Opinion: Student commitment and enthusiasm on caucus night is encouraging

UI students showed great dedication to their political efforts, which is reassuring despite the messy caucus results.


Megan Nagorzanski

University of Iowa students form lines during the caucus at the Iowa Memorial Union on Feb. 3.

Taylor Newby, Contributor

Thousands of Iowans rallied together in support of presidential hopefuls during Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses on Monday. Across the state, thousands of classrooms, libraries and gyms were crowded with locals pulling for the candidate they trust the most with the Democratic presidential nomination.

Among those who caucused, college students’ political voices prevailed. In the weeks leading up to Monday night, the effort exhausted in preparation for caucus night was exemplary — especially on the University of Iowa campus.

Campaign affiliates lined the T. Anne Cleary walkway and perched on the Pentacrest, offering to talk with students about their perspectives on President Trump and Democratic presidential-nomination candidates.

Flyers explaining what the caucuses are and how to get involved were doled out in excess to any student or Iowa City resident who would accept them, explaining different candidates and their stances on topics such as health care, higher education, and more.

And though many campaign affiliates had different opinions on who should be our next president, each found a common purpose preceding the caucuses: to get as many people to show up and contribute to the conversation as possible.

U.S. Census Bureau data show young voter turnout, referring to people between ages 18 and 29, saw an astounding increase for midterm elections. From 2014 to 2018, young voter turnout saw a 16 percent increase from 2014 to 2018, reaching a decade high.

The commitment UI students have maintained to helping and supporting presidential nominees has been unparalleled and should be something we encourage as a community.

The opportunity to contribute to our state’s renown political platform is one that cannot be underplayed or overlooked, especially on a campus such as Iowa’s — where candidates have made stopping in Iowa City a priority on their campaign trails. Even as recently as Monday, businessman Andrew Yang stopped in Iowa City to make one last pitch to potential caucusgoers in the Democratic stronghold of Johnson County, where some students were still on the fence about which candidate to support.

For those who weren’t on the fence, caucus night was imperative for promoting their presidential hopeful. And in order to be well-prepared, students contributed to campaigns no matter the cost. Some students helped financially. According to the Federal Election Commission, students across the country gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to campaigns.

For other students, they offered their support, exhausting effort and spending time handing out flyers, sending out emails to the masses, educating their peers, or knocking on doors to have conversations with other locals.

Though difficulties have kept results delayed and limited, the commitment UI students have maintained to helping and supporting presidential nominees has been unparalleled and should be something we encourage as a community.

The urgency to contribute to our country’s current political climate is evident, and UI students have made their awareness of that unmistakably clear. The way our community has strived for involvement in the political conversation is imperative to unifying communities and strengthening our country. 

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.