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February 29, 1988 - Image 42

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-02-29

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On the
In New Hampshire,
drudge work offers
credit and experience
n the historic New Hampshire prima-
ry of 1968, college students went
Clean for Gene, trooping through the
snowbanks to stop the Vietnam War,
and every fourth year since, students
have migrated to New Hampshire for the
important first primary. Their level of en-
thusiasm and partisanship has always var-
ied, though, and students this year not only
haven't rallied around a near-unanimous
choice like Eugene McCarthy but haven't
fastened on favorites like 1984's Gary Hart
and Ronald Reagan. Instead, the college
vote appears to be splintered among a half-
dozen Democratic and Republican hope-
fuls. Meanwhile, students' passion on is-
sues such as the Vietnam War (1968) and
the nuclear freeze (1984) has given way to
more earthbound concerns such as reduc-
ing the federal deficit-and getting aca-
demic credit for the drudge work of stuffing
envelopes and canvassing voters.
Student participation is crucial to the


Door-to-door for Haig: This time, college support is splintered among many


1988 presidential race. "It's not the votes,"
explains Bob Boorstin, campus coordinator
for Mike Dukakis. "It's the manpower." On
weekends, campaign caravans arrive in
New Hampshire from campuses all over
New England-especially university-rich
Boston. The students are put to work lick-
ing envelopes, phoning voters and knock-
ing on doors for their candidates. The hard
work isn't always rewarding. One Dukakis
phone-banker accidentally called Nackey
Loeb, the hard-right publisher of the Man-
chester Union-Leader-and received a
curt brushoff. Another student, going door
to door, handed a flier about Dick Gephardt
to a plumber, who in turn asked the student
to distribute fliers for his plumbing busi-
ness and his church.

Despite such indignities, campaign offi-
cials claim more students are on the New
Hampshire primary trail than in 1984-
perhaps reflecting the sheer number of
candidates in the field. "This time it's any-
one's race," explains Ed McCabe, chairman
of the Young Republicans at the University
of New Hampshire in Durham. Few of the
New Hampshire-bound students have par-
ticipated in a presidential campaign be-
fore. Laura Hastings, who placed more
than 20 MIT undergraduates in New
Hampshire primary campaigns during
January, says that not one had any previ-
ous political experience.
What gets these raw recruits out of bed?
This election year has failed to produce hot-
button political issues like the nuclear


Organizers Learn the Game of Politics

C aran Ware wants to be pres-
ident someday. To learn
politics, the Northwestern
junior is starting in the trench-
es as a volunteer in Jesse Jack-
son's presidential campaign.
And she expects a payoff for
her efforts. "I would like to
be a delegate in the Democrat-
ic convention if at all possi-
ble," Ware says. Similarly,
senior Allen Greenberg is
vying for a Pennsylvania dele-
gate's spot in behalf of Paul
Simon by spearheading a city-
wide campaign effort in Pitts-
burgh from the Carnegie-Mel-
lon campus. Northwestern
junior David Almasi coordi-

nates student campaigners in
Chicago when Jack Kemp vis-
its the area. Almasi also wants
something in return: "It's get-
ting in on the ground floor of
something that could be really
big. If you do it right, it could
turn out very, very well."
These politics majors are
what are known on campuses
as "political junkies." But
now that the football bowl
games have been played and
first-semester finals are a fad-
ed memory, technogeeks and
art-history majors alike are
slowly turning their attention
to trade protectionism, zero
options-or, in other words:

Campaign '88. Even at col-
leges where there seems to be
little campaign-related activ-
ism, appearances can be de-
ceiving. Unlike politics in the
late 1960s and the early
1970s, says Berkeley politi-
cal-science professor William
Muir, students no longer have
a "we / they" attitude about
the individual candidates.
"Students know that there
are not just good guys and
bad guys. They know the is-
sues are complex, and there-
fore they are more inde-
cisive and unresolved," says
Muir. "The Reagan adminis-
tration has forced students

to look at the other side."
Indeed, however fledgling
the efforts, organized support
for every declared candidate is
cropping up on most campus-
es. At the University of Mis-
souri, for instance, 24 students
backing Bob Dole's bid are
using video parties to recruit
undecided voters. Committee
members hold parties in their
dorm rooms and at sororities
and fraternities, during which
they show a 20-minute taped
presentation on Dole. Organ-
ized support groups exist at
Duke for at least seven candi-
dates-including Libertarian
Ron Paul. Paul's supporters,
who form Duke's most active
and energetic group, deluged
the campus with information



MARCH 1988 /

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