Primaries spark public interest

Clinton, Trump maintain leads in primary elections, Sanders continues campaign despite deficit

By Lorenzo Morotti, Associate Editor

Deep into the 2016 presidential primary race, Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate and the Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is unable to close Bernie Sanders’ path to the nomination.

“When I think of electing a president, I like to think in terms of who will be the easier person to organize against,” La Raza studies Chairperson Agustin Palacios said. “Not that I don’t like them as people, but what we should ask ourselves is who would be more receptive to pressure and to move in the direction the people want.”

Before The Advocate reached out to 350 administrators, students and faculty in a random survey, political organizations had already started to try and increase Democratic Party awareness on campus.

A Sanders campaign PAC, organized by kinesiology professor Rudy Zeller, and representatives from the Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA), solicited the Associated Students Union at Contra Costa College for support in motivating students to become politically involved in this year’s presidential election.

The Sanders PAC and BWOPA gave brief five-minute public comments at two separate ASU meetings in April.

BWOPA Richmond Chapter President Kathleen Sullivan said, “More people show up to the polls during a presidential election than any other time.”

Sullivan described her organization as “a political organization that deals with political education within the community that is inclusive of all ethnicities and genders.”

“We also review propositions and candidates running for political office,” she said. “We have a PAC, which is what gives you legal authority to endorse candidates for political office.”

When an Advocate reporter asked Sullivan which Democratic candidate BWOPA is leaning toward supporting for the upcoming California Democratic primary she deflected the question.

At the meeting the Sanders PAC attended, Alto Ayhan, former Comet soccer player and self- employed network administrator, asked the ASU to help set up voter registration booths on campus and organize an open forum to talk about politics.

“The Democratic and Republican parties are so similar they are part of the same establishment. These people are trying to hold onto power by rigging the system through voter fraud and gerrymandering,” Ayhan said. “We can see the whole system is against the people’s candidate (Sanders).”

ASU Treasurer Francis Sanson said this election is different than most election years because social media has allowed for populist candidates like Sanders to gain momentum.

“People have been able to take advantage of this relatively new platform,” Sanson said. “It’s like the (Andrew) Jackson era when they used the media to connect with people.”

According to poll question No. 4, the campus would elect democratic socialist Sanders in a landslide victory.

Community Action Organizing Club Secretary Jose Arebalo, a political science major, said his vote will be cast for Sanders on June 7.

“I’m voting for Bernie Sanders even though his chances are slim. I can’t vote for Hillary,” Arebalo said. “People are acting like she already has it in the bag, but it’s not a good enough reason for me to back both candidates. I believe Sanders is the ideal candidate to take on the (Republicans).”

COPA faculty adviser and political science professor Vanna Gonzales said that while Sanders has been winning recent states, he has lost too many closed primaries in the North, East, South and Southwest to be nominated at the Democratic National Convention.

“The problem is that it is too late in the primaries for a big momentum shift. Why are Sanders supporters not supporting the Democratic frontrunner even when he has pulled her to the left,” Dr. Gonzales asked. “The Democratic Party should be worried because if enough people won’t vote for (Clinton), Trump will benefit by tapping into Sanders’ independent base.”

Dr. Palacios partially agrees with Gonzales.

He said while it may be a long shot for Sanders to get the nomination it is still possible, and this discourse is healthy for America.

“This discourse is very good for politics. It has exposed the Democratic Party’s ties to Wall Street, (Clinton’s) problem with sticking to policies and that she has been pushed so far to the left she is starting to sound like Sanders.”