Club returns to pique political interests

Young Democrats Club returns after three years of dormancy to promote student activism


Meredith Chapple

Senior Kai Blosser, junior Noah Mercer, junior Emma Posler, junior Darius Hart and senior Joaquin Dorado are a few members of the Young Democrats Club, which was restarted this year.

By Gabe Mullen

The 2016 presidential election season is heating up fast as excitement from the first caucuses continues into the spring. Across the country, new voters are beginning to choose their candidates.

Among the most captivated by the election are America’s young voters. While candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton fight for their support, Millennials are taking notice, not least of all students here at LHS.

The Young Democrats Club is being brought back after a few years of dormancy. Its goals are to gather self-identifying Democrats together to discuss current political issues and events and to get people interested in government.

Club founder junior Emma Posler has been interested in politics and saw an opportunity in reviving the club to get herself and others involved in the political process.

“[The Young Democrats Club] used to be a thing a while ago, then the leadership just kind of wasn’t there anymore,” she said. “So a few months ago, I came up with the idea [to get it started again].”

Posler and other club members wanted to bring a forum to discuss politics back to the forefront to encourage discussion about government within the school.

“When I heard that Emma was starting the club again, I knew that I wanted to get involved,” junior club member Bridget Smith said. “Having my dad being interested in politics and then also having taken debate, it was just another outlet to talk about the democratic process.”

One of the political issues the club is taking on is low participation by young voters.

“Younger voters have the lowest turnout in elections, and I would really like to see [those rates] to jump up,” junior club member Noah Mercer said. “Even though it’s a small percentage, I would really like to see LHS kids get involved.”

The club has discussed hands-on strategies to get students more interested in the presidential race.

“We brainstormed a few ideas to actually get people to go out and to exercise [the right to vote],” Posler said. “We thought about being on the announcements and reminding people on election week to go vote. [We also thought about] handing out non-biased brochures about each of the candidates just to keep people informed.”

As for the other side of the political aisle, a Young Republicans Club was active in the past but has not been revived in the same way the Democrats have.

While the political dynamics in Topeka are shifting increasingly toward a hardline conservative bend, the city of Lawrence is a rare example of a community that is solidly liberal in Kansas. Whether a Young Republicans Club can be brought back at LHS given these dynamics remains to be seen.

“Having more educated voters on both sides would be good, instead of people just following other’s beliefs,” Mercer said.