Both University of Connecticut political organizations and students agree that grassroot movements and recent national administration changes were the cause of recent success for Connecticut Democrats in last week’s municipal elections.
On Election Night, Senator Christopher Murphy (CT-D) tweeted a list of 14 Connecticut towns that went from Republican to Democratic control.
“Results still coming in, but CT towns that went from R to D control: Farmington, Glastonbury, Southington, Guilford, Bristol, Clinton, South Windsor, etc. etc. etc. Wow,” Murphy tweeted. “(The) flips in control from R to D keep coming…Trumbull, New Britain Town Council, Newtown, New Fairfield, North Stonington, Groton, Lyme. Wow. Wow. Wow.”
The change in power can be attributed to grassroots movements, Murphy tweeted just seven minutes after the second list.
College Democrats agreed with Murphy and said that the turnover was due to backlash against the current national administration.
“I’ve been on the ground working and I’m seeing an anti-Trump movement. You didn’t have this anti-Trump movement in the 2016 election. This is happening now in 2017,” Stevie Della-Giustina, a seventh-semester political science major and College Democrats president said. “(In response to this), you see a lot more women running and a lot more Democrats. A lot of women in suburbs that would typically go Republican are now mobilized on the left. We’re angry about the situation going on and we want to take it up and fix it.”
UConn students on the other side of the aisle agree this is the cause, but hope that it does not remain the reason for local changes.
“State issues are very important, and in looking at how the state has been operated for decades, I would hope that people don’t focus on national politics,” seventh-semester political science and economics and finance dual-degree major and College Republicans President Tim Sullivan said. “In a blue state like Connecticut, you’re going to see a lot more turnout from Democrats. I’m not sure this is a forecast for 2018 and I would hope it’s not.”
Both College Republicans and College Democrats at UConn said they aim to spark political conversation and engagement in today’s youth through guest speakers and debate.
For UConn students, the national administration changes are to blame for the local swing.
“I’m happy with (at least) 14 towns changing, but I hope to see more in the future. I also think it’s important to note that change to note where we stand as a country,” Marisa Melluzzo, a first-semester ACES pre-teaching special education major and English concentration said. “If the people are talking so much about the 2016 election being split 50/50, you wouldn’t be seeing this change.”
Aside from the cause of the change, first-semester pre-teaching major Sara O’Connell is glad to see the shift in local power.
“It feels like the things people have been saying are finally being heard and times are changing,” O’Connell said.
Luke Hajdasz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.