College Democrats Hosts Zoom Rally For Local Democratic Candidates

The College Democrats organized a virtual rally over Zoom for five Democrats up for election or reelection in Upstate New York on Tuesday, Sept. 22. The rally welcomed Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 19th District of New York Antonio Delgado ’99, New York State Senator for the 53th District Rachel May, candidate for the New York State Senate for 51st District Jim Barber, candidate for New York State Senate for the 46th District Michelle Hinchey and candidate for New York’s 121st District Assembly Dan Butterman. 

Students from Colgate, as well as Binghamton University, Cazenovia College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges joined the rally to hear about the candidates’ platforms and backgrounds. College Democrats President and junior Reed Cleland is on the state executive committee of College Democrats of New York as the Alleghany Regional Chair. He has been organizing this rally for the past six weeks as a way for college students to interact with the local Democratic Party and get to know the candidates Colgate Democrats endorsed in the Novemver election.

Cleland said that although the pandemic has changed the election season for everyone, there are upsides to a virtual format.

“The virtual format was actually what allowed us to have five candidates ‘at Colgate’ at the same time. It would have been next to impossible to get them all there in person, given their busy campaign schedules,” Cleland said.

College Democrats Campaigns Committee co-chair and sophomore Bryn Luedde explained how the virtual format of the rally increased its reach.

“On Tuesday, we had attendees from multiple colleges in the region as well as Hamilton residents, and this mix of people would have never come together if it wasn’t a virtual event. I think that the COVID-19 pandemic is definitely going to change how we host events in the future, and, hopefully, participating in politics and interacting with our representatives will become more accessible to people through more virtual events,” Luedde said.

Student organizers, attendees and the candidates all touched upon the importance of involvement in the political experience. Speaking to his history, Delgado emphasized how crucial the upcoming election is.

“[This election] is not about [Joe] Biden; it is about our democracy and our history … people die for the vote,” Delgado said.
Sophomore Zoe O’Bryon attended the rally specifically to hear Congressman Delgado speak, and resonated greatly with his sentiment on Biden.

“I loved what Congressman Delgado said about the importance of this election, which was that while Joe Biden is certainly not the perfect candidate, which nearly no one is, with an election this crucial there is no room for us to be picky; progress is progress. This is why it is so important for young people to be politically active and vote like our lives depend on it,” O’Bryon said.

Attendee sophomore Annabel Morris expressed a similar sentiment, emphasizing the importance of democratic participation. 

“It is very critical for young people to be politically active because it is our futures we are fighting for. I think a lot of college students don’t understand the severity of this election, and this is truly dangerous because it really will affect the rest of our lives. It seems unacceptable to me in this era, and at the age we are now, to be apolitical or not to have an opinion,” Morris said.

The Colgate Democrats host phone banks for local candidates every Friday night and are holding a town hall for Congressman Brindisi, who is also up for reelection in NY-22, on Tuesday, Oct. 6.