The Vanguard has a new home, please update your bookmarks to

Friday, August 22, 2008

Vanguard Coverage of the Democratic National Convention

The Vanguard is primarily a blog that covers local politics and local government issues. However, there is no denying the fact that much of the world will be focused on the Democratic National Convention next week. So we have asked Don Gibson, a UC Davis Student who is President of College Democrats and an elected Hillary Clinton Delegate to the Democratic National Convention to write about his experiences at the Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado. He arrived in Denver last night and has submitted his first report.


Who is a delegate?

Delegates are the ultimate political junkies. Not only do almost all of us read multiple newspapers, blog, and never turn off CNN, we also poured hundreds of hours into campaigns. The delegates are party activist who were elected to support their respective candidate at convention. Registered Democrats in the Congressional District get to vote. I was elected to vote for Senator Clinton way back in April.

Today delegates are diverse. On age, race, and sex, the party has worked tirelessly that no group would be unrepresented. There are an equal number of men and women from each state while states like California set affirmative action goals to fairly represent the party's base. The newest demographic that is popping for this convention is young delegates. 11% of California's delegation is under 30 (49 of 441) compared to only 8% in 2004.

Why are so many of us not becoming involved? Is it Obama or Bush's presidency or something else? I don't think that there is any one thing that drove fellow young democrats to be delegates and myself to run. Many are excited about Obama (including Clinton delegates like myself). 8 Years under this disastrous presidency gets many young people afraid of what another Republican in the office will do. My thought is that we are the wired generation. Our generation is now plugged into the world 24-7. The level and ability for awareness in my generation is beyond anything just 20 years ago. Now millions of us will get a text message from Obama's campaign when he announces his VP choice in just a day or two now. It is almost hard to imagine for me what the world would be without the internet or cell phones.

Young voters are increasing going democratic. We do not care about same sex marriage, we care about college affordability and the Iraq War. In a head to head vote between Obama and McCain 18 to 29 year olds support Obama 60% to 33%. 47% of this electorate describes themselves at Democrats to 28% Republican. The old thought about young people not voting is no longer true. If they are targeted for outreach they will vote at 64.4% turn out. In the California 2008 Presidential primary young voters were 14% of the voters. With per-to-per outreach and campaign resources we not only vote more but can change the outcome of elections. If only 500 more people voted for Al Gore in 2000 in Florida then the course of the country would have forever been changed. 500 is less than the number of students in the Emerson dorm hall in the Cuarto part of UC Davis. Students can change elections. As Barbra Boxer put it "elections have consequences"

Today's first update:

I just got to Denver. I may have been the only person on that flight going to Denver and will be active at the convention. My activism may have been given away with my 5 buttons and sticker on my backpack. The airport and city are all decked out in "Welcome DNC to Denver" and volunteers all in orange sticking out in the crowd. They are waving signs with big question marks and lines like "Ask me questions Democrats". It almost feels like this is Beijing's Olympics where the city is pulling out all the stops to make people feel like there is focus. But they did not destroy half the poor areas in the process. Although there a lot of rumors about what the city is doing about the homeless, everything from giving them tickets to the zoo to sending them to Salt Lake City.

Before the big convention with Obama and the Clintons, I am going to College Democrats of America convention. The first cool thing is meeting people from all over the nation. Right now sitting next to me is 3 fellow bloggers, one from Princeton, one from UC Berkeley, and another from Tuffs. The only thing I wanted is nice hotel rooms. As you can see in the pictures I will not be staying the lap of luxury tonight. For the DNC convention the California and New York delegations get to say in the Sheraton, formerly the Adam's Mark.

Nothing too exciting has really been happening now. The only thing that is going on is random groups of people meeting up and partying in their respective dorm rooms. I am about to go walk all around the campus looking for some fast food for dinner.

Tomorrow should be fun, College Democrats are putting together a community service project in the city. Then for kick of Gov. Dean will be speaking to the hundreds of us. I hope it is not the speech that ever politician gives to us student activist. The: "You are the future of country… Hope… Destiny… Future… On the door step of a new millennium… Tomorrows leaders… and so on"