Ridin’ with Biden at his local campaign

BY EMILY BRANDYBERRY

The Bruin staff, along with some Lordstown and Newbury students, headed to the Joe Biden campaign on February 1 to help convince voters to caucus for Biden on February 3, 2020. We thought we would be going to Biden’s headquarters, but we actually ended up at a vacant office in the middle of a shopping plaza. Once we stepped into the office, we discovered that it was not going to be how we expected it.

Volunteers help make phone calls to people at he Biden campaign office. They tried to call as many people as possible due to the caucus being that evening. Photo by Axel Mueller

We were met with confusion and questions by the volunteers about what we were going to be doing. Then they told us that we were supposed to have our own transportation, however, they did end up having a van that we could use.

“It seemed slightly unorganized, and it wasn’t what I was expecting,” said Wadsworth senior, Kate Messam. “The staff and volunteers there didn’t seem like they were ready for us to be there, but I actually had a lot of fun once we got started there.”

Shortly after arriving, we were introduced to Sarah Sherman who was in charge of the volunteers at that office. She informed us that some people would be going door knocking while others would be doing cold calls. The group was given a brief orientation going over what we needed to say to the citizens of Iowa in order to get them to support Biden.

The Congresswoman of Deleware, Lisa Bluntrochester, came in to talk to volunteers about the Biden campaign. Photo by Axel Mueller.

The group then split up and headed their separate ways. Those of us that stayed behind were left to call citizens all over the state, however, members of The Bruin did little volunteering. Most of the time we ended up interviewing various volunteers supporting Biden such as former Florida Senator Bill Nelson, former Assistant Secretary of the Navy John Douglass and Ron Oliveir, a relative of Joe Biden.

“I found myself talking and interviewing volunteers more than I did actual campaigning,” said Wadsworth senior, Anna Wolfinger. “But I enjoyed the experience of getting to see behind the scenes of a presidential campaign.”

One of the most important things we learned was why the volunteers were so passionate about Biden. The volunteers came from far and near because they care about Biden so much, but they all had different reasons for supporting him. 

“There are those who are trying to take us back to what some of us refer to as the ‘bad old days’ and we don’t want to go back,” said Douglass. “That’s why we support Joe.”

Former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd talks to students about his personal connection with Joe Biden. Photo by Axel Mueller

Those of us that did not make phone calls went canvassing. Volunteers will take hours out of their day in order to canvas neighborhoods to gather support for Biden. Canvassing is when volunteers go door to door and talk to local residents about their candidate and why they deserve support at the caucus.

“I was surprised by how kind the residents were,” said Abby Wichterman, Wadsworth senior. “People were willing to take the time and talk about their choice of candidate.”

Overall, the experience of working for Biden’s campaign was very interesting. The most interesting part was getting the opportunity to talk to so many people with such fascinating stories.

The students will continue working for the campaigns on Monday morning before the caucus.

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