A Day in the Life of a Volunteer for a Presidential Candidate
November 3, 2016
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With election season nearing its end, both campaigns’ ground games are more important than ever. The people behind the scenes, the volunteers, are crucial to the success of the candidates.
On Wednesday, Oct. 25, Senator Tim Kaine spoke at Bucks. Outside the event several volunteers, decorated in various Hillary Clinton and Democrat candidate pins, waited happily with their clip boards to sign people in.
As one of the described volunteers, I had the incredible opportunity to meet a variety of people who enthusiastically took time out of their day to help campaign. The amount of time each volunteer had spent with the campaign ranged from beginners, like myself, to people that have been heavily involved since August.
One story was mind bogglingly admirable, Sharon Hallanan’s. Hallanan worked in New Jersey’s state judiciary sector for 30 years, and opted to take early retirement in order to volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
She had to take her early retirement because, by law, state workers are not allowed to take place in partisan political events. She retired on Sept. 1 and began volunteering in Pennsylvania the same day. She came across the river because she realized how important Pennsylvania is to this election. “I have a young daughter, and I couldn’t just sit quiet during this election, and let him win,” Hallanan said, referring to Trump.
Another great volunteer I had the pleasure of meeting was Leo West, a Bucks graduate who currently attends Temple. West has been working for the campaign since August as a field intern. His responsibilities include not only going door to door and making phone calls, but recruiting and training other volunteers.
“Hillary is a great candidate. I am aligned with many of her policies. Being gay, it was very important to me to have a president that represented the LGBT community,” he said.
While many of the volunteers were there because of their deep respect and admiration for Hillary, there were some who were there because of the alternative candidate. Mario da Cruz, a Doylestown resident, recently started to volunteer for the campaign. He has been to a few events in the last couple weeks. “The stakes have never been higher for an election, if you look at Trump as an alternative, it’s a disaster,” he said.
The organizers asked volunteers to walk around and remind students that Senator Kaine was on campus and that it was free admission. I volunteered to do this because I’m a Bucks student, and the results of my time walking around campus were disturbing.
A large number of people I talked to were too busy to attend because of classes. But about 20-30 people I told about Tim Kaine asked me “Who?”. After the first few I thought they were joking, as this trend continued, I slowly realized that people truly don’t know who Vice Presidential candidate is.
After returning from my depressing walk around campus and signing in a few more people, I was finally able to get into the event to see Senator Kaine and the opening speakers. As I looked around the crowd of what I would guess to be about 150-200 people I hardly noticed any students. If I had to guess there were about 20 people who looked like students scattered amongst the crowd.
I understand people not being interested in going to a political speaking event, but for the sake of our democracy, I hope dearly that this does not represent the enthusiasm of our peers to vote. I hear a lot of people saying they aren’t really excited about either candidate, which I fully understand, but we don’t only vote for the President, there are state and local politicians on the ticket as well. So please, exercise your right to vote on the eighth and realize how lucky we are to live in a democratic society.