U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky visits College Democrats phone banking for Hillary Clinton


Sam Krevlin/Daily Senior Staffer

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) speaks to students about the effect of voting for a third party candidate in the upcoming presidential election. She urged students and faculty to support Hillary Clinton by continuing frequent phone banking and making a personal impact on undecided voters.

Sam Krevlin, Reporter

With fewer than four weeks until the presidential election, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) visited the College Democrats on Thursday to encourage students phone banking for Hillary Clinton and to discourage students from voting for a third party.

Schakowsky — who represents Illinois’ 9th district in Congress — said this election is the most consequential in her lifetime, and grassroots advocacy to mobilize the vote will be the deciding factor.

Schakowsky said the Clinton campaign has done a better job recruiting volunteers that make personal contact, make phone calls and knock on doors than her opponent, Donald Trump.

“We are never going to match them dollar for dollar unless we get rid of Citizens United,” Schakowsky said. “But we can outmatch them (with volunteers).”

But Schakowsky did say she worries some millennials will vote for third-party candidates such as Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. She said the election of George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000, when Ralph Nader ran as a Green Party candidate, is the perfect example of how a third-party candidate can change trajectory of the country. The election of Gore, Schakowsky said, would have resulted in a better America with progress in climate change and without an Iraq war.

“That is a vote for Trump,” Schakowsky said of voting for a third-party candidate. “This is a choice between two people, and the consequences are too grave to vote third-party.”

Bryan Lee, an executive board member for College Democrats, also stressed the importance of voting for Clinton over a third-party candidate. He pointed out college students as a demographic are more likely to vote third party than any other demographic.

“The most important thing is that millennials vote for Hillary and not a third-party candidate,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “We don’t want to go to bed voting for Gary Johnson and waking up tomorrow to president Donald Trump.”

Schakowsky mentioned the recent recording published by the Washington Post that included lewd comments about women, which Trump defended as “locker room talk.” Schakowsky said it took her back to when she was an organizer and felt sexually violated by a major leader of a union she was trying to recruit. She said just talking about it makes her uncomfortable, and she feels there are hardly any women who haven’t experienced a similar interaction.

Trump’s language and actions, Schakowsky said, make him unfit to serve. Although Schakowsky acknowledges that Trump supporters are hurting, she doesn’t believe Trump is fit to solve their problems. She said talking with civility isn’t something candidates should “just throw out the window.”

“The economy hasn’t worked for (Trump supporters), and they feel like no one hears them,” Schakowsky said. “They feel turning the whole thing upside down will somehow be helpful. Unfortunately, with Donald Trump, those are the exact people he has stepped on like ants his entire life.”

College Democrat co-president Sydney Selix, who interned in Schakowsky’s office in 2015, said Schakowsky’s visit showed the importance of voting down the ballot. Selix, a SESP senior, said College Democrats will work tirelessly in the upcoming weeks to support U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth in her race against U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. Phone banking, Selix said, ensures that students are doing everything they can to secure victories for Democrats.

“How many people do you know on campus that has shared an article about how horrific Trump is?” Selix said. “Most of us have. So this is the way to actually do something about that.”

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