, but I want to see some sort of change in the political system because clearly it’s not really working that well,” said Conner Henry, 20, CCSU social work major. “I feel like he’s the only person who could really change things and everyone else is just going with what everyone else has been doing and it’s not working.”

Despite the primaries now being two weeks away, polls open on April 26th. Students feel as though CCSU isn’t doing enough to promote and educate why it’s important to vote in primary elections, what they are and how to do it.

“It’s a big deal and it’s going to affect everyone on this campus so they’re [CCSU] obviously not doing enough as far as promoting to vote in the primaries. No one knows that the primaries are coming up,” said Henry.

Unlike many other American voters who plan to vote for Sanders but would also support Hillary Clinton if she were to win the nomination, many CCSU students are reluctant to give her their vote, even if it came down to choosing between Clinton or Donald Trump.

“I would want to vote because this year’s the first time I get to vote and I want my voice to be heard,” said Zoey Grant, 20, CCSU psychology major, explaining she would prefer to cast a write-in vote. “I don’t want to have to vote for someone just because I don’t want to vote for Donald Trump. I’m not just going to vote for someone because I don’t like the other person.”

Grant explained that she believes the university could be doing more to educate and encourage students to vote in the primary elections.

“I think the university in general needs to start doing stuff, maybe like holding parties for the primaries and really talking about it in classes because I think that’s really important, but I know so many people who don’t know what a primary is,” said Grant. “They don’t know anything about what the candidates have said. Most of these students are eligible to vote now, they should be aware of whom they’re voting for.”

In the midst of a Sanders-supportive campus environment, there are few at CCSU who would rather give their vote to Trump.

“I feel like a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters and pretty much all of the other supporters have a very negative view on the people who support Trump, not just Trump himself,” said Jason Coffin, 19, CCSU computer science major. “He’s not the typical politician. Ted Cruz has been a senator and done a bunch of useless things, whereas here’s a guy with real life executive experience and it’s like, how is this a hard choice?”

Coffin explained despite being the most controversial of the candidates, he feels as though the media builds up the negativity surrounding Trump.

“I’m the type of person that usually sees the news then goes, ‘what a bunch of lies.’ The media over blows things,” said Coffin. “They build a straw man against Trump, he’s racist, he’s all these things but he’s just not. Other countries build walls and they’re not racist. The arguments against Trump aren’t very logical they’re more emotional.”

Other than some outliers, many students give their support to Sanders, because they believe he will be able to provide the best, most cost effective educational options. Students tend to choose Sanders over Clinton mainly due to severed trust.

“I feel Hillary is very dubious,” said Paul Chowaniec, 24, CCSU communications major. “If it was between Hillary and Trump, maybe I would vote for Hillary because at least she has decent foreign relations and experience and credentials with that.”

According to David Perkarski, 26, CCSU sociology major, he’s giving his support to Sanders because he supports the working middle-class.

“I’m going to be a middle working class type person. With Bernie, he’s trying to keep people from falling out of the middle class. The biggest reason why I’m not supporting Senator Clinton besides Benghazi, is she’s outsourcing jobs. Bernie wants to keep jobs in America and has a good plan for students,” said Perkarski. “Given the two Democratic choices, I think Bernie is the way to go.”

So far for Republicans, Trump holds the lead with 743 delegates, Cruz with 545 and John Kasich with 143 with 854 still to be claimed before naming the GOP presidential nominee. For Democrats, Clinton is in the lead with 1,756 followed by Sanders with 1,068 with 1,941 delegates still to be won, according to AP.

The primary elections, when parties vote for who they want their presidential nominee to be, happening in Connecticut in a short two weeks will be closed elections. Meaning, if you’re a registered Independent, you must switch to either a Democrat affiliation if you wish to vote for Clinton or Sanders or a Republican affiliation if you plan to cast a vote for any of the GOP candidates. Voters have until primary day to make the change.

Contributed reporting by Taylor Jacobs.