With just weeks left until Election Day, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s College Democrats and College Republicans are preparing and engaging students in politics.
While discussing the missions of the College Democrats, President Chris Russert said, “We are living in a world in which things are obviously not equal or fair, so we strive to engage and bring college students into the political process to make positive change in our communities.”
Russert also noted that, although wrestling with the COVID-19 global pandemic and how the pandemic has shined light on inequalities that exist in our profit-driven healthcare system, issues of police brutality among communities of color have become precarious.
Along with voter engagement, the College Democrats also strive to provide a space in which students with similar values can talk about politics and social issues. They get involved with community organizations such as the Black Student’s Lives Matter Rally at Mankato East High School and the annual LGBTQ Pride event downtown.
The Democratic Party tends to support a socialized healthcare system, a decrease in military spending, higher taxes for high-income earners, reproductive rights and funding for Planned Parenthood, workers’ rights, a path for a more humane and fair immigration system, more funds for public education and support for same-sex marriage.
On campus, there are many activities the members participate in. From the most recent meeting, the minutes include a plan to continue their showing of political movies in the Ostrander Auditorium in order to spur political conversations. There are also buttons they are selling to raise awareness of the campus organization and to bring new people to the meetings.
One larger policy the college is working on is improved mental health services for students on campus. This will allow for more educated conversations about mental health and provide a safe environment for all students.
For students interested, College Democrats meet on Thursdays at 7 p.m. via Zoom. In order to attend, you can email President Russert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the College Republican side, organization President Noah LaSalvia and Vice President Alex Vicaire said, “For this year’s election, some of the issues that we are concerned about are preserving the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment. It is also important to get the economy back to how well President Trump had it before the pandemic.”
LaSalvia and Vicaire also noted that the political climate today is “fractured,” and that there was a big divide between Democrats and Republicans. In regard to the COVID-19 global pandemic, La Salvia and Vicaire argued that the government shouldn’t be mandating masks, and that should be left up to individual businesses and people to decide.
The College Republicans strive to register voters in both a partisan and a bipartisan approach. They host weekly meetings and debate parties for students. Their meetings are also a place in which students with similar values can talk about politics and social issues.
The Republican party tends to support a privatized healthcare system, an increase in military spending, lower taxes in general, and they tend to oppose access to abortion and support defunding Planned Parenthood. Republicans support increased border security and oppose amnesty for undocumented immigrants. They also argue that increased government regulations curtail free market capitalism, which doesn’t allow for job growth.
According to the MNSU College Republicans’ Facebook page, there are still events to be planned for the upcoming school year, but to worry not, they will be posted as soon as they are finalized.
For students who are interested, College Republicans meet on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in CSU 238.