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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

AZ Dems: Show your constituents some respect

Hundreds of students streaming across the UA Mall on Monday afternoon failed to stop and listen to a series of stump speeches from Arizona Democratic candidates.

While most candidates focused their attention on the students and other supporters who turned up for the rally, State Senate hopeful Paula Aboud had a message for those who weren’t on the Mall for the express purpose of hearing what she and her fellow Democrats had to say. “”If you’re walking by and not coming to this rally, you don’t care about the state of Arizona,”” she chastised passersby.

Aboud’s rude, overblown comment rounded out a series of possibly well-meaning, but patronizing and uninspiring performances from state Democrats.

Almost every candidate’s speech made some reference to a stereotype of UA students, a weird conglomeration of assumptions Democrats seem to have decided represents their target audience.

When the crowd did not cheer loudly enough to suit him, Rodney Glassman, who hopes to supplant John McCain in the U.S. Senate, scolded, “”We could go to class if we wanted to sleep — we don’t need to be doing it out here.””

Chris Deschene, who is running for secretary of state, delivered a smart, measured address about the duties of the position and how he hopes to fulfill them. Then, as if remembering a talking point, he added a non sequitur story about attending UA pep rallies in his ASU T-shirt. “”You guys know how to party,”” he said.

Other candidates spent half their speeches making jabs at ASU or expressing their awkwardly phrased wish that the UA football team “”beat the Beavers”” at Saturday’s game against Oregon State.

While school spirit is a vital part of UA life, it’s certainly not all college students are capable of talking about. The candidates’ speeches by and large gave the impression that they had recently seen a raunchy movie about college life; they seemed out of touch with young people to an embarrassing and somewhat offensive degree. 

Several, like Aboud and Glassman, went so far as to undermine the education students receive at the UA by implying that their speeches were more important than attending class. Joking or not, their comments were inappropriate and poorly received.

If students make the effort to attend a political rally, they don’t do so to be talked down to by candidates. College students, especially those who have made the effort to be informed or politically active, don’t need candidates to be able to “”relate to them”” in such inane ways.

Candidates, especially Democrats, make much of the fact that young people can have a major impact on the upcoming midterm elections. But based on the performances at Monday’s rally, these candidates don’t really deserve students’ votes. They clearly don’t take students very seriously as a constituency.

Candidates should come to college campuses ready to talk about the issues affecting college students. That includes almost every topic under the sun — from funding for higher education to job creation to immigration reform — because college students are a remarkably diverse group.

Believe it or not, young people care about more than partying, football and ditching class. While all those elements have a place on college campuses, they shouldn’t be the only way candidates have of reaching out to students.

Instead, those from both parties should acknowledge that college students are young adults, prepared to make informed voting decisions based on candidates’ policy positions, experience and record.

To get young people’s votes, politicians must treat them like vital constituents, not rowdy children. Monday’s rally revealed that the state’s Democratic candidates are failing to respect the people whose votes they desperately need.

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Heather Price-Wright, Luke Money, Colin Darland and Steven Kwan. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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