Although the 10-week term can get busy, I do make an effort to attend events that candidates host on campus. These are immensely valuable to all students, regardless of political affiliation. Students who lean right should go out and see Democrats, just like students who lean left should go out and see Republicans. In such a polarized political climate, we should be making every effort to listen to what the other side of the aisle has to say, instead of dismissing it as white noise. Campaign events are the perfect venue for such dialogue. Likewise, events on campus are a great way to get past the talking heads that populate the political arena. By attending, we have the opportunity to judge candidates for ourselves instead of relying on outside analysis. We can ask questions and think critically about candidates’ responses. To an extent, we get to set the agenda. With the New Hampshire primary quickly approaching, this is a chance that no Dartmouth student should pass up.
-Sarah Perez ’17, Opinion Editor
I try my best to attend the on-campus events held by candidates, but I find them to be unhelpful in informing my voting for a very basic reason: I never get in. Due to limited space in venues and the high demand surrounding meeting public figures people like me, who have not made up their mind on which way they will cast their ballot, usually get squeezed out of candidate-held events. Fervid supporters of candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders seem to be willing to arrive hours before doors open in order to ensure themselves a spot. This leads to a problem: the price of waiting two to four hours in line is often too high for the everyday voter who has yet to make up his or her mind. And, because of this, the presenting candidate often addresses a crowd of loyal supporters rather than reaching the people who hold the votes that are still there to be won.
-Ben Szuhaj ’19
I do attend some candidates’ events on campus, but I do it more out of support for the candidate or pure entertainment value rather than to learn about the candidates’ policies. At this point in the cycle, I’ve already heard a lot about the various platforms and most events don’t present a lot of new information. However, it’s always exciting to experience a candidate engaging with voters, especially young voters.
-Michelle Gil ’16
I attended Bernie Sanders’ town hall last week. As much as I enjoy standing for hours outside the Hopkins Center in subzero temperatures, the thrill lies in seeing a potential future president speak and defend his stance in real time. Although many Dartmouth students attend these events, I did see a large showing of people from across the Upper Valley. Dartmouth’s facilities and New Hampshire’s significance in the primaries give us unique access to candidates. I enjoyed hearing Bernie speak but I wish we had more time to ask him questions. Even though efforts were made to answer as many questions as possible, I felt that more Upper Valley citizens had a say in the town hall than actual Dartmouth students. Nevertheless, it is very exciting to be at Dartmouth during an election year as the young adult demographic becomes increasingly important, and New Hampshire continues to carry political significance.
-Hansa Sharma ’19