To Caucus

Lauren Casella - Executive Editor

Lauren Casella – Executive Editor

February welcomes the arrival of Punxsutawney Phil looking for his shadow, aisles upon aisles of Valentine’s Day candy and oversized stuffed animals and the long weekend celebration of Presidents’ Day. However, this year your February holidays should also include February 1 – Caucus Day. This past weekend Iowa was overrun with presidential candidates campaigning to remind the Iowa constituency of their ideological stances on the hot button issues of this election. Iowa caucuses kick off the election season as the parties seek to come closer to

determining who their nominees will be for presidential candidate.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard murmurs about the upcoming 2016 election. Whether it’s that one Facebook friend who constantly posts about Hillary and her shattering of the glass ceiling or the many pop culture allusions to “mak[ing] America great again,” the 2016 election might be one of the most talked about races in our lifetimes. Social media and the advent of digital communications allow politics to shine on a new platform. Even your Snapchat feed is not free from a sponsored live feed of campaign rallies or party debates – this week you might have noticed the Live Feed for the Iowa Caucuses featured on the disappearing-image application. This year’s candidates have embraced this technology joining millenials on Snapchat as they seek to reach new audiences and engage with more Americans than ever before. With so many new avenues of access to information about the political campaigns, it is downright foolish to be ignorant of the events happening in this election.

You don’t need to be an avid daily reader of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal to follow some of the fundamental news and occurrences of this election cycle. Watch the cold open of Saturday Night Live and laugh at the sheer brilliance of Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton or enjoy Darrell Hammond as Donald Trump. Read TheSkimm’s summaries of party debates. Follow news outlets or candidates on Instagram. Or even pick up the commentary section of your very own Maroon-News for insight into the events!

There is no shortage of ways to be an informed student of the liberal arts with an awareness of the race to the White House.

So what do you need to know?

Democrats and Republicans met on Monday, February 1. Democrats cast their votes on secret ballots upon arrival to the caucus, indicating who they think should be the nominee for their party. Republicans, however, do things a little differently. They are allowed to have a representative speak on the candidate’s behalf one final time before Republican caucus-goers cast their votes in large assembly halls and public forums.

The Iowa caucuses are noted for revealing to the country what the most impassioned Iowan voters are thinking about the options for presidential candidate. Noted for its ability to winnow the field of candidates, this year’s caucuses saw the suspension of several Democratic and Republican campaigns. The caucuses are a first indication of what candidates are gaining traction and favor with voters as the election cycle begins.

Our country is facing a time of transition and change in its leadership. As Julia and Spencer noted in last week’s editor’s column, we seniors too are facing our own time of transition and evolution as we grapple with our last semesters in our ivory tower of intellectualism and face becoming members of the daunting “real world.” The work force we are about to join is not shielded from the effects of this election cycle like our beloved Colgate bubble sometimes seems to be. Colgate has challenged us to learn how to be global citizens. It is time we begin applying that skill to the communities we are about to enter – it is time to be informed and knowledgeable about the world we are inheriting for the future. Colgate’s mission and the purpose of the university is “to develop wise, thoughtful, critical thinkers and perceptive leaders by challenging young men and women to fulfill their potential.” After seven semesters on this campus honing our analytical skills it is time we turn our gaze outward and watch the events of this campaign cycle unfold. So, pick up the newspaper, scroll through your Snapchat feed, turn on your television. While most second-semester seniors relish the thought of leaving our liberal arts haven, reality is at our doorstep and it’s time we become engaged and informed members of our political environments.