For most Bowdoin students and faculty, the past week has been a time for brief conversations and announcements about how class structures and schedules may be impacted by the results—or lack thereof—of next week’s elections. But for Professor of Government Michael Franz and the 75 students in the two sections of his Campaigns and Elections class, next week will provide the culmination of two months of analyzing political data and studying election history.
When Bowdoin announced that seniors would not be returning to campus this fall, Sophia Salzer ’21 decided to take the semester off, instead dedicating her time and energy to Maine Planned Parenthood’s campaign for Sara Gideon, the state’s Democratic candidate for U.S.
In the lead-up to Election Day, the Bowdoin College Republicans have been focusing their programming away from organizing and activism and toward internal, issue-focused discussions. The club has elected not to endorse a candidate in any election, including the presidential race, which co-president Oron Steingrub ’22 called a “typical” practice.
While the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will certainly make this election unlike any other, the Bowdoin Democrats (Bowdoin Dems) are still offering interested students multiple opportunities each week to participate in Democratic organizing. Between thrice-weekly phone banks, twice-weekly group walks to the polls in Brunswick and in-person canvassing, Bowdoin Dems’ eight-person officer team has created ways for students, both remote and on-campus, to get involved as Election Day quickly approaches.
Last Friday, local candidates for the Maine State Senate, Maine State House and Brunswick Town Council congregated on a Zoom screen to share their campaign platforms and address questions posed by Bowdoin students. The forum, sponsored by Bowdoin Votes, Bowdoin Democrats, Bowdoin Republicans and the Government and Legal Studies Department, was moderated by McKeen Center Associate Director for Service and Leadership Andrew Lardie and Bowdoin Votes fellow Wilder Short ’22.
On Thursday night, former Attorney General Eric Holder participated in a Zoom conversation with members of the Bowdoin community. Holder is best known for his service during the Obama administration from 2009 to 2015 as the first African American Attorney General in United States history, but he has also served in previous presidential administrations, including as Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton administration and as Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia during the Reagan administration.
This Tuesday, as Americans gathered at home to watch the presidential debate, Bowdoin students tuned in to Bowdoin Votes’ Debate Watch Party, the group’s effort to provide a nonpartisan environment for engagement with the presidential race.