The Next Step for YSU Democrats

By Jordan Unger

Democrats are likely still trying to cope with Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election last week. The Youngstown State University College Democrats met Monday to discuss the election results and how the party will move forward.

Dylan Edwards, president of YSU College Democrats, said the purpose of the meeting was not to dwell on the party’s loss.

“The only way we prevent this loss from being a crippling loss to legitimately everything we hold dear is if we take organizations like this and organizations throughout the community,” Edwards said. “We try to take the values we hold dear and hold people accountable to them.”

The group discussed issues that they believed will arise in the Youngstown area from the election results. Ernie Barkett, a political science student, said local issues are key to making a difference.

“Locally we’re better off,” Barkett said, “That’s where this group has a better ability to help out.”

Barkett said fracking will be important to look at, especially after the Community Bill of Rights failed for the sixth time on the Youngstown ballot.

“I think fracking is a huge thing we’re going to get hit with,” Barkett said. “Now Trump is going to start pushing that more … Youngstown is a targeted spot, and I know the American Petroleum Institute [takes an interest in the] Mahoning County.”

Attention is also being given to the Nondiscrimination Clause in Youngstown, which the group wants to get the city to re-evaluate. They said the current statute indicates that members of the LGBT community are protected from discrimination under state law, but Edwards said there isn’t anything within the city that does so.

“The city, though it is in contradiction with state law, technically can make those claims [as a home rule],” Edwards said.

Other issues discussed focused more directly on a campus level. Katie Morrison, a student at the event, said the group needs to look into refinancing student loans.

“I think student loan reform is still something we need to hammer home,” Morrison said. “I don’t know how or what Trump’s plan is for that. I didn’t really see him talk much about [the issue].”

Within the upcoming months, Edwards said the primary goal of the YSU College Democrats is to fight for the Obama administration’s progress and prevent attacks on minorities from happening in the Youngstown area.

“If they do, there [needs to be] a group that is willing to put time and effort into making sure that that stops,” Edwards said.

Edwards said the group’s effort in the community helped down-ballot Democrats get elected.

“We might not have won the big prize, but we won a lot of the smaller ones that are really necessary to continue to try and influence change here in the Valley and around the state,” Edwards said. “That’s something that YSU College Democrats should be really proud of.”

YSU College Democrats is expected to remain just as active in the community and recruit more students for their cause.

Now that the election is over, Edwards said it is important to move forward.

“The harder we make it for a Trump presidency to succeed, the more likely we are to hurt ourselves in the long run,” Edwards said. “As a Democrat, I would be perfectly fine sitting back and watching Donald Trump having a terrible presidency … but as an American, that’s dangerous and foolish to want that because you inherently are going to see the country take a down turn if that happens.”