Manhattan Caucus is a column in the news section, which will run weekly until Election Day, offering students a voice in the ongoing presidential elections.
F.B.I. Director James B. Comey, in a letter to Congress released Friday afternoon, detailed that emails potentially linked to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server were found on the laptop of former Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, whose computer had been seized as part of an investigation into Weiner’s allegedly lude correspondence with a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina. The F.B.I. is currently searching the emails for potentially mishandled classified information. Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, a top advisor to Clinton.
“In this election right now, everyone brings up the emails so much as a way to like discredit Hillary and say that she shouldn’t be president,” senior Katelyn Conroy said. “But it’s not a real reason. Emails aren’t a real reason not to be president.”
“Look at the Republican nominee. He says careless stuff all of the time,” Conroy said of Donald J. Trump, the opposing nominee. “Donald Trump said things like ‘nasty woman’ and ‘bad hombres,’ like that’s pretty careless.”
Senior George Schlink, a self-described liberal, is not going to change his opinion of Clinton until the F.B.I. discloses whether or not Weiner’s laptop contained classified information.
“It depends on what that information is. Until I know what it is, there’s no way I can know how it’s going to affect my opinion,” Schlink said. “I don’t particularly trust Hillary Clinton, but I don’t really trust any other politician… especially any other presidential candidate in this election cycle. I’d say I trust Hillary the most out of all of them, but that’s not saying much.”
Freshman Jesse Duarte does not trust Clinton all that much either.
“I don’t trust her because over the past year, she’s changed her positions on many issues,” freshman Jesse Duarte said. “And I don’t like that, that swaying mentality.” But Duarte, whose top issue is immigration, still prefers Clinton to Trump.
Many students on campus are getting involved with campaigns. Students Alannah Boyle and Micaela Bishop have become involved with the Clinton campaign.
Boyle is trying to her best to get as involved as she can, while still balancing her obligations at Manhattan College.
“In my very limited free time, I just go on the website and, you can just phone bank from your phone,” Boyle said.
“I think this election is obviously very close in a lot of the swing states, and unfortunately being in New York and being a student, I’m not really able to get to many swing states,” Boyle said. Boyle’s phone banking is one way for her to rech voters in crucial states such as Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.
Boyle plans to visit Philadelphia this weekend to volunteer for Clinton’s campaign. Pennsylvania is also a critical swing state, and the campaign is busing volunteers from the Bronx to Philadelphia to canvass.
Over the summer, Bishop volunteered as an event coordinator for the Clinton campaign.
“In August, [Clinton] had a famous fundraising week in the Hamptons, so I did three events out there. One had forty people, including Tim Kaine, and the next had 60 people,” Bishop said. “We just worked from small event to small event. Huge donors. For example, a photo opportunity was $10,000.”
Bishop got involved with the Clinton campaign through her work with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s active 2020 re-election campaign.
“As we get deeper into the campaign season, there’s a little more crossing of paths [between the two campaigns],” Bishop said. Bishop is a Democrat, and a strong supporter of Clinton.
“I’ve been following Hillary since she was the Senator in New York, and then going onto Secretary of State,” Bishop said. “I do think that she is the best for the job,” she added.
“Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion in this election, and on Nov. 9, half the country is going to be very, very upset,” Boyle said. “For me, if Hillary were to lose, I want to be able to look in the mirror and say, ‘I did everything within my…everything that I could possibly do to help the outcome of the election.”
Junior Ryan Quattromani is active in Republican congressional races, volunteering for Congressman Lee M. Zeldin—who represents New York’s 1st Congressional District, on Long Island—and for Republican candidate H. Russell Taub, who is running to represent Rhode Island’s 1st district.
Quattromani, a Rhode Island native, has been involved in the state’s politics for several years. In 2014, he was the volunteer coalition coordinator for Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung, who was defeated by Democrat Gina Raimondo 41 percent to 36 percent.
“Rhode Island’s tough for any Republican. I’ve lived with it,” Quattromani said. Rhode Island has a Democratic Governor, two Democratic Senators and two Democratic Representatives, including David N. Cicilline, Taub’s opponent.
“Russ is pretty confident he can win,” Quattromani said. “Some of the polls have us about even. So, between now and Election Day, we have to make the push to get us over Cicilline.”
Quattromani is also the events director the New York Federation of College Republicans, the organization which connected him to the Zeldin campaign. Quattromani has campaigned and knocked on doors across the 1st district, including in Southampton, Smithtown, Riverhead and Medford.
“I think he’s good for the economy out there, he’s good for small business, he’s getting a lot of federal funding to support the infrastructure out in that area. The roads are absolutely terrible right now,” Quattromani said of Zeldin and his work.
Quattromani is confident that Zeldin will defeat his opponent, Democrat Anna Thone-Holst with ease. A Newsday poll released Oct. 8 showed Zeldin leading Thorne-Holst 53 percent to 38 percent in the district.
Quattromani believes participation is important, and he is on a committee at Manhattan College to increase political participation, along with sophomore Emilia Dronkert, assistant professor Margaret Groarke, Ph.D., assistant director of student engagement Michael Steele and director of communications Peter McHugh.
“You should want your presence to be noted. You should want people to know that they can’t ignore your opinion,” Groarke said of the importance of voting. “I think that casting a ballot marks that you, personally, the people of your age group, the people of the community that you live in, expect to be heard and paid attention to.”
Manhattan Caucus will take next week off, but will return one last time on Nov. 15 to discuss the results.