Who Does Politics Better: Rand or Diane?
The Yahoo! Digital Democracy conference, held at Drake, covered a wide range of issues with a similarly diverse group of speakers. How to win a digital campaign, cyber security, and the role of social media in activism were just a few of the topics discussed. And, in case you were not paying close attention, a presidential candidate even made an appearance: Sen. Rand Paul. If you missed him, don’t feel bad. In fact, most of the students in attendance either didn’t know or seemed not to care, mostly because Orange is the New Black actress Diane Guerrero was also in attendance. And despite Drake being a very politically active school, Netflix will always dominate a college campus.
Paul spoke roughly halfway through the event, covering his normal issues such as NSA surveillance, as well as a few other more technology centered questions. While the crowd, predominately students with a decent mix of young adults, was clearly engaged, they certainly were not awestruck by anything he said. This is not exactly surprising, particularly as his last visit to Drake seemed flat, disappointing many students. Simply put, expectations were low, and he did not do much to exceed them. His lackluster performances at Drake are even more concerning because of the fact he is running as the anti-establishment candidate, supposedly relying heavily on the youth’s disenchantment with the current system. If all you had to look at was Drake’s perception of the senator, his chances seem bleak.
On the other hand, Guerrero knows how to work with young people. The actress, whose family was deported at a young age, has been a strong voice in the immigration reform world. Upon her exiting the stage, the whole building became a madhouse. A huge crowd of students rushed up to her, hoping to get photos taken with her. She worked the crowd well, taking a picture with nearly anyone who wanted one. Simply seeing the excitement surrounding her made Paul seem even older, with his single-file, wait-patiently-for-your-turn style at his event.
Sure, you could make the argument that students were just more excited because literally every student with access to Netflix has or should have seen OITNB, but I think it was more than that. Paul’s approach to accessing the youth seems to be limited to photo ops, which will never be the same as truly being young. Guerrero, the 29-year-old activist, simply is more engaging. At least for know, it seems Diane Guerrero does politics better than Rand.
Tunink is a sophomore political science and law, politics, and society major from Waukee, Iowa. He enjoys running on the Drake cross country team and binging on Netflix. Follow him on Twitter.