By Patrick Lovett ’17
Do you know the difference between closed and open primaries? How about what a Superdelegate is? Do you know where all of the candidates stand on various issues? For students without answers to these questions, the event “The Election for Dummies” was not only helpful, but essential.
The event took place on Thursday, March 10, in the Slavin Overlook Lounge attracting not only students who sought it out, but also some who happened to be passing by. Professors Adam Myers and Joseph Cammarano worked as a two-man panel, guiding the audience through the election process and answering questions along the way.
To begin, the experts got into what Dr. Cammarano deemed “the nitty gritty” of the primary process and the overall process for nominating candidates. “Nitty gritty” turned out to be an appropriate description, as Dr. Cammarano and Dr. Myers discussed the difference between a caucus and primary, the various types of primaries, the purpose of national conventions, and where in this process the current candidates are.
Some highlights from this overview included establishing who the frontrunners were and speculating on various scenarios in each party’s nomination process. In the Democratic Party, Dr. Cammarano and Dr. Myers emphasized the importance of Superdelegates in widening the gap between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. As for the Republican Party, the professors considered the possibility of a “brokered” convention, or a Republican National Convention without a clear or definitive candidate going in. Donald Trump, who leads in the polls, is under the pace needed to secure the Republican candidacy and has a growing opposition, thereby making the rare prospect of a brokered convention more and more possible.
Despite their points of emphasis and examples from history, Dr. Cammarano and Dr. Myers were especially candid about how unconventional this election process has been and very well could be. Speculating about the possibility of a Trump candidacy, Dr. Cammarano said, “If Trump is still in the race after the election, put down your textbooks.”
Following their explanation of the highly technical and confusing candidacy and election processes, Dr. Cammarano and Myers had a more personal message for the students encouraging both active participation in local and national politics.
Dr. Cammarano, in encouraging participation in national politics, asked, “You think that your voice isn’t heard by the government? Go and vote. Young people vote the lowest percentage, so that is generally why politicians won’t pay attention to you.”
As for local politics, Dr. Cammarano and Dr. Myers emphasized the possibility of real, tangible change. If Providence College students were to develop a voice in local politics, they reasoned, they could greatly improve how they are treated across the city, but more specifically in the areas immediately surrounding campus.
Board of Programmers member and event organizer Timothy Bosse `17 found these final points especially compelling. “Like they were just saying, if we really want our voices heard,” he said, “we really need to get out and vote.”
When asked how he thought the event went, Bosse said, “Well the purpose was basically to better educate the PC student population so that they have all the information necessary to make an informed and intelligent decision in the election. I think for the people here we accomplished that.”