On the Campaign Trail: Alex Yudelson
by Kara Dunford | The George Washington UniversityImage courtesy of Jessica McConnell Burt, The George Washington University
When Barack Obama is nominated as the Democratic presidential nominee next month, Alex Yudelson will be on the convention floor in Charlotte, casting his vote for the president as a delegate from New York.
The George Washington University junior was selected to represent the 29th Congressional District, located in upstate New York. Yudelson said he was chosen in part because he represents two important demographics being wooed by the Obama campaign: young voters and Jewish voters.
Yudelson said he owes his interest in politics to his family and attending school in Washington, D.C. Yudelson’s father serves as the town supervisor of his hometown, and his grandmother was the chairwoman of the Rochester Democratic Party.
“That’s how I was aware of politics,” he said. “My dad is a Republican, and the rest of my family are Democrats, so I was exposed to both sides growing up.”
Yudelson said he is most looking forward to hearing both President Obama and President Clinton’s speeches at the convention, which will be held September 4th through September 6th in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As a younger delegate, Yudelson said making voters more aware of the issues is a primary responsibility. He said many people rely on their upbringing rather than a close examination of the issues to form their views, resulting in a misinformed electorate.
“I have friends who thought they were Republican or conservative, but once you really talk about the issues, all of a sudden their views align with a different party.”
Yudelson said he believes disengaged voters can be won over, even if he hasn’t seen as much enthusiasm surrounding this election.
“I think people who are apathetic, if given a closer look, they would see Obama deserves four more years,” he said.
A political science and philosophy double major minoring in music, Yudelson said he finds politics particularly interesting as it relates to his academics.
“If you look at political philosophy as the study of how society should be organized, how people should be governed, how people should live, that’s of great importance,” he said.
While in D.C. Yudelson is active with the GW College Democrats, phone banking for local candidates and canvassing in Northern Virginia. In addition to on the ground campaign work, he has taken to the Internet to educate friends on his choice for president.
“I really believe that this is a big election,” he said. “25 of my Facebook friends might not make a big difference in terms of the electoral college, but given the contrast between the candidates every vote matters. We want our view for how the country should move forward to prevail by a large margin.”
Yudelson said he believes November’s vote will be a landmark election in terms of culture, as well as an issue that is often overlooked.
“The appointment of Supreme Court justices is a huge issue,” he said. “Up to four justices could retire in the coming four years, which is not always given the attention it deserves.”
When speaking to voters who were excited by Obama’s message of hope and change in the 2008, Yudelson urges patience.
“We got hit with reality that change doesn’t come that quickly,” he said. “[Voters] expected Obama could tap a magic wand and millions of jobs would appear. But there are a lot of reasons for young people to be enthusiastic based on his accomplishments.”
Yudelson cites the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows children to remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 as an example of the president looking out for the economic and social interests of young people.
“Politics and governing responds to who is interested,” he said.Kara Dunford is currently a student at The George Washington University pursuing a degree in political communication.