SENIOR CITIZENS: Students react to first caucuses

By Zuhayr Alam

Many students were heavily involved in the Iowa Caucuses on Feb. 1, and many of them had a large role in how they turned out.

As the night wore on, Hillary Clinton narrowly beat Bernie Sanders with just .25 percent of the vote separating the two. On the Republican side, Ted Cruz came out on top in Iowa, followed by Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.

Senior Andrew Nurse went into the night as a Martin O’Malley supporter and came out having caucused for Sanders.

“Myself included, there were only 15 O’Malley supporters. We were extremely overpowered by the shouts of the Bernie supporters and the smirks of the Clinton supporters,” Nurse said. “Bernie supporters knew right away that O’Malley would not stay viable, so many of them tried to get us onto the Sanders train. Their chants of ‘Feel the Bern’ were quite awe inspiring, which made me feel like I was wanted.”

Nurse said that the Clinton supporters were not as welcoming. “Not to trash the candidate in any way, but the Hillary supporters definitely did not give me the most inviting of welcomes,” Nurse said. “A lot of them just stared and chuckled at our attempts to support a minor candidate. If I had been informed of what each candidate believes, I wouldn’t have been so reluctant to join an opposer of Martin. I ended up caucusing for Bernie, but I’ll keep an open mind on which Democrat I’ll vote for in November.”

Senior Aaron Iehl was a precinct captain for Ted Cruz and spoke on his behalf. “I felt very involved. I was by far the youngest speaker, and my location at Peet had over 450 people there. Speaking for Cruz was not too difficult because Cruz had developed a great ground game in Iowa and did well to spread information,” Iehl said. “They gave me a list of important topics to cover, so I spoke to those points, which were also true as to what I believe.”

Senior Aditi Rao has been campaigning for Clinton for seven months now, as well as being precinct captain, and she said she was proud to see all of her hard work pay off. “So I’m an organizing fellow with the campaign, basically an intern, and work for the campaign between 15 and 25 hours a week,” Rao said. “My role is basically getting out the vote, making sure all interested individuals get involved and that Cedar Falls operations are running smoothly.”

Rao was nervous as the results started to come in.

“That night was hectic, incredibly close and powerful,” Rao said. “I thought Hillary would win by a much larger margin, so I’m disappointed about that but am proud of all the work my colleagues and I put into it. I’m excited to see how it all plays out for the Democrats.”

Iehl said he also thought the night was great.

“It was a great experience to see such high turnout. They had over 1,000 new voter registrations, which shows great excitement about being involved with the Republican Party,” Iehl said. “I was proud to caucus for Ted Cruz to see a grassroots candidate win in Iowa in what is hopeful his first win of many leading up to this November.”

Nurse said he was also happy with how the night went. “I really loved the atmosphere of the caucus. Seeing every single person there to support what they believe in or learn more about why the Iowa caucus is important made me feel like one individual can really make a difference,” Nurse said.  “I’ve never been too interested in politics, but this year, I realized my voice matters, and this experience was definitely once in a lifetime, or at least once every four years.”

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