2008 Election Issues at IUB

Indiana University

By Lauren Stanley
By Lauren Stanley
Unigo Campus Rep at Indiana University
Oct. 30, 2008

“Have you voted yet?”

This currently popular phrase is not one that people would expect to hear in the week prior to a presidential election, but with an expected one third of all votes this year being done by early voters, it seems to be echoing across the Indiana University campus.

The tendency to cast early votes comes with strong support for issues concerning this election, with the economy and national security being among the most popular.

Democratic interns and volunteers have been working diligently across campus, promoting early voting with shuttles, free posters, and fliers.

“We care so much about our candidate and are just trying to get him elected,” said Kelly Cochran, a junior majoring in journalism and interdepartmental political science and philosophy, and a volunteer for the Campaign for Change. “I’ve been working at least three or four days a week to make sure that happens.”

With materials provided by the Campaign for Change office in downtown Bloomington as well as Obama offices across the state, many IU College Democrats have been given the opportunity to help promote their candidate, while the smaller and less represented Students for McCain tend to be less present on campus.

“This is the first time a democratic candidate has campaigned so hard in Indiana, and I think that has a lot to do with our prevalence at IU,” said Cochran.

That Indiana is shaping up to be a battleground state is proving to be beneficial for organizations such as the Student Alliance for National Security (SANS), who used the state’s toss-up status to get important campaign representatives to participate in a debate on energy security.

“We were able to get some good and knowledgeable representatives for the debate, as well as fly in Jordan’s Ambassador to the U.S.,” said Miles Taylor, a junior majoring in international security, political science and economics, and the director of SANS. “People really left that talk understanding the gravity of how the next American president is going to affect policies in the Middle East and evoke change in that region.”

By hosting these debates and speakers, SANS has attempted to reach out and inform students on what they find to be important in this election.

With energy security, various international security issues in regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the state of the economy being what Taylor feels are the most important and decisive issues of this election, he is striving “to make sure that students are aware of these issues when going to cast a ballot.”

SANS, a non-partisan organization with most of its members informally tending to lean left, is expecting that “in this election cycle, it’s more likely than not that the majority of our members will vote for Obama,” said Taylor.

Women’s issues are another important aspect of this election to some students, with abortion and equality between men and women being some of the most importance to Cochran.

In past elections, personal values such as abortion and equality between the sexes have played a major part in deciding the highlighted issues, the current financial state of the country as well as the war have placed the economy and foreign affairs in the foreground.

“I think that with such financial turmoil and what seems to be an unending war on our hands, we need to set aside the usual battle over values and personal opinions and focus on what needs to be done in order to save our country,” said Heather Brogden, a sophomore majoring in journalism and Spanish.

Brogden, among other students, hopes that whichever candidate is elected will have the ability to take on such difficult tasks in such a difficult time.

Leonard Downey, a former editor for the Washington Post, addressed the current election in his speech at IU Tuesday night, crediting the excitement of this election to its timing at a point where the country is in need of a change.

“The war, financial crisis, terrorism, the aging of the Baby Boomers, the Eco Boomers coming of age, and climate change are incredibly important topics that have taken time to evolve, but are now facing us,” said Downey. “Crucial decisions of all of them will soon face a new president.”