November 19, 2014
While Democrats lost the senate in the midterm elections, Democratic students have a plan for how to keep the White House in 2016: Hillary Clinton.
Penn Ready for Hillary, a student-led group that was formed at the beginning of the semester, has become an active political group on campus. The group acts as a campus representative of Ready for Hillary, a national super political action committee that raises and spends money in an effort to elect Clinton in 2016, if she decides to run.
“This organization is completely centered around action,” College sophomore and Penn for Hillary’s Director of External Affairs Paul-Julien Burg said. “Penn for Hillary is really an organization to promote being engaged in politics. It’s also making sure that the hopeful-President Hillary Clinton will have an established network that can help her.”
While early efforts this semester focused on the Penn community, Penn for Hillary has recently began to look beyond Penn. In the last month, the group has teamed up with students from Drexel Univerisity and Bryn Mawr College to canvass and “discuss strategies for building and increasing support on both of our campuses,” Mitchell McVeigh, College sophomore and co-president of Penn for Hillary, said .
Clinton has consistently remained the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. According to an October poll by ABC News/Washington Post in Iowa, a crucial state for any presidential candidate, 63.4 percent of Democrats support Clinton, 11.4 percent support Vice President Joe Biden and 9.8 percent support Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
While the election remains nearly two years away, initial efforts by Democratic supporters have solidified Clinton as the Democratic frontrunner, with college campuses playing an integral role.
“A lot of the work we are doing of working with students for Hillary is really to build this group and movement from the ground up, to run this campus organization, and to get out there and spread the word,” Rachel Schneider, director of Ready for Hillary’s Young Americans program, said. “We are building a national movement to show Hillary the support she has all over the country and that people want to see her run, and to build the kind of base that people need should she run for president.”
“The University of Pennsylvania students for Hillary team has actually been one of our strongest, and it has been really exciting to see the work that students are doing on your campus,” Schneider added.
Ready for Hillary has an early lead in fundraising and support. According to the Federal Election Commission, Ready for Hillary raised $2 million and spent $2.1 million from July 1 to Sept. 30. In contrast, RAND PAC, a super PAC supporting potential presidential nominee Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), raised $480,363 and spent $598,000 during the same period. RAND PAC did not respond to a request for comment.
“I strongly believe she will be our best candidate going forward, even if you don’t agree with everything she believes in,” Burg said. “There is so much to do, and the very least Penn for Hillary can offer is a network of people who are all interested in these issues.”