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Campbellsville University political science students learn about politics during trip to Iowa State Caucus


By Matthew Taylor
Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University political science students learned about politics as they attended the Iowa State Caucus Jan. 29-Feb. 3.

Dr. Shawn Williams, associate professor of political science and one of the leaders of the trip, said, “The trip gave the students a chance to see how politics work and how the Democratic Party process works.”

He was accompanied on the trip by Azucena Trejo Williams, assistant professor of art and design.

The six students were Jason Beasley, a junior of Richmond; Madison James, a sophomore of Campbellsville; Carson Kovalic, a senior of Winchester; Lydia Manley, a senior of Russellville; Rebeca Scurt, a senior of Austria; and Malcom Walker, a junior of Cynthiana.

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Shawn Williams, Madison James, Carson Kovalic, Jason Beasley, Rebeca Scurt, Lydia Manley and Malcom Walker. (Photo by Azucena Trejo Williams)

Since 1972, Iowa has always held the first caucus for the Democratic Party. A caucus is held in each state for the first part of the nomination of candidates for the Democratic Party.

This was the second time Campbellsville University students were able to go to the Iowa State Caucus.

The students worked together to decide what events would be in the itinerary for the trip. They were able to attend eight rally events for the caucus. Each event took roughly four hours allowing the students two events for each day up to the caucus.

Students stayed in three different places, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines in Iowa, but they travelled to seven different places within Iowa to be at each event on the itinerary.

The students were able to see each of the candidates who were in the running to be a nominee for the Democratic Party. Some of the candidates did a meet and greet after their rally was over, allowing the students to interact with them.

“I was able to learn a lot about the candidates themselves, but also learn about the rallies they held,” Manley said. “Learning how the caucus system compares to a primary system was also really awesome to experience too.”

Some of the students reported the caucus event was very chaotic.

“The actual caucus was pretty chaotic, and it showed me why the results took so long to come in,” Manley said.

“Another issue was a noticeable lack of organization,” James said. “Different groups were going about the process differently; there wasn’t really any communication between organizers.”

“It was apparent that there was a much larger turnout than expected,” Scurt said. “Some people had to caucus out in the hallway, which made finding out who was voting for who difficult.”

“Given the ordeal and chaos surrounding the caucuses, I feel that Iowa will lose its first-place spot in the caucus in future years,” Kovalic said.


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