Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Student campaigns arrive on campus

After three years, the campaign trail has arrived. Speeches, rallies, signs and ribbons of red, white and blue are filling political agendas as the 2004 presidential campaign begins.

The University of Wisconsin is becoming a hot spot for candidate visits and student campaigning.

In the past few weeks, three Democratic hopefuls have visited Madison and the UW campus to rally support for their campaigns, and two other candidates, including Republican President Bush, went to Milwaukee for fund-raising events.


Wisconsin has become a crucial state in the presidential campaign because the state primary was moved to an earlier, and therefore more crucial, date — Feb. 17. The direction voters sway on this date could play a decisive role in who will be the next president of the United States.

Student political groups have recognized their part in the election and are beginning to organize and campaign on campus.

“I’m a senior, and I really wish I could be on campus [during the election]. I think this campus will be very active,” Ryan Grady, chair of the College Democrats, said.

This election is probably the most important for his generation, he added.

Besides the college Republican and Democratic organizations, there are currently five campaign groups registered at UW.

All the Democratic subgroups are working toward name recognition to gain support for their candidates through chalking up Bascom Hill and sidewalks, setting up information tables on Library Mall, holding weekly meetings and passing out political literature in classrooms. The Students for Kucinich group is also trying to plan a debate between the four campus campaign groups.

Although most of the student campaign workers have said now is a crucial time to be campaigning, next semester will see a great escalation in motivating students to get involved and choose a candidate.

“It’s very crucial to begin campaigning now, especially for us, because our candidate entered the race late,” Students for Clark co-coordinator Amy Schultz said. “But I think all the student groups are working toward a greater goal — removing Bush from office.”

Frank Harris, chair of the College Republicans, said there is not much planned right now for the campus Republican Party, but they did hold a kickoff meeting at Bullfeathers Wednesday night.

“We’re going to be getting more and more active, particularly next semester,” Harris said. “Next semester people are going to be more motivated.”

If the campaign events draw a big enough crowd, College Republicans will congregate and protest the Democrats, Harris added.

“But my philosophy is to let the Democrats beat up on and protest each other,” Harris said.

Clashes between the two major political parties in the United States and the question of which candidate has the most support extended to the realm of the youngest voters in the nation in a recent survey conducted by the Harvard University Institute of Politics. The study showed that 61 percent of college students approve of Bush’s job performance, and 66 percent said they trust the president as much today as they did a year ago.

“I’m not surprised,” Harris said. “Especially after 9/11, people are looking for a leader.”

However, Democratic students disagreed with the findings. Grady said the UW campus has traditionally been liberal. He added that he thinks only about 45 percent of its students are Republicans.

“And I’m being generous,” Grady said. “If [college students] do [support Republicans], in my opinion at least, it’s because they haven’t been paying attention to the issues.”

Shira Roza, a member of Students for Dean, agreed.

“I feel like if students inform themselves more on the issues, they wouldn’t support Bush,” Roza said.

The poll of 1,202 students was conducted nationwide earlier this month.

President Bush is the only Republican candidate on the docket right now. However, there are nine presidential candidates running for the Democratic Party nomination: Howard Dean, John Kerry, Dick Gephardt, John Edwards, Wesley Clark, Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley Braun and Joe Lieberman.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *