BY MICHELLE DEPINHO AND DANIEL YNFANTE
NEWS/MANAGING EDITOR AND STAFF WRITER
That’s right, Provost William Clyde, originally from Connecticut, has been endorsed as the Green Party candidate for U.S. Congress in Connecticut’s 2nd District.
“Everybody I told this story to said two things. One, you’re going to get slaughtered. You’ve got no chance, Clyde said. “But, the things you are saying need to get said and they’re true.”
Clyde’s decision to align himself with a third party came as a result of his varying viewpoints on many key issues. Unaffiliated with any party, Clyde had to recruit 3,000 signatures just to be placed on a ballot.
With help from his campaign advisers, Clyde reached out to the Green Party with hopes of winning their support.
“Historically, it [Green Party] was about environmental stuff, but when I looked on their 10 key values, it really lined up remarkably well with what I was saying…” said Clyde about how his viewpoints lined up with those of the Green Party.
“I feel lucky because I was very honest about exactly what I was thinking, what I was going to say, and what I was going to do, and even though it doesn’t align perfectly with everything, it aligned with all the big things. …,” he said.
For Clyde, those big things include campaign reform, improving education, increasing access to healthcare and protecting the environment for future generations.
Clyde’s campaign reflects his commitment to reforming the way politics run, one of his key campaign issues according to his website. He is limiting fundraising by denying donations of over $100 and keeping his campaign roster to a short list of a few interns and advisers.
“There are some systematic problems in even the way we choose leaders that seems like it’s not going to get fixed this way,” Clyde said.
Clyde’s background in economics, academia and school administration also helped shape his platforms on education and healthcare reform.
But before Clyde got the endorsement of a political party, he needed the endorsement of his boss, Manhattan College President Brennan O’Donnell.
“Basically, he [Clyde] came to me and said ‘look, I’m simply going to concentrate all my external professional development time that I usually use in the course of this period for the campaign, and I’m going to devote it to this because I feel passionate about making a difference and I think I can offer something out there’,” O’Donnell said about his initial conversation with Clyde on his running for Congress.
“… I have no doubts that knowing his work ethic and his energy that he can pull it off.”
After O’Donnell met with Clyde about Clyde’s new endeavor, he alerted faculty to the news through an email.
“…I am confident that he is more than capable of handling the current level of outside activity without detriment to his obligations to the College,” O’Donnell wrote.
That outside activity will begin to pick up in October when Clyde will to attend debates and other public functions as part of the party campaign process.
Clyde plans on working on his campaign on the weekends, scheduled vacation days and various development days. Instead of traveling extensively to campaign, Clyde said he wants to use social media to reach a wider audience than he could normally generate as a third party candidate.
“You’re kind of in an enviable position,” Clyde said. “Nobody expects anything. You’re kind of like the underdog.”
The Green Party of Connecticut has a losing record at the polls that puts Clyde in that underdog position. In the past 10 years, nine individuals running for office on the Green Party of Connecticut’s ticket have been elected to local offices according to election results from the party’s website. No individual running for Congress with the Green Party of Connecticut has been elected in the past decade according that same information.
Regardless, Clyde’s nomination has generated some media interest from his alma mater DePauw University and other local Connecticut news outlets, some of which have expressed interest in endorsing him.
“It’s valuable to get the ideas out there because who knows? Somebody else might hear them and somebody else might do it in a way that works if I don’t,” he said.