With Hillary Clinton effectively claiming the Democratic nomination over Sen. Bernie Sanders Tuesday night, Ohio State’s College Democrats are hoping for unity among liberal voters around the former secretary of state.
“When you look at the contrast between Clinton and (GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump), there couldn’t be a more clear difference in candidates,” said Jake Vasilj, president of College Democrats.
That difference, he said, should bring Sanders supporters over to Clinton’s camp for the general election.
“Regardless of who you supported, what we’re going to get (with Clinton) is a more progressive America, and that’s a net good,” said Vasilj, a third-year in political science.
Though he was disappointed that Sanders would not be the nominee, Evan Lewis, a second-year in political science who voted for the Independent senator from Vermont in the Ohio primary, said he would vote for Clinton in the general election.
“I mean I’ve always said that no matter who is the nominee, you have to prevent a Trump presidency,” Lewis said.
Although Lewis remains critical of Clinton, he said is confident in his choice to vote for her.
“I don’t subscribe to this notion that Hillary is this terrible person. It sucks that Bernie lost, but at all costs you have to prevent Trump,” Lewis reiterated.
For some OSU students, however, the prospect of backing Clinton in the general election was less clear.
Sarah Lukowski ran phone banks for Sanders on OSU’s campus as a campaign volunteer, and she is a pledged delegate for Sanders, meaning she’ll vote for him at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.
“As a pledged delegate for Bernie I am currently holding that judgment (to back Clinton) until after the nominating process is actually over, which is at the convention,” said Lukowski, a graduate student studying developmental psychology, in an email.
Both Lewis and Lukowski remained positive about the results of Sanders’ run, which he still has yet to suspend.
“One of the things the Sanders campaign did was bring thousands of people who didn’t previously participate in politics into the process, and I do hope they stay engaged, though in which way is a personal choice,” Lukowski said.
Vasilj said that College Democrats has a plan to unite OSU’s Democratic voters by the fall.
“I think the biggest thing that all Democrats can do is recognize all of the amazing accomplishments that Sanders has made,” Vasilj said. He added that Sanders brought new voters into the party and revolutionized fundraising by targeting small donors.
“Sanders has had a big impact on the party, and we should thank him,” Vasilj said.