UDems holds mock Iowa Caucus

Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar draw the most students


Nina Walat

By Cassie McGrath, Assistant News Editor

The University of Massachusetts Democrats hosted a mock Iowa Caucus event on Wednesday night where students came to represent and debate on behalf of their choice candidate.

UDems President Tim Ennis opened by welcoming everyone to the RSO’s first event of the semester by explaining the process of the Iowa Caucus and the rules of the event. After, he opened up the conversation to the group of 40 to advocate for the candidate who they support.

Senior political science major and UDem’s event coordinator Abby McDonough showed support for Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “She has the capability to move across the aisle and get things done,” McDonough said. “You won’t have to hear about Hunter Biden and the debate with Trump and you don’t need to hear republicans crying socialism.”

Carla Montilla, a junior political science and history major argued for Klobuchar saying, “She is not from a super progressive state and she’s still a democrat who has progressive values who can work with republicans and I think that’s going to be very attractive because there are many republicans who don’t want to vote for Trump but they won’t vote for Bernie [Sanders] or Elizabeth Warren because they are too progressive.”

The next group of students argued on behalf of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Their arguments stated how Sanders attracts young voters and how he can inspire the 45 percent of people who didn’t vote in the last election to come to the polls. This group argued that Sanders is the most electable candidate against Trump.

Arguments on behalf of Elizabeth Warren followed. One student brought a flag to show her support.

“I’m a big progressive here,” economics and political science major Andrew Abramson said. “I don’t see any candidate representing those far-left values and I think the notion that you have to side with a candidate who is the purest with their view goes against what the democratic party stands for. I think we need a candidate who has lived the dreams that they are presenting to people, a candidate who’s able to articulate what their life work has accomplished and how their life has lead up to where they are now. And that candidate for me is Elizabeth Warren.”

Another argument for Warren was about her work on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before she was in office, believing that she has the drive to making change.

Ennis argued on behalf of Mayor Pete Buttigieg when no one stood up to speak, arguing that he is a fresh face.

On behalf of Vice President Joe Biden, Ennis said “Polls this far out are not the best but if you look at every single poll, Joe Biden is beating Donald Trump and you can’t say that for a lot of other candidates in this room. I did the math a couple days ago and using election maps, Joe Biden would win with, I think it was, 48 electoral college votes.”

There were two vocal students supporting Andrew Yang, journalism major Joe Kochapski and political science major Fernando Tenesaca. “The thing with Andrew Yang is that he is offering you a $1000 a month. Imagine what you can do with $1000 a month. But also, he’s talking about automation and I know for a lot of us, automation is not that big of an issue, but for the people who vote for Trump it is because they’re caring about the economy,” Kochapski said. “That’s his sticking point and he’s going to win off of something like that if he runs against Elizabeth Warren.”

“For me, a lot of the friends I have talked to, two of the candidates who have energized a lot of people who are not involved in politics are Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang,” Tenesaca said. “Being a candidate who understands that our constitution and the way our government works is so far beyond where we currently are and when we have other countries we need to compete against in terms of other domestic issues and foreign relations. I feel like Andrew Yang really understands how relevant a lot of the issues many of us are going to be facing in the next 20 years and I feel like having a fresh face with new ideas, who is energizing voters like Bernie Sanders is really important to consider.”

After the students made their arguments, they were asked to move into groups by choice candidate. The groups represented Warren, who had 11 students, Sanders who had 15 students, Yang who had two students, Klobuchar who had three students, Biden who had two students and Buttigieg who had one student. In the center of the room were the remaining students who were undecided.

Each group had to have 15 percent of the room’s support in order to be viable. The room opened up for arguments to draw the undecided students or the students supporting unviable candidates to their side. Each group had two minutes to argue.

Political science major Rob Sailer made the case for Sanders. “If we want to talk about electability and how to beat Trump, the most important state to win, and this is done totally within the Democratic party, we know Wisconsin is the most important state to win for the democrats. That’s the most likely state to decide the election,” Sailer said. “In 2016, Bernie Sanders won 71 out of the 72 counties in Wisconsin.”

Sailer continued, saying, “In terms of getting things done, Bernie Sanders is the amendment king.”

After the arguments were made, Sanders won the most support with 18 students. Warren drew in 13 students and Klobuchar had 8 students. All of the candidates were made viable.

The event concluded with reactions from the attendees.

During this time students discussed flaws with the Iowa Caucus system discussing how people with more time have more of a say and how Iowa is not representative of the nation’s diversity.

“Now that you have been through a little taste of it, this is not what the actual caucus is really like, this is not a representative group, but we are also not in a gym for hours,” Ennis said.

Cassie McGrath can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @cassiemcgrath.