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March 02, 1984 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-03-02
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The New Political Realists
While most students ignore Campaign '84, the dedicated learn their lessons.
L ong beforehetrooped toNew Hamp- dents is taking a pass on politics, a signifi- organization has more than doubled, from
shire in early January to campaign cant minority is working hard. While this 50,000to 125,000,infouryears. (TheDemo-
for Gary Hart, political-science ma- year's campus campaigners may not be as crats keep no comparable national tabs, but
jor Joel Berg had mastered a primary rule: mighty in number as those of 1968 and atBerkeley, wheretheradicalstudentmove-
wear two pairs of socks. As the Columbia 1972, neither are they as scarce as in 1976 ment of the'60s was born, Republicans now
sophomoresloggedthroughtheslushy third and 1980. The 1984 volunteer tends to be outnumber College Democrats 4-1.) Even
ward of Keene, N.H., one gray morning, he more practical than ideological, however. before Ronald Reagan announced for re-
had to weather some chilly welcomes. At his Many would agree with Janice Lyon, an election, the GOP had graduated 6,000 stu-
first stop, a middle-aged man sneered, "I'm American University sophomore, that cam- dents from campaign workshops. And con-
not voting for any of those shyster lawyers"; paigning adds "good experience" to a resu- servative students have inaugurated alter-
at his second, a woman declined to open the me. Some students earn credit for campaign native newspapers at places such as Iowa,
door. Finally, on his sixth try, a housewife internships or learn politicking in accredit- Dartmouth and the University of Miami.

Heralding Reagan re-election announcement in Washington, D.C.: GOP activity is slow, b

allowed as how she might consider Senator
Hart because "I'm worried about my daugh-
ter's future." Cheered by that faint promise,
the 19-year-old trudged on, gradually real-
izing that there is an important corollary to
his primary rule: sometimes, two pairs of
socks aren't enough.
Few students have proven quite so will-
ing to get their feet wet on the 1984 cam-
paign trail. Even now, with the presidential
primary and caucus season well under way,
most collegians remain inactive. Many ex-
press a fatalistic apathy. "I feel like even if I
could get into politics, I couldn't change
things," says Greg Bullard, an organic-
chemistry graduate student at the Universi-
ty of Oklahoma. "It's a waste of time. I'd
rather paint or play the guitar."
But if the vast majority of college stu-

ed campaign workshops like those at Amer-
ican, Florida State and Kent State. Many
take a nonpartisan tack, working to register
more student voters. When they do pick a
particular candidate, the choice is usually
hardheaded rather than starry-eyed. "If I
had my preference, I would have gone with
Mr. McGovern, but he started too late to
win," says Rodney Grandon, the Drake
coordinator for Walter Mondale. "Mr.
Mondale is a moderate with experience, and
those are very electable qualities."
The true believers are more likely to be
conservative than liberal. "Traditionally
the left on campuses has enjoyed tremen-
dous numerical support," says Jack Abram-
off, national chairman of the College Re-
publicans, "but now more conservatives are
willing to be active." Membership in his

ut the conservative voice is strong
Students are backing their favorites in a
variety of ways. Many toil at traditional
chores, distributing buttons, stuffing enve-
lopes and plastering posters on campus bul-
letin boards. But a few wield considerable
clout. "Somebody my age shouldn't be do-
ing what I'm doing," jokes 21-year-old
Mark Blumenthal, one of two University of
Michigan students who are coordinating
Hart's statewide campaign. At 22, Billy
Rogers directs Mondale's entire effort in
Texas, coordinating a statewide network of
1,200 volunteers. Rogers has taken a year's
leave from the University of Texas, and he
knowsre-entry willbetough. "It'shardtosit
in government class when you've got some
professor telling you how it is," he says.
With President Reagan running unop-
posed in the GOP, most early student cam-

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Help develop it at all levels of American education
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NEWSWEEK ON CAMPUS/MARCH 1984 A campaign by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education

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