With the presidential election looming and the polls tightening in key states, the Democrats of the Claremont Colleges have made a concerted effort to campaign for President Barack Obama in the hotly contested state of Nevada.
Representatives from the group have spent two weekends in Las Vegas over the course of the semester, during which they have tried to register Nevadans to vote and to rally support for the president.
“When you want to do work on the ground for the Obama campaign, there’s not much you can do in the immediate California area, considering California’s history as a blue state,” said Kyle Tanguay CM ’15, who went on both trips. “In the Electoral College, we’re a given, and considering the fact that the presidential race is won and lost by the basis of battleground states, we felt we could be more effective by going into a battleground state.”
Four students from the group went on each trip.
“I think both trips we had were very successful for the amount of volunteers that went out,” Tanguay said. “College kids are busy and college kids value their weekends, but I think we’ve done well with the turnout we’ve had.”
The process of registering people to vote holds special significance for Lucas Brooks CM ’16, who will narrowly miss the opportunity to vote for the first time next month.
“I’m 17 years old, and I’ll miss the election by 12 days,” Brooks said. “The right to vote is really important to me. My parents are also both immigrants, and in America you always want to make sure that people have the chance to have their voice heard.”
Brooks, who went on the earlier trip the weekend of Sept. 29, registered approximately 10 people to vote while in Las Vegas.
“Most people I talked with in Nevada are supporting President Obama, but that’s not necessarily representative of the entire state,” Brooks said. “I think the support for Obama is not necessarily energetic, so the more people that we register, the more likely President Obama is to win.”
Although recent polls on RealClearPolitics.com have shown that the president seems to have a narrow lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Nevada, Tanguay said that the state is still a toss-up.
“I think Nevada really merits the title of ‘battleground state,’” Tanguay said. “The urban areas lean liberal a little bit, but rural areas are leaning a little bit more conservative. Just from what I’ve seen on the street, I wouldn’t be able to determine which way it will go. It could go either way.”