Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Oxford residents and Miamians ‘feel the Bern’

By Mary Schrott, Senior Staff Writer

As the sun set Wednesday evening, Susan Eacker held up a small doll to a crowd of just over a dozen Bernie Sanders supporters at Kofenya.

"I brought my Bernie man," Eacker said to the group.

The rag doll dangled in front of her with its crazy gray string hair and a fastened-on "Bernie 2016" button that several in the crowd also wore.

Eacker is a retired Miami history professor and delegate for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Ohio's eighth congressional district, which includes Oxford. She organized the "Oxford for Bernie" meeting on Wednesday.

"We are going over a new cool Bernie phone-banking system and I will also point them to the resources online," Eacker said. "We need to get out the vote."

Sanders won Vermont, Oklahoma, Colorado and Minnesota in the Super Tuesday primary election earlier this week, while his party competitor, Hillary Clinton, won Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

"Even in the states he lost overall, he won overwhelmingly the 18- to 24-year-old age group," Eacker said. "The college vote, young people, millennials, that's what's going to propel Bernie Sanders to the White House."

First-year Nick Froehlich is also a delegate for Sanders in Ohio's first congressional district, which includes parts of Cincinnati and borders both Kentucky and Indiana.

"I absolutely love Bernie Sanders and want to do everything I can for his campaign," Froehlich said. "It's an honor to represent him."

Froehlich, who also runs the "Ohio Students for Bernie Sanders" group, described Sanders' integrity as the main reason he supports him.

"He's been ahead of the curve for so many years," Froehlich said. "He just speaks to me, he's someone I can trust."

Trust is something Eacker feels is important for young voters. She believes college brings a new sense of independence to students that they haven't experienced before.

"Miami students have overwhelmingly been Republican," Eacker said. "A lot are mimicking their parents, but I see that changing in students. They are thinking for themselves and questioning all those assumptions their parents drilled into them."

Froehlich agreed with Eacker, and said Miami's student body is distinctly skewed one way.

"We produced Paul Ryan, so there's that," Froehlich said. "But there's a growing attribution to Bernie and the idea of independent thought. Some students haven't been thinking for themselves before."

Miami has the largest chapter of College Republicans in Ohio, one that Froehlich describes as a "well-oiled machine."

Though Miami's College Democrats - to which Froehlich belongs - is a smaller organization, Froehlich hopes to unite the parties over an issue he sees as bipartisan: Donald Trump.

"We want to lead a coalition to prove just how terrible Donald Trump is," Froehlich said.

Froehlich said he wants to work with Democrats and Republicans on this issue, reaching across party lines.

In addition to a "Stop Trump" campaign, Froehlich said College Democrats are planning demonstrations on gun violence and are working with Green Oxford on a climate change presentation.

Climate change is an issue that brought senior Kelsy Chesser to Wednesday evening's Bernie meeting.

"If you ignore the environment, you're basically saying you don't care about the future," Chesser said. "[Sanders is] the only candidate that's authentic and representing the issues that matter."

Chesser has supported Sanders since the beginning of the school year. She said she didn't agree with Hillary but knew she wanted to vote Democrat.

Like Chesser, who at first didn't know about Sanders, Froehlich said students have misconceptions about his candidate.

"Everyone on this campus is convinced he is an old crazy socialist," Froehlich said. "That's the furthest thing from the truth. We are going to get the facts out."

Froehlich is planning an event for Sanders at Pulley Diner during which he plans to organize supporters into four groups: a phone bank, letter to the editor writers, door-to-door canvassers and flyer distributors.

As for the rest of the primary election, Froehlich is hopeful.

"In the Midwest and North, Bernie is just getting started," Frohlich said.

Eacker also has hope for the rest of Sanders' campaign.

"Bernie is not getting out of the race," Eacker said. "He has a 50-state strategy and intends to run in all 50. He will not let all his volunteers down."