In this edition of Focal Point, the director of MSU Museums is suspended for keeping his sources under wraps. Vice President MIke Pence visits Lansing and things are heating up in the Democrats. Michigan’s primary is on March 10, and we speak with Lansing’s city clerk to learn about voting in the primary.
The 2020 race for president is beginning as new candidates announce their bids. Candidates who have officially announced their candidacy bids include Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, California Senator Kamala Harris, who is the only African American woman in the running so far, and New Jersey Senator Corey Booker. It’s still early, more nominations will no doubt be coming. Will Joe Biden enter the race? Will Texas Senator Beto O’Rourke put his hat in the ring?
Story by Alexandra Donlin
Video by Natasha Blakely
MI First Election
Bernie Sanders, the candidate whose politics are most outside the mainstream, belongs to a group that has 43 chapters chapters nationwide. This group is the Democratic Socialists. For the younger crowd, there’s a specific group just for them: The Young Democratic Socialists. There are 24 chapters across the nation at high schools and colleges, including Michigan State University. The organization started in the early 2000s and was brought back to MSU’s campus this January.
Some Bernie Sanders supporters are so strongly for him that they say that if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, they will write in the the Vermont senator’s name on Nov. 8. Facebook pages are being created to plead with Sanders supporters to write the senator’s name on their ballot. People are circulating petitions to force the Bernie backing to swear they will write him in. Fred Woodhams is a spokesman for the Michigan Secretary of State, and he says writing-in a candidate in any election is unlikely to work.
As the campaign’s approach late March, the country begins to get an idea on who will be representing the Republican and Democratic parties. According to CNN.com, Hillary Clinton has almost double the number of delegates that Bernie Sanders has for the Democratic nomination, but his supporters continue to stick by the man they believe is best suited to run their country. Richard Vadasy is a first-time voter and he is sticking with Sanders. Vadasy said, “I personally agree with just about everything Bernie stands for. I’m not one of his ‘I want free college so I want him to win’ supporters, but I actually want him to win.”
“I consider myself a realist, so I know Bernie’s chances of winning are slim, no matter how much I support him.
EAST LANSING – People of every age, race and walk of life huddled together in the cold outside of Jack Breslin Student Event Center at Michigan State University on Wednesday. They had been queuing up since noon to see Bernie Sanders speak live there at 7 p.m.
Among them was Phillip Lamoureux, who paced up and down along the line, holding small pamphlets he created himself that detailed how a college student could obtain an absentee ballot before the Michigan presidential primary on March 8. “I’m out here trying to make sure that people get to vote for whoever they are voting for,” said Lansing resident Lamoureux. “If there’s ever a vote where they say that every vote counts, this one counts more in a sense. There’s a reason; it’s called proportional voting.
Millennial students are creating clubs to show their dedication to Bernie Sanders, such as the #FeelTheBern MSU group at Michigan State University. While older Democrats may favor Hillary Clinton as their prospective presidential candidate, a poll by NBC News in October 2015 shows that millennials are instead “feeling the Bern” with Bernie Sanders. The poll shows that 54 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 30 would choose to elect Sanders, outweighing Clinton’s 26 percent. “I think that millennials, because they’re young, are idealistic,” said Republican Merri Cullen, 60. “It’s probably one of the coolest ages to be, because you’ve got your whole life ahead of you and you haven’t been jaded yet.
The Michigan presidential primary is March 8, but so is Michigan State University’s spring break. Spring break for MSU runs from March 7 to the 11 with the presidential primary falling in the middle. Whether the timing of spring break will significantly impact the presidential primary remains to be seen, but Christian Gray, a 22-year-old senior majoring in political theory believes that the conflicting events will have a negative effect on voting. “A lot of students are going home or going on vacation,” said Gray, who is currently leaning toward Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. “That’s kind of where their focus is rather than, you know, playing a part as a voter.