Vanderbilt Students Campaigning: A Closer Look at Politics Outside the Bubble

Vanderbilt Students Campaigning: A Closer Look at Politics Outside the Bubble

views

This past Friday, I spent a chilly afternoon knocking on doors in a Southeast Nashville neighborhood. With a clipboard in one arm, and a stack of pamphlets in the other, I practiced my speech on the sidewalk. Hello, My name is Katie, and I’m canvassing for Democratic candidates in Tennessee. Are you planning on voting this Tuesday?

“What are you selling?” A construction worker called from across the street.

“Phil Bredesen and Karl Dean!”

He chuckled and waved, and I walked away wondering what I must look like to him. We were living in two different worlds. I had spent the past two months interning at the Phil Bredesen for Senate campaign a couple days a week, and was steeped in politics. I had seen every poll and read a new op-ed piece every day.  Between the campaign and my Political Science curriculum, I had almost forgotten that there was a world outside of CNN and the Cook Political Report. But out canvassing, I was reminded of it again–the majority of people in this nation are not active political partisans, like me.

This sentiment has been echoed by several of the Vanderbilt students who are also working on Democratic campaigns this election season. Most are not from Tennessee. One senior, who has been with the Bredesen campaign since September, commented on the difference between this race and those in her reliably blue home state: “I definitely had to make some compromises during my time here. I’m a Democrat, and it’s a whole different ball game. After 2016, I was shocked, I asked myself how did this happen? But interacting with people in this state has shown me that there’s another half of the country that I never came face to face with before, and they’re here. They vote.”

This fact has played a huge role in Democratic campaigning in the state.  Coming from a fairly left-leaning suburb of D.C., and identifying as a liberal, I was surprised by many aspects of this race, and I had a hard time reckoning with them. In many ways, it seems that Phil Bredesen is running as a moderate Republican in a Democrat’s clothing. He advertises the “A” rating he received  from the NRA when he was Tennessee Governor, stresses his willingness to work across the aisle, and does all he can to avoid condemning President Trump.

Though he has been criticized for this, it is clear that to many voters in Tennessee, his strategy is a breath of fresh air. “I’m a lifelong Republican, but I’m supporting Phil Bredesen, because he can work across the aisle, and work with both parties,” one supporter says in an ad titled “Bredesen Republicans”. The polls are consistently close, and his strong supporters seem to be excited by the prospect of a fresh start in Washington. Bredesen is known for his work as Governor, which included bringing the Titans and the Predators to Nashville, along with a massive boost to the tourism industry. To many, he represents a chance to get things done across the aisle. However, some of his supporters who identify more closely with the left are disappointed by his decision not to align completely with his party.  

The breaking point for several liberal staffers was Bredesen’s statement of support for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He received notable pushback on this from party supporters in the state, including many who had been volunteers for the campaign. After some debate, several more left-leaning campaign workers, myself included, seemed to reach a compromise: Though they did not agree with some of his policy decisions, they would continue to work for the campaign, if only for the chance of a Democrat taking the seat.

Though Bredesen’s steps toward the center felt like a betrayal of my ideals, it quickly became clear that I was a minority in Tennessee. Knocking on doors in areas of the city I had never visited before, I discovered a diverse array of people.  There were those with yard signs and bumper stickers, but they were outnumbered by those without. Many times, the door would be answered with a look of polite confusion, and the answer to my questions would be vague. “I’m not sure I’m voting” and “I don’t like politics” were just as common as those who stated strong support or opposition. For these people, politics occupied little space in their lives: Washington was 700 miles away, and for all they could tell, nothing was being accomplished there.

Phil Bredesen does not align exactly with my beliefs, but it became clear to me that his campaign was not about people like me. It was a campaign for the people who do not know the partisan makeup of their state by district, or the names of Senators from across the country; people who focus instead on the pothole at the end of their street, and the cost of their taxes. At Vanderbilt, nestled in the bluest dot in a red state, it is easy to forget those people.  

As the campaign concludes, some liberal Vanderbilt students working on the Bredesen campaign are left feeling conflicted. “I never thought I would wish to be working on a Democratic campaign in Texas” joked one intern, wishing for a more liberal candidate like Beto O’Rourke as he headed out the door to work on a Sunday. “This race and this candidate have been good for me. I disagree with some of the things he says, but getting out in the state has made me realize that most people have the same desires for the country, but go about achieving them different ways. We have the same premises, but reason to really different conclusions.”  Bredesen is not a beacon of liberal hope and ideology, like Beto O’Rourke or Bernie Sanders–he’s a candidate who works on both sides, often to the frustration of members of his party. Though he may not win on Tuesday, working for a candidate like this has been illuminating for young Democrats.

Outside of the bounds of a progressive campus, it is clear that ideological discussions in conference rooms and offices do not provide insight into the reality of the American electorate.  Perhaps this is why many Democrats were blindsided in 2016, and why so many voters feel left out by the party as a whole. For me and other students, working on campaigns like this one in a red state has imparted a valuable lesson: to understand the majority of voters in this country, it is necessary to step outside of the blue dot and find common ground.  

About author

Katie Ward

Katie Ward is a senior and staff writer from Washington, D.C. She majors in Political Science and English, and enjoys reading, writing, and politics.

Comments
  • Karl#1

    April 20, 2019

    What are some excellent Tumblr blog sites that enable you to submit photos, to obtain even more followers?

    Reply
  • Huidinstituut#2

    April 20, 2019

    Keep up the good work! Thanks.

    Reply
  • see pron#3

    April 19, 2019

    8FThZs Thanks-a-mundo for the article post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

    Reply
  • John Deere Diagnostic and Test Manuals#4

    April 18, 2019

    wow, these are amazing, can you make some prints and sell them, lots of people would buy them nice job, wow

    Reply
  • suba me#5

    April 15, 2019

    yM4jdP Usually I do not learn post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice article.

    Reply
  • Yeezys#6

    April 13, 2019

    clarynrm Yeezy 2019,Quality blog, keep up the good work. You may check our website also!

    Reply
  • Leslie#7

    April 12, 2019

    Somebody stated that you had to purchase a domain name, or your blogs weren’t seen by everyone, is that true? Do you understand what a domain is? IF not do not address please.

    Reply
  • Araceli#8

    April 10, 2019

    Can I use Joomla to update a purely HTML coded website (I mean a website that is not designed using Joomla) ?

    Reply
  • John Deere Technical Manuals#9

    April 10, 2019

    Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We grabbed a book from our local library but I think I learned better from this post. I am very glad to see such fantastic info being shared freely out there.

    Reply
  • Nike Air VaporMax#13

    April 8, 2019

    orjgavgfgtr,Hi there, just wanted to say, I liked this article. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

    Reply
  • Visit Website#14

    April 8, 2019

    Also, what degrees (if anyone) would be required to be an independent creative writing teacher?.

    Reply
  • Yeezy 500 Utility Black#16

    April 7, 2019

    npfckoqr,Quality blog, keep up the good work. You may check our website also!

    Reply
  • Birkenstock Sandals#17

    April 7, 2019

    ccgwem,If you have any struggle to download KineMaster for PC just visit this site.

    Reply
  • John Deere Technical Manuals#18

    April 7, 2019

    i love the smile of Rachel Bilson, i got a huge crush on her*

    Reply
  • Yeezy#19

    April 6, 2019

    nauimc Yeezy Boost 350,Hi there, just wanted to say, I liked this article. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

    Reply
  • Tractor Workshop Manuals#20

    April 6, 2019

    Great post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I’m impressed! Very helpful info particularly the ultimate phase I take care of such info much. I used to be looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

    Reply
  • Balenciaga#22

    April 3, 2019

    xkfhpydo,Definitely believe that which you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to remember of.

    Reply
  • check this site out#24

    April 2, 2019

    I simply want to tell you that I am beginner to blogs and honestly loved this web-site. Most likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You amazingly come with terrific articles. With thanks for sharing your web-site.

    Reply
  • Nike Air Zoom Pegasus#25

    April 2, 2019

    tqqojfewu,If you are going for best contents like I do, just go to see this web page daily because it offers quality contents, thanks!

    Reply
  • Apex Legends Season 1#27

    March 31, 2019

    Hi there! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I am returning to your web site for more soon.

    Reply
  • Yeezy#28

    March 31, 2019

    qpccxfs,Quality blog, keep up the good work. You may check our website also!

    Reply
  • Yeezy Shoes#29

    March 31, 2019

    elmcclo Adidas Yeezy,Thanks a lot for providing us with this recipe of Cranberry Brisket. I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time but I couldn’t find the right recipe. Thanks to your help here, I can now make this dish easily.

    Reply
  • slot mobile phones lagos nigeria#30

    March 28, 2019

    It is in point of fact a nice and helpful piece of info.

    I’m glad that you simply shared this useful
    information with us. Please stay us up to date like this.
    Thank you for sharing. https://www.newsflavour.com/groups/what-should-really-look-for-in-an-advanced-laptop/

    Reply
  • React Element 87#31

    March 28, 2019

    ulpvau,Definitely believe that which you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to remember of.

    Reply
  • Yeezy#32

    March 28, 2019

    gdglrajfh,This website truly has alll of the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didn?t know who to ask.

    Reply
  • Pandora Rings#33

    March 26, 2019

    uhhuozqjdj,Thanks a lot for providing us with this recipe of Cranberry Brisket. I’ve been wanting to make this for a long time but I couldn’t find the right recipe. Thanks to your help here, I can now make this dish easily.

    Reply
  • zzp#34

    March 19, 2019

    Looks realy great! Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  • priceless#35

    March 19, 2019

    Нey this is kinda of ⲟff toⲣic Ƅut I was wanting to know if
    blogѕ use WYႽIWYG еԀitors or if you have to manually сode with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skіlls
    so I wanted tⲟ get guiⅾance from someone ԝith experience.

    Any hеlр would be greatⅼy appreciated!

    Reply
  • jordan shoes#36

    January 11, 2019

    I in addition to my pals appeared to be reading the nice information and facts located on your website and at once got a terrible suspicion I had not thanked you for those tips. All the young boys appeared to be for that reason happy to read through them and have undoubtedly been having fun with those things. Thank you for being really helpful and for getting this sort of smart subject areas most people are really wanting to discover. My very own sincere apologies for not saying thanks to earlier.

    Reply
  • pg 1#37

    January 10, 2019

    My spouse and i have been now lucky that Ervin managed to do his investigations by way of the precious recommendations he made from your own site. It is now and again perplexing just to choose to be giving for free ideas that many other people might have been making money from. And we also see we’ve got the blog owner to give thanks to for this. The specific illustrations you have made, the simple site menu, the relationships your site give support to instill – it’s many incredible, and it’s letting our son in addition to the family consider that this matter is interesting, and that is highly pressing. Thank you for all!

    Reply
  • adidas ultra boost#38

    January 9, 2019

    I have to express my respect for your kind-heartedness in support of folks that have the need for help with this content. Your real commitment to passing the solution along had become particularly effective and has without exception made guys just like me to arrive at their ambitions. The insightful help and advice implies much a person like me and further more to my office colleagues. Best wishes; from each one of us.

    Reply
  • birkin bag#39

    January 9, 2019

    I’m just commenting to make you be aware of what a awesome encounter my cousin’s child obtained browsing your web page. She came to find a lot of pieces, not to mention what it is like to possess an ideal teaching mindset to get many others easily master a variety of multifaceted issues. You actually did more than our own expectations. Many thanks for offering such useful, trustworthy, explanatory and cool guidance on your topic to Ethel.

    Reply
  • bape clothing#40

    January 8, 2019

    I am writing to let you know what a magnificent encounter our child went through using yuor web blog. She mastered so many issues, which include what it’s like to have an excellent coaching style to have other folks with ease grasp specific complex issues. You undoubtedly surpassed readers’ expected results. Thank you for giving these beneficial, healthy, informative and unique guidance on your topic to Evelyn.

    Reply
  • nike air force 1#41

    January 7, 2019

    I precisely wished to thank you very much all over again. I’m not certain the things I would have undertaken in the absence of the entire opinions documented by you regarding that subject matter. It previously was a scary case in my position, but noticing a professional technique you resolved the issue made me to weep for fulfillment. I am just happy for this guidance and in addition wish you recognize what an amazing job that you’re providing teaching people today through the use of a web site. Probably you have never met all of us.

    Reply
  • gucci belts#42

    January 6, 2019

    I simply wanted to appreciate you again. I’m not certain what I could possibly have used without these thoughts contributed by you regarding such a subject. It has been a traumatic scenario for me personally, nevertheless noticing the skilled fashion you handled it made me to jump with happiness. I will be happier for this help and in addition pray you realize what a great job that you are putting in educating other individuals via a blog. I’m certain you haven’t met all of us.

    Reply
  • adidas crazy explosive#43

    January 6, 2019

    I would like to express appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from this setting. After surfing throughout the internet and finding solutions which were not productive, I assumed my entire life was well over. Being alive without the presence of solutions to the difficulties you’ve resolved all through the guideline is a serious case, as well as ones which could have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I hadn’t noticed the website. Your personal training and kindness in taking care of all the things was precious. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not come upon such a solution like this. I am able to now relish my future. Thanks a lot very much for the expert and amazing guide. I won’t be reluctant to refer your blog post to any individual who will need guide on this subject matter.

    Reply
  • yeezys#44

    January 5, 2019

    I want to show my appreciation to the writer for bailing me out of this particular difficulty. Because of looking through the world-wide-web and obtaining strategies which were not powerful, I assumed my life was gone. Being alive without the presence of strategies to the issues you’ve fixed through your good blog post is a critical case, and ones which could have adversely affected my entire career if I had not come across your web site. Your main knowledge and kindness in controlling everything was crucial. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come across such a subject like this. I am able to at this point look forward to my future. Thanks so much for your expert and amazing guide. I won’t hesitate to suggest the blog to anybody who desires assistance about this subject matter.

    Reply
  • michael kors outlet online#45

    January 4, 2019

    I have to show my thanks to you just for bailing me out of this type of incident. Because of looking out throughout the internet and getting tricks which are not powerful, I was thinking my life was over. Existing devoid of the answers to the issues you have fixed through your entire site is a serious case, as well as the ones which could have badly damaged my entire career if I hadn’t come across your blog post. Your own training and kindness in controlling a lot of stuff was excellent. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not encountered such a solution like this. It’s possible to at this point look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for your high quality and result oriented help. I will not be reluctant to recommend your site to anyone who wants and needs recommendations about this problem.

    Reply
  • yeezy boost 350#46

    January 3, 2019

    I want to show some thanks to the writer for bailing me out of such a condition. Because of browsing throughout the world wide web and seeing principles which are not beneficial, I was thinking my entire life was done. Existing devoid of the answers to the issues you’ve resolved by way of your posting is a critical case, and ones which may have adversely affected my career if I had not noticed the website. Your own personal capability and kindness in maneuvering a lot of stuff was important. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come across such a subject like this. I’m able to at this point look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for your high quality and results-oriented help. I won’t hesitate to propose the website to any individual who would like guidance about this problem.

    Reply
  • yeezy boost 350 v2#47

    January 3, 2019

    I simply needed to say thanks yet again. I do not know the things I would have gone through in the absence of the ways contributed by you regarding that problem. Entirely was a frightful dilemma in my view, but spending time with a new expert tactic you treated that made me to weep over joy. Extremely grateful for this help and as well , believe you are aware of a great job that you are carrying out instructing many people with the aid of a web site. More than likely you’ve never encountered all of us.

    Reply
  • reebok shoes#48

    January 2, 2019

    Thank you so much for giving everyone an extraordinarily spectacular opportunity to discover important secrets from this site. It is often so brilliant and jam-packed with a good time for me personally and my office acquaintances to search your site on the least three times a week to read the latest stuff you have got. And definitely, we’re certainly amazed concerning the spectacular advice you serve. Certain 1 facts in this post are certainly the best we have all had.

    Reply
  • james harden shoes#49

    January 2, 2019

    My husband and i were now relieved when Chris managed to carry out his analysis with the precious recommendations he obtained in your web pages. It is now and again perplexing just to choose to be freely giving ideas which often the others could have been making money from. And we do understand we need the writer to be grateful to for this. The main explanations you made, the simple blog menu, the relationships you help to promote – it’s got all amazing, and it’s helping our son in addition to our family feel that that concept is cool, and that is exceptionally vital. Many thanks for the whole lot!

    Reply
  • nike polo#50

    January 1, 2019

    I wish to show my appreciation to you for bailing me out of this setting. Just after browsing through the the net and coming across tricks which were not helpful, I assumed my entire life was gone. Existing without the presence of solutions to the issues you’ve fixed through your guide is a critical case, as well as those that might have in a wrong way damaged my career if I had not encountered your blog. Your understanding and kindness in dealing with the whole lot was valuable. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had not encountered such a stuff like this. I can also at this point look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot very much for your skilled and sensible guide. I won’t hesitate to recommend the sites to any person who desires tips on this situation.

    Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *