The Collegian
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Clinton revitalized, McCain captures GOP nomination

Pizza, soda, candy and Primary results could be found in the Whitehurst Living Room until the campus-wide cable outage ended the Results Viewing Party just before 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

About 50 students enjoyed refreshments and political discourse throughout the night.

John McCain secured the Republican nomination after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dropped out of the race.

On the Democratic side, voters in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island breathed new life into Hillary Clinton's campaign, as the New York senator captured those states, halting the momentum of her Democratic rival, Barack Obama, who won only Vermont's primary.

"McCain had as big a night last night as Clinton did," said Dan Palazzolo, professor of political science.

Since the modern election nomination period began in 1972, the party that has wrapped up its nomination second has lost every election, except in 1992, when Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, Palazzolo said.

"There are a lot of Obama supporters who are not going to go for Hillary," Palazzolo said, "and there are a lot of Hillary supporters who aren't going to go for Obama. It does take a party some time to unify."

Some students said they were happier with the results than others, and some said they were there because of a simple interest in the process.

Dejere Gudeda, a junior from Ethiopia, is not eligible to vote, but he said he was interested in the current election. He said he came to the party because he would be watching the results in his room so "why not watch with more people?"

Freshman John Sawyer, a member of University of Richmond Students for Barack Obama, said was unhappy when he heard that Sen. Hilary Clinton was leading in Texas.

"This is the election that changes everything," Sawyer said. "It will make or break our image in the eyes of the rest of the world."

Neither Clinton nor Obama will be able to secure enough pledged delegates to obtain the nomination.

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"She's going to fight tooth and nail, I think, to try to get [superdelegates]," Palazzolo said, referring to special delegates who vote for a candidate if a front runner doesn't emerge by the end of the primary process.

"The job of the superdelegates is not to reflect what the majority opinion of the party," Palazzolo said. "The job is to assess the situation and say which of these two candidates is the most electable."

If Obama had won Texas and Ohio last night, he would have all but sealed the Democratic nomination.

Sophomore Rasheed Nazeri, co-chairman of the campus student Obama group, said he thought Obama represented change.

"Obama offers real change and not just change as a slogan," Nazeri said.

Nazeri spent the last few days campaigning in Ohio and Washington, D.C., for Obama, and he said he plans to do the same in Pennsylvania during spring break.

Andy Gurka, area coordinator for the University Forest Apartments, and Adrienne Piazza, an administrative coordinator for the Center for Civic Engagement, organized the series of results viewing parties, sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement and Richmond College. They plan to host similar events in the future.

Even though the turnout for this event was about half of the size of the first Super Tuesday party, Gurka said that programs like Tuesday's party show that "people care about what's going on."

Piazza said this party was planned after receiving requests from students. "We followed up on that energy," Piazza said.

She commented about how there had been no outlet for student energy in politics, but she and Gurka hoped to provide that for students by organizing parties and events.

Gurka and Piazza said the smaller attendance could have been a result mid-terms and the upcoming Spring Break as a reason for the smaller attendance. But he added that he and Piazza were working with the Westhampton College Government Association and Richmond College Student Government Association to plan future events.

One of the night's activities that encouraged discourse between faculty and students was a talk by Doug Hicks, associate professor of Leadership Studies and religion and executive director of the CCE. Hicks, who is researching and teaching a class about religion in public life, spoke about the role of religion in the current election.

Hicks gave a short review of religion's role in the campaigns of the four main candidates remaining, which included Sen. John McCain, former governor Mike Huckabee, Clinton and Obama.

"Faith does matter, but it isn't the only thing that matters," Hicks said. He said that faith speaks to the morality of the candidates and, therefore, their characters.

Students then asked questions about how religion has affected voters and whom they support.

Hicks said he sees "people interested in how their own faith affects their voting" and interested in the faith of each candidate.

Students continued to discuss and watch the results until a campus-wide cable outage brought the party to an early end. The interruption came during Clinton's speech, which flustered some students when supporters at the speech began chanting "Yes we can," the campaign slogan for Obama.

CBS 6 News also interviewed Richmond students for the 11 p.m. broadcast.

Collegian staff writer Dan Petty contributed reporting for this story.

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