Election Thoughts: Presidents of the Tufts Democrats & Republicans

This election cycle has been interesting to say the least. Both the Tufts Republicans and Tufts Democrats have been very active within their own groups and the Tufts community. With November 8th only a few days away, the presidents of both groups, Price Figurelli-Reid (Republicans), a junior majoring in CBS and philosophy, and Ben Kaplan (Democrats), a senior majoring in political science and economics, shared some thoughts on the election and their involvement.


1. What are some of your general thoughts on this election cycle?

BK: This election has been long and contentious. At times, it’s been a little crazy. I think at the end of the day, Hillary Clinton has made an excellent case to the nation about why she is best equipped to be the next President of the United States.

PFR: In general, this election has been contentious beginning in the primary phase and going into the general election. I’ve been disappointed with the quality of the candidate representing each party.


2. The primaries proved contentious for both parties. How did your group handle this?

BK: We had both Bernie and Hillary supporters in our club when the primaries began. To get students involved in the primary, we created two sub-groups: Tufts for Bernie and Tufts for Hillary. Both groups planned events, organized on campus, and did a lot to help out their respective campaigns. After the convention, however, both groups disbanded and folded back into the Tufts Democrats. We certainly had spirited debate during the primaries, but now that we are in the general election, we have come together under one banner to fight for Clinton.

PFR: We had a number of members who were super excited about certain candidates in the primary and followed them closely with the hope that their candidate would get a shot in the general election. Certain candidates who people thought would do well ended up dropping out or faltering in the polls. Due to the large disparity in political beliefs and experiences of individuals running in the primary, many Tufts Republicans members were not happy with Trump as the nominee because he is so different from candidates they had been supporting.


3. What issues/policies would you say are most important to your group this election cycle?

BK: We have been focusing on a few of the ballot initiatives up for a vote on the Massachusetts ballot. In particular, the Tufts Dems have been doing a lot work surrounding question two, a ballot initiative to raise the cap on charter schools. We have come out in strong opposition to the initiative and have hosted a number of events, canvases and organizing meetings around the issue.

PFR: Healthcare and tax policy changes are both important issues to our group. We have weekly discussions that focus on different issues and policies, but these two have been highly debated this semester.


4. Has your group officially endorsed a candidate? If not, why not?

BK: We are with Clinton. Every week, we organize two phone banks and send several dozen students up to New Hampshire to canvas for the campaign.

PFR: No, we have not. We did release a statement over the summer explaining why (it can be found on our Facebook page if anyone wants to read it). It basically stems to what I mentioned before about the wide disparity of beliefs in the group. It would have been unfair and misrepresentative to officially endorse and campaign for Trump as a group as there are many members who don’t support him and are voting third party or doing something else with their vote.


5. Describe this election cycle in 3 words:

BK: Wild, crazy, exciting

PFR: Unexpected, media-driven, unusual


6. What are some events your group has held/been involved in this semester?

BK: We have been working closely with Jumbo Votes and many other politically oriented groups on campus to register voters and get Tufts students to the polls. Alongside Jumbo Votes, we held a debate watch party in Cohen and VoteFest on the academic quad featuring food trucks and live music. We’ve taken Tufts students to New Hampshire to hear from prominent politicians like Elizabeth Warren, and we have hosted a number of local leaders at our weekly meetings, such as our state senator Pat Jehlen. We have also co-sponsored events with other groups on campus like hosting an event with Tufts Primary Care Progress about Healthcare Policy. And of course, no semester of Dems would be complete without our famous West Wing and Wings night.

PFR: We have been involved with Jumbo Votes and helped sponsor VoteFest along with the Tufts Dems. We also worked with the Tufts Dems in co-sponsoring the first debate panel, painting the cannon together, and had a flipped debate with the Tufts Dems that was sponsored by CIVIC this past Friday. We recently participated in a healthcare discussion with Tufts Primary Care Progress. We are also helping drive the van from Tufts to take students to the polls and are being greeters and poll monitors on election day.


7. Plans for election night?

BK: ExCollege Election Night Extravaganza in Hotung. ExCollege always throws a good party

PFR: We’ll be tabling in the Campus Center at the Election Night Extravaganza and watching the election results come in.


8. If people want to get involved with your group, how could they go about doing that?  

BK: We meet every Tuesday at 9PM in the Terrace room. Everyone is welcome.

PFR: We meet every Monday night at 7pm in Campus Center 203. It’s a fun time. Come out.