Biden adviser Sheila Nix calls for unity in Democratic Party ahead of 2020 election


Source: Tusk Strategies

Sheila Nix. The former campaign manager for Joe Biden and current adviser for Biden’s 2020 campaign, spoke to students in Annenberg Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

Savannah Kelley, Reporter

Sheila Nix, former presidential campaign manager for Joe Biden and current adviser to his 2020 campaign, spoke about her career trajectory and gave insight into the upcoming presidential election at a talk Wednesday afternoon.

The event was hosted by SESP Professor and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, who arranged for Nix to speak to her class, “Women in American Political Leadership.” By hosting guest speakers like Nix, Rotering hopes to help college women see politics as a viable option, “either as a hobby or as a career.” In comparison to men, Rotering said, fewer college women consider running for office.

“Something happens when they come to college, and men still feel that that’s something they can do,” Rotering said. “And women, for whatever reason, step back and think, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t be considering running for office in the future.’ My goal is to change that.”

Nix’s career path was not a straightforward one. Her major was accounting in college but she ended up going to law school and later worked for a law firm. Eventually, she made the switch to political campaigns, taking what she described as a “66 percent pay cut.”

She urged students not to base their career choices solely on money, but to also take their own happiness into account. While working at a law firm, Nix saw that her coworkers sacrificed their happiness for the sake of money.

“They didn’t always seem happy, but they had a nice house and a nice car, and they took an amazing two-week vacation every year,” she said. “I would rather be happy going to work even if I didn’t have those other things.”

While discussing campaign strategies for the 2020 presidential election, Nix emphasized the need for unity within the Democratic Party, asking students how they would decide between the 23 Democratic candidates.

Regardless of which candidate wins the primary, Nix said, it’s important for Democrats to support them.

“We have to band together, no matter who it is,” she said. “If it’s your third choice that wins, you have to root for them. Sometimes that’s hard after a hard-fought primary, but I think it’s vitally important.”

She said voters should not impose so-called “purity tests” on Democratic candidates, or hold them to impossibly high standards. She added that President Donald Trump is “very effective” at creating dissent within the Democratic Party.

“He wants everyone hating each other at the end of the process, because then you’re not unified against him,” she said.

Romie Drori, president of NU College Democrats, said she would make her decision based on whether she agrees with a candidate’s policies, rather than focusing on how they are covered in the news.

Before the event ended, Nix addressed the accusations of Biden acting inappropriately toward women, including his female staffers, which have caused him to lose support from some voters. Since joining his campaign in 2012, Nix has seen Biden as a “supportive” person who treats women in his staff well, she said.

Nix acknowledged that she was speaking from her own personal experience, which “might differ from somebody else’s.”

“He’s now, I think, trying to be more cognizant that not everybody wants hugs,” Nix said.

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A previous version of this article misattributed a quote to Sheila Nix. Nancy Rotering said women come to college and decide not to take positions in political office in the future. The Daily regrets the error.