College Democrats

MyDD has a post and a long thread about College Democrats. Both Chase from Iowa Progress and myself have posted comments there about Grinnell, which is I think a real exception for college dem chapters. I was curious what Chris and Drew and everyone else thought about College Democrats and how to get Democrats at various colleges around the state. Drew and I (though mostly Drew) wrote the state party’s college field plan for the last cycle and I thought it might be worthwhile to talk about different strengths and weakness for College Dems on a chapter by chapter, statewide and nationwide basis. I also included a poll for the sake of doing one on the most effective College Dems chapter in the state.

  • I voted for Drake

    I voted for Drake, mainly because I go there and I have a bias.  But I do have to give major props to the Grinnell Dems and all their hard work, particularly on Eric Palmer’s campaign.  In terms of Drake’s work, we could have done much better but that’s hindsight speaking for the most part.  We worked hard, particularly in the last week prior to election day, to put the shoe rubber to the pavement and get folks out to vote.  Our Drake Dems hit big-time Democratic areas in Polk County, like HD 65 and 66, where there are a large number of registered Dems but a very low level of turnout.  We also helped staff a special election day only office right by campus in order to make sure folks got out to vote in the area.

    Clearly, the biggest support that College Dems are able to give is in the field department, but I think there definitely needs to be better communication between our party (particularly their field leaders) and the College Dems leaders.  Collaboration hasn’t necessarily been the name of our game like it has been between Republican leaders and the College Republicans, but it is definitely a game we should get involved in.  Starting early is always our best bet.

  • for what it's worth...

    I definitely have a great deal of respect for what the Grinnell College Democrats did for Eric Palmer in HD 75 and I think the Drake Dems run a great chapter as well.  What I think makes both of those organizations stand out is the off-year activity that they engage in.

    The Grinnell Democrats don’t just work on general elections.  They’ve cut their teeth on school board elections, special elections, and primary/caucus campaigns.  This allows them to sustain their momentum from year-to-year.

    The Drake Democrats have done the same.  Their work on college tuition issues has been phenomenal. 

    If you are a first year college student who starts college in the Fall ’07 it gives you the opportunity to have involvment in the ’08 Caucus, ’08 General (as a sophomore), local races in 2009, and another general in 2010.  That’s a great deal of experience – and makes for a great organizer once somebody leaves college.

    • My 2 cents...

      As a former member of the UI Democrats, and a current Johnson county resident, I say the UI Dems are just as strong as any other group, if not more due to numbers. Ali Sutton did a first rate job of organizing them and working with other Democrats on campus in 06, and I am looking forward to seeing how other campaigns deal with the on-campus presence in the presidential and in the 08 general.

      Great work on the blog, Drew. I added a link to you from BFIA.


  • Drake

    Drake was the most effective by far.  Grinnell was great too but of course that was at least partially because two of its organizers were also on IDP staff.

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