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Oles on the Campaign

St. Olaf students reporting on the presidential campaigns in New Hampshire.

Clinton's Iowa Win

A few nights ago, Hillary Clinton became the first woman in American history to win the Iowa caucuses.  And no one is reporting on this monumental accomplishment.  Instead, media outlets continue to label the caucus results as a tie, or too close to call.  True, Hillary Clinton only one the state by .3 percent, but that is still a win damnit.  More important than percentages, Clinton won 23 delegates to Sanders’ 21 delegates, a wider margin of victory for the former Secretary.  Yet news organizations are not reporting the Iowa results as a win for Clinton.  I understand the media appeal of reporting the race as highly competitive, but Clinton’s win, even though small, is a historic development that should not be dismissed for the sake of horse race political coverage.

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders played an impressive ground game in Iowa, and both deserve recognition for their accomplishments.  However, it stings that the significance of Hillary’s candidacy as the first female candidate to win Iowa is undermined to report on the rise of a Democratic Socialist.  Socialism is fine, but very few American citizens identify as Democratic Socialists, while roughly half of the American population identifies as female.  Clinton’s win here is much more significant in the grand scheme of equal representation.  What we should really be hearing in the news is questions regarding why it took so long for a woman to win in Iowa, and to scrutinize our political system in which women are incentivised not to run for higher office.

 
--Sydney Spreck is a St. Olaf sophomore from Stillwater, MN, majoring in Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies.  She is in New Hampshire as part of a St. Olaf political science class studying the presidential primary elections.

The Martin O'Malley Campaign: A Fight Against the Odds

It is usual for campaigns to drop out of a political race. You here it often on TV and in the news but it is completely different to actually live it. Working on a campaign is nerve wracking, employees must be able to pack up and leave in a moments notice while still committing all their time and energy to the campaign.

 Note: When working campaigns you do not get the weekend off.

Martin O’Malley was expected not to succeed in this presidential primary but that did not stop his campaign from working as hard as they could to change the polls. The night of the caucuses we had high expectations. Ideally, just like everyone else, we wanted high poll numbers but unfortunately that was not how it turned out. Martin O’Malley ended the night with 0.6% of the vote, even with it I expected him to continue on to New Hampshire. For the past three weeks the O’Malley campaign has been working tirelessly to booking shifts, canvassing and making phone calls to get the good word of the Governor to reach far and wide. I worked harder than I ever had in my life.

I learnt a lot of things in this month, the one that resonate the most is that politics is not just press releases and fancy dinners but it rests on individuals completely dedicated to their candidates working day and night to convince each possible undecided voter. Unfortunately, this more often than not does not result in a recipe for success. But the people I met this month worked on not a lot of money, spent a lot of time on the O’Malley campaign and were amazing role models. They showed me how to work towards something you believe in no matter the odds. 

-- Rhea Rajan is a Sophomore at St. Olaf College from Mumbai, India. She is a Psychology major with a concentration in Neuroscience. She is in New Hampshire as part of a St. Olaf political science class studying the presidential election.