Occidental Students Join Political Campaigns for Credit, Behave Like Stroppy Children

by Charles C. W. Cooke

It seems that California’s Occidental College offers a program that affords students the opportunity to work on a political campaign for a semester. And my goodness are the results hilarious. Per the Los Angeles Times:

In what is believed to be the only college program of its kind, the undergraduates in the Campaign Semester course spent at least 2 1/2 months, often seven days a week, 12 hours a day, working on behalf of candidates in contested states.

None won.

Those candidates: Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, Wendy Davis, and Mark Udall.

Evidently, the students didn’t take their losses well:

Most said they were shocked when their candidates lost. Kaminsky was so sure that Udall would be reelected that when the race was called in his opponent’s favor, the news didn’t sink in for a few moments, she said.

“It was devastating,” Kaminsky said, especially since she realized that many of the other people she had been working with didn’t know what they would do next. “Everyone was out of a job,” she said.

Other students were even more emotional. Early election night, Tieman started driving from one campaign office to another when Hagan was in the lead. She sang aloud as she drove, excited for the victory.

When it was clear Hagan was going to lose, Tieman began “gross-sobbing and ugly-crying.”

“It felt like everything I had poured my heart and soul into ended up not meaning anything,” she said.

I’m not sure what’s most concerning here: That an adult was unaware that one can work really hard and not get what one wants; that a person studying politics was convinced right up until the last minute that Mark Udall was going to win re-election; or that a college student used the terms “gross-sobbing and ugly-crying” in earnest.

Some participants were so upset that the faculty had to bring in a counselor to tell them that it was all going to be alright:

The two professors teaching the course — Peter Dreier and Regina Freer — were concerned enough that they asked the religious counselor to visit the class. They said their students seemed to be coping well.

They’re “mature enough to realize that this was part of a national trend that may have been unstoppable this year,” said Dreier, a politics professor.

But not mature enough, apparently, to have learned a valuable life lesson. Instead, students seem to have drawn the conclusion that when your guy loses, democracy must have been undermined:

I don’t think our representative government is broken, but I do think it’s become less democratic and it’s difficult to get good people in office,” said Joshua Wodka, a fifth-year senior who worked for North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and admits he still hasn’t recovered from her loss. “I’m exhausted.… I’m annoyed.”

This man is 23 years old.

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