When the two major political parties hold their conventions this month, Meredith College students will be there to watch history being made.
Five Meredith students are going to the Republican Party’s convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18-21, and four students will travel to the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia, Pa., July 25-28. One student is attending both conventions.
The 2016 presidential race is historic for both parties.
“The Democrats will nominate the first woman candidate as a major party representative and the Republicans will nominate the first true outsider —someone without any political experience — since General Dwight Eisenhower won the Republican nomination in 1952,” said Visiting Professor of Political Science David McLennan, who will be accompanying the Meredith groups.
In addition to the speeches by each party’s presidential and vice presidential nominees, conventions include policy briefings by experts, discussions about the party platforms, exhibitions, and receptions in which students can interact with politicians, interest group advocates, and media members.
McLennan said the students will participate in as many aspects of the conventions as possible.
“I hope that the students take in the spectacle of political conventions from the protestors to the delegates to the celebrities. I hope they develop a better understanding of the broad constituencies that the Democratic and Republican parties have and the challenges that these diverse constituencies present for the parties as they attempt to win the White House,” McLennan said. “I also want the students to see that, despite the focus on the party’s nominee, that political issues are still important in campaigns and that both parties take policy issues very seriously.”
Emily Walter, ’18, is looking forward to witnessing history.
“I chose to attend the Democratic National Convention because our country is at a turning point in politics,” said Walter. “This cycle has already influenced our country for the better and for the worse. I’m anxious to see how things will continue to shift and wanted to see it happen first hand.”
Ivey Burgess, ’18, who is attending the Republican National Convention, noted that most people never get the chance to attend a party convention.
“One of the reasons I chose to attend is because the United States needs more young people to care about and understand politics,” Burgess said. “If I can aid others in explaining political matters, then I will be pleased.”