Illustration by Rachel Buigas-Lopez
In a state famous for its low voter turnout, more voters than ever before took to the polls in New York state’s primary election this past Thursday. This unprecedented enthusiasm has sparked the hopes of NYU’s College Democrats and Republicans, who both aim for the peak in interest to carry through to upcoming elections.
With Republicans currently holding control of Congress and the Presidency, Democrats will need to win back either the House of Representatives or the Senate to push their agenda over that of the Trump campaign.CAS sophomore and Secretary of NYU College Democrats Arman Becan hopes for a blue wave in this year’s elections.
“Midterms are potentially a referendum against Donald Trump,” Becan told WSN. “By voting for Democrats, you’re providing accountability. If you vote for the Democrat ticket, you will be able to know more about what’s going on inside the Trump White House and the executive branch.”
Becan considers this widespread enthusiasm to be promising for the midterm elections.
“We’ve seen an increase in voter turnout, which seems to be a constant thread throughout this year,” Becan said. “We’re very excited. We think that this turnout will further drive Democrats to be elected.”
On the other side of the political spectrum, CAS sophomore and Vice President of NYU College Republicans Bennett Kauffman is concerned that his group will not have much sway over New York’s Democratic-leaning policies.
“We’re obviously going to be following the races closely and encouraging our members to help however they can, but organizing for conservative politics in New York is always difficult,” Kauffman said in an email to WSN. “Our main focus is growing our presence on campus.”
Speaking to goals of Republicans in general, Kauffman said that just as the Democrats wish to gain one chamber of Congress, Republicans wish to keep both.
“From a Republican perspective, the most important thing is to keep control of both houses of Congress,” Kauffman said. “The way both parties are behaving right now doesn’t give me any hope that a split Congress could function.”
Ethan Ansorge, a CAS sophomore and political director of the College Democrats, believes Trump’s election set in motion the rapidly growing Democratic fervor around the country and right here on campus.
“The enthusiasm that Democrats have had is all because of Donald Trump,” Ansorge told WSN. “He’s sparked a renewed interest among young people. I think particularly, we’ve seen more young [NYU College Democrat] members come to our meetings since the election.”
The College Democrats are focused on swelling their blue wave to be as large as possible. In a few weeks, they will be holding phone banking sessions for a few different candidates. For example, they will be focusing on Democrat Antonio Delgado, who is running against Republican incumbent John Faso in New York’s 19th congressional district in one of the most highly contested House races in the state.
While College Republicans are focused on maintaining their majority in Congress this year, they are also looking ahead to the bigger picture of their party’s — and club’s — survival. After the disruption of conservative speaker Gavin McInnes’ appearance on campus last year, College Republicans remain on the defensive.
“Hopefully we don’t get shut down, that sentiment is certainly here, in New York University and in New York City in general,” CAS junior and NYUCR Treasurer Paulo Alvarez said. “That’s the thing with being in a minority culture, I suppose, you are sort of threatened on all sides and that can be a sign for everyone else to tear you apart.”
If there is one thing both NYU College Democrats and Republicans agree on, it’s that Americans need to vote en masse in the upcoming midterm elections.
“NYU students should pay attention to the midterms and be sure to vote,” Kauffman said.
Email Mansee Khurana and Jared Peraglia at [email protected]