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Friday, April 19, 2024

UF student groups campaign for 2020 presidential candidates

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UF student organizations are backing their favorite candidates as they hit the campaign trail for the 2020 presidential elections.

As voters prepare for key milestone events in the U.S. presidential election season, UF students have organized groups to endorse specific presidential candidates and convince their fellow peers to do the same.

The groups support presidential hopefuls like Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang. UF Students for Bernie Sanders, which supports the Democratic senator from Vermont, is the only active student organization campaigning for a specific 2020 presidential campaign. 

Lance Fischer, vice president of UF Students for Bernie Sanders, believes Sanders’ campaign is a movement dedicated to helping the multiracial working class.

“I think specifically for college students on this campus, no other campaign in history has put so much investment into the college-age demographic,” said Fischer, the 19-year-old UF chemical engineering freshman.

Using BERN, the official app for the 2020 Bernie Sanders campaign, UF Students for Bernie have been able to text and call their social circles to discuss Sanders’ policies. The students have also organized phone banks and hosted democratic debate watch parties.

Although UF Students for Bernie Sanders is the only active student organization campaigning for a particular candidate, more groups, such as UF Students for Pete Buttigieg, Gators for Warren and Gators for Yang, have unofficially emerged.

UF Students for Pete Buttigieg has also organized phone banks to talk to voters about the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor. The students involved with the group have strategically reached out to people in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire, said Brianna Barden, president of the organization.

“His volunteers are so energetic, and they’re so great at reaching out to people,” Barden said.

The 20-year-old senior said she hopes to pass out flyers and table on campus in February, once the organization officially registers with UF.

Gators for Warren decided to forego club registration to avoid wasting time when working toward a time-sensitive campaign, said Gators for Warren director Noah Fineberg. 

The student organization has reached out to large progressive student clubs such as March For Our Lives to urge their members to vote for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, the 19-year-old UF telecommunication freshman said.

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Fineberg said he loves how Warren seems to have a plan to combat issues like corruption, income inequality, environmental issues and gun policy.

“We’re not leaving any stone unturned to try to reach as many people as possible because we think a lot of this message can really be powerful now,” Fineberg said.

The student campaign organization for Andrew Yang, Gators for Yang, is part of the larger Gainesville group, Yang Gang 352. 

Gators for Yang students meet with other Yang Gang 352 members at Cypress & Grove Brewery each week for Monday night “MATH camp,” where members can learn how to best help with the campaign, said Yang Gang primary contact Baron Morris in an email to The Alligator. 

MATH stands for “Make America Think Harder,” and is one of Yang’s campaign slogans.

Morris said in addition to campaigning on campus, Yang supporters painted the 34th Street Wall Saturday with a reference to the Freedom Dividend, which is Andrew Yang’s plan for a basic universal income.

The Iowa Democratic caucuses will be held Monday. Florida’s closed primary elections will be March 17, and the 2020 presidential election day will be Nov. 3.

Contact Samantha Chery at Follow her on Twitter @SammyChery4276.   

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