Clubs and the 2020 Presidential Election

Right now, everything looks a little different than it did just six months ago. But “everything” doesn’t just stop at our everyday routines; it translates into all parts of daily life, including politics. On Tuesday, November 3, all eligible voters will have the opportunity to go to a polling site  to vote for the nominee of their choice: Joe Biden, Donald Trump, or one of the many third party candidates. 

With a new election cycle comes more eligible voters, some of which are high school seniors at Centennial. Political clubs around the school have jumped on this opportunity to educate new voters, but with the virtual school setting, it is difficult to reach out to people. 

Young Democrats, one of the many left-leaning clubs at Centennial, has started working on recruiting voters as well as club members. Although they can still conduct their meetings in a virtual setting, it hasn’t been easy, and the group is trying to find ways to keep their members involved.

“It is harder to hold meetings online while still being engaging,” said Lauren Stipe and Ellen Landrum, Young Democrats board members. “We can’t hold as many events as we want, we’re still trying to get some stuff approved.” 

Along with adjusting to the virtual meetings, the group is working to get students excited about voting. 

“Last year, we would sit outside lunches and help register people but now we can’t,” acknowledged Stipe and Landrum. “[This year] we plan to host watch parties for debates, but we’re also very active on our social media platforms, where we provide information about Biden’s policies and movements of his campaign.” 

The club, who is advocating for Biden, hopes that their new methods of activism will prove successful for the election.

However, Young Democrats is not the only club working to inform voters. The Young Socialists Movement, also known as YSM, is taking a slightly different approach to their advocacy. 

“We strongly believe that there is a world of change that can be created outside of elections,” stated Carter Matties and Maggie Ju. “YSM has chosen to officially not endorse any candidate in the general presidential election. Instead, we will be focusing our efforts on down-ballot elections, especially advocating for Matthew Molyett in the district 1 Board of Ed race.” 

Along with focusing on the election of Matthew Molyett, YSM is one of several organizations in the Howard County Coalition for Immigrant Justice. This means that they support and are supporting Council Bill 51 which focuses on ending Howard County’s contract with US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Currently, the contract with ICE allows a detention center located in Jessup to hold adult male detainees.

Despite their differing targets for the 2020 election season, YSM is having similar difficulties as Young Democrats in vocalizing their opinions to the student population. 

“COVID has made it more difficult to organize rallies at CHS and through Canvas for our candidates of choice,” said Matties and Ju. However, the group has found ways to advocate outside of their virtual platform.

“Peter Wilschke, a YSM alumnus, works on the Molyett campaign, so we will continue to coordinate with them and relay to our members whenever the campaign needs volunteers,” announced a spokesperson.

While there are currently no right-leaning clubs present in Centennial, both left-leaning groups are still working tirelessly to spread the word about their respective ideas and campaigns through social media as well as other means of communication. If you would like to stay informed on what either of the clubs are doing, follow them on Instagram at youngsocialistmvmt for YSM and chs_youngdems for Young Democrats.


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