Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Primary Apathy? Get Re-Energized. Midterms Are a B.F.D.

Last Saturday about twenty Hoosiers gathered under a sanctuary in the arboretum, listening to our “feel-good-America-mix” (yes, lots of Springsteen and Mellencamp) in terrible weather. While we were standing outside, eating pizza and trying to recruit new Democrats who needed a distraction as they passed by us on their way to the library, we saw a red car pull up on the side of the road. Out walked our rock star congressman, Baron Hill. All twenty of us clapped wildly as he came over and chatted with his squad of liberals at IU.

The one message that prevails every time we talk with Baron Hill is that he’s so grateful for college student enthusiasm. He mentions the struggle ahead, which we all know will be tough in the 9th district. Students for Baron Hill and IU Democrats have teamed up over the past few weeks, phone banking to get people out for Baron in the primary. Every phonebank, we find ourselves dealing with people who are disgruntled with the economy or the healthcare bill or any other “socialist” claim that you can imagine.

 Last week a woman yelled at me, “KELLY. I WANT A POLITICIAN WHO ISN’T FULL OF ****. I WANT SOMEONE WHO IS WORKING TO CREATE JOBS, WHO WILL MAKE AMERICA SAFE, WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY. CAN BARON DO THAT?!” I spent 15 minutes on the phone with this woman, talking her off the about-to-vote-GOP-ledge. All that she needed was health care and a few pieces of legislation explained to her clearly. At the end of the call, she told me, “Kelly, tell Baron he has my vote. And I’m keeping him in my prayers.”

I may be a tad sappy, but it really motivated me and got me excited for midterms. The phone calls, the pamphlets, the GOTV efforts matter. On Saturday, after our group finished talking to Baron, we went down to the Curry Building for early voting. The one reoccurring thing that we heard from the poll workers, “Thank you. Young people just aren’t coming out this year.”

Two years ago, I was a freshman waiting in an hour long line to early vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary. I told my dad he couldn’t take me home for summer break until I voted, and I stood in line with countless other college students who were fired up about the election. While I realize that 2008 was an exceptionally exciting year, I can’t help but be a little disappointed in the apathy of college students with midterm elections.

There is NOTHING to be lazy about. In the 9th district, we’re about to face our most challenging congressional race yet: Baron Hill versus Todd Young. While Bloomington is a liberal oasis, the other parts of our district certainly are not. For the Senate we’re looking at Ellsworth versus Coats. Ellsworth, from southern Indiana, has little name recognition in the North. The challenges ahead are steep and with the eyes of the nation looking to Indiana and the 9th district as an indicator of the political pulse of the country, we need to rally.

I beg of you to gather the enthusiasm you had in 2008 and bring it to 2010. Make the phone calls. Knock the doors. Stand on the street corners. Pass out the information. Register the voters. We can hold our spot in the Senate. We can prove that Indiana is becoming more and more progressive. We absolutely, positively, are capable of winning these tight races.

2010 is a time to show that we are still strong with the youth influence in politics. Don’t get lazy. Midterms are a B.F.D!


ShamRockNRoll said...

Excellent post Kelly!

Rabi Abonour said...

Yeah Kelly! IU Dems represent.

Great post. This is going to be a crazy couple months. It is going to be hard to get people motivated in for midterms, but I am keeping the faith.

Kelly Smith said...

Rabi, it's going to be difficult, but we're going to do it! Our combination of newbies (like you, babs and sarah) along with our kids who worked their asses off in 2008 are going to make it happen.

and i love that we're going to face todd young. The IU CRs hate him, he's from Bloomington, and sodrel supporters are disgusted with how he acted pre-primary. I'm pumped to take him down.

It's gonna be a fun 6 months :)