University Democrats hosted Jaclyn Uresti, Texas state director of Hillary for America, on Wednesday night to discuss presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s traction with voters in Texas.
Hillary for America is a nation-wide grassroots campaign to elect Clinton for president. With over 2 million donors, the campaign holds events for supporters, provides Hillary’s policy plans and promotes volunteer involvement.
Uresti discussed balancing state and national policies, reducing voter apathy and increasing voter turnout among young voters. Uresti said one of the campaign’s main goals is to increase civic engagement among young voters.
“Donald Trump doesn’t talk about the vast majority of things that young people are worried about, [such as college debt],” said Uresti. “By learning why voting matters early on, young voters can start to realize the impact they can have on something as big as a presidential election, and Hillary is the best candidate for the youth vote.”
Neuroscience freshman Veronica Herrera said Uresti encouraged her to make a difference and get people to the polls.
“My parents are Democrats, so I’m trying to figure out my own views,” said Herrera. “[It’s important to get people to the polls now because] people are discovering their values right now.”
Joseph Trahan, public relations junior and communications director of University Democrats, said UDems has registered several hundred voters and tabled at high-traffic areas on campus since the start of the semester.
“The most direct way that we as an organization can impact students is by making sure they are civically engaged and they take on the responsibility of voting,” Trahan said. “That’s our starting point.”
Trahan said he thinks that Clinton is unlikely to win Texas as a swing state, but the increasing Hispanic population offers promise for a blue victory in 2020.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Texas has the nation’s second largest Hispanic population and more than 4.8 million eligible Hispanic voters, making it one of the most valuable battleground states. A Washington Post poll on Sept. 6 based on more than 74,000 registered voters showed Clinton beating Trump by one percent in Texas.
“Hillary for America is here to have a goal for Texas and to build infrastructure,” said Uresti. “Clinton lost by sixteen points in 2012, so to even see one poll within 7 points, 5 points, and then 1 point up, means we can start to turn Texas blue.”
Early voting in Texas occurs from Oct. 24–Nov. 4. Election Day is on Nov. 8.