The Scripps Political Spectrum

Posted: November 2, 2012

Ambika Bist ’15

With elections nearing, Scripps students may be wondering where to turn for information on today’s political scene or how to get involved. Luckily, The Claremont Colleges have active Republican and Democratic clubs and a newly founded Libertarian organization to help get students discussing, debating, and becoming civically engaged members of the American voting system.

Talking to Ambika Bist ’15, secretary of the Republicans of The Claremont Colleges (RCC), Julia Markham-Cameron ’13, former vice president and social chair of the Democrats of The Claremont Colleges (DCC), and Rachel Davidson PO ’14, co-founder of the Claremont Libertarians, it’s clear that one thing all the clubs have in common — despite their conflicting political views — is a dedication to open-minded discussion about the issues.

“The RCC is a group of students who both discuss political ideas and different viewpoints and volunteer for the causes and candidates we believe in,” Ambika says. “We’re a very open group and are constantly learning from each other.”

While the Claremont Libertarians are just beginning to get settled, Rachel also cites dialog as one of the club’s primary goals. “By creating a space for openly discussing libertarianism, we hope to facilitate more open and friendly discussions, and resist furthering unproductive stereotypes about each others’ views,” she says.

Julia Markham-Cameron ’13

This year, it’s more important than ever.

While the DCC hosts plenty of events, from phone-banking to letter-writing to putting on an annual “Ted Kennedy Appreciation Night,” Julia is most proud of the club’s devotion to voter registration, especially essential during an election year. “Students have a notoriously low voting rate, and we are making an effort to change that on the Claremont campuses.”

The RCC has also been busy preparing for the upcoming election, primarily by getting information out. “We’re hosting debate viewing parties,” says Ambika, “discussing the pros and cons of each candidate, and encouraging members to bring their friends to meetings.”

Although she has been involved with politics since well before she could vote, Ambika finds that the all-women’s community at Scripps has aided her experience in the RCC.

“I’m proud of being a female member of the RCC, and a Scripps member,” Ambika says. “I’m actually the first Scripps student on the board, and possibly the first female.”

Ambika, Julia, and Rachel all cite the economy when explaining why college students should care about politics.

Rachel Davidson PO’14

“The actions of the government affect everyone,” Rachel says. “Today’s fragile economic situation makes it especially important to consider new ways of addressing the growing national debt that our generation will inherit.”

“As a senior, I am painfully aware of the economic situation in the country,” says Julia. “Even with a degree from a top institution like Scripps, I’m not assured a job next year.

“Right now, we as a country have the potential to make enormous changes for the better, and I feel that this election is really going to determine the course of change in America.”

No matter what your political view, Scripps College encourages all of its students, staff, and faculty to exercise their rights as Americans and vote on November 6.

— Ann Mayhew ’13

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