Politics are a touchy subject in today’s tense political climate. It seems republicans and democrats agree on few, if any, topics. Despite this, two political groups at ETSU had a lot to say about the midterm elections.
With the upcoming midterm elections soon approaching, students on campus are hoping for different outcomes while also wanting to break down this strong political divide.
Tiffany Cook, who is a member of the executive board for the ETSU Conservative Coalition, believes the upcoming elections are going to be extremely important.
“In terms of all of the elections coming up, this election is really crucial,” Cook said.
Cook believes republican candidate Bill Lee, who is running against democratic candidate Karl Dean, has a good chance of winning based on where he stands on certain issues.
“Bill Lee does have a pretty strong lead,” Cook said. “I really admire his efforts to rehabilitate along with incarcerate prisoners and drug use.”
Austin Cable, who is the president of the Young Democratic Socialists of America club at ETSU, feels Lee has a good chance of winning because of the large republican demographic in Tennessee.
“I feel that Bill Lee will probably win the governor’s race just from the shear fact of the number of conservatives in East Tennessee,” Cable said.
Cable, who spent his summer campaigning for Phil Bredesen, hopes he will win against his republican opponent Marsha Blackburn.
“I think that Bredesen will keep it within points of the margin if he doesn’t win,” Cable said. “He is moderate enough to get enough conservative votes from Blackburn to win the election.”
Cook couldn’t say definitively who she believes will win the Senate race, explaining the tightness of the race makes it hard to tell.
“I think that that race between Blackburn and Bredesen is far too close at this time to tell,” she said.
Regardless of its outcome, the negativity from both the republican and democratic side of the race is bothersome to Cook, who says it’s gotten out of control.
“The component of that race that I’m really bothered by right now is the amount of negativity coming from both sides,” Cook said. “I think that’s spiraled out of control in that race.”
Cook feels this political divide can be seen between republican students and democrat students on ETSU’s campus.
“I feel like right now, there is a very strong political divide,” she said “I think it’s upsetting that we have such a strong divide. Right now, people are focusing too much on the names of parties and not enough on the issues at hand.”
Since starting the YDSA club, Cable has seen how prevalent the political division can be between students.
“Nationally, we are definitely divided,” he said. “As far as ETSU campus, I think that with me starting the YDSA club, I’ve gotten a sense of how much division there is in ETSU, even though I think it’s pretty latent.”
Cable believes that while students on campus are willing to work together in politics, some issues make discussions between right and left-wing supporters difficult.
“We’re willing to work together,” he said. “But as far as being able to discuss things, it seems very difficult.”
Cook says the strict line between republicans and democrats is making the division between supporters worse.
“The line has been too strictly drawn between parties right now,” she said.
Cable wants to improve the political climate of ETSU by working together with the conservative groups on campus to give people the opportunity to learn more about politics.
“I’ve taken steps in reaching out and saying, ‘Hey let’s work together, and let’s increase political awareness campus wide and not just sit back and increase our group numbers,’” he said.
Despite the outcome of the elections, Cook thinks everyone should agree on one thing.
“Ultimately, both conservatives and liberals, no matter how far they lean to either side, have the same goal,” she said. “Everybody wants happy, healthy and successful Americans.”