Students credited for President Obama’s success

November 18, 2008 — by Grishma Athavale and Aditi Jayaraman
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Students got involved in the elections by volunteering at the polls

To say that this year’s presidential election was remarkable would be an understatement. With the highest voter turnout since the 1972 presidential elections, arguably the highest amount of youth involvement ever and the first African-American presidential elect in American history, Barack Obama, the 2008 election has made a lasting mark on Saratoga High students.

Since candidates began campaigning for the primary elections held in early February of this year, many Saratoga High students began identifying which stances of candidates on various issues aligned with their own.

“I was a John McCain supporter all the way,” said junior Sam Pack. “I like all his ideas, except his views on abortion. [Obama] and McCain were both good candidates, but I still believe that McCain should have won.”

Since Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s win, however, McCain student supporters have not lost hope.

“I was really rooting for McCain, and I’m slightly disappointed,” said sophomore Arianna Paranzino, “but it’s all right — I’m hoping that Obama will step up to the plate.”

On the other hand, for the many student supporters of Obama, the results of the presidential election caused a general sigh of relief.

“I think [Obama] will be an effective president and I believe that the economy will be in a better shape because of him,” said freshman Ashwin Siripurapu. “It’s great to be part of an amazing historic moment.”

Some students took involvement to the next level, and even campaigned for their presidential candidate choice. Senior Corey Rateau spent months traveling around the United States campaigning for Obama. Rateau visited Reno, Nevada, a battleground state, in order to gain support for the Obama campaign and candidacy before the primary elections. When he was unable to travel, he phone banked voters in key battleground states, attempting to convince people to vote for Obama.

“The reason I’m doing this is because I wanted to be a part of this historical election and I respect many of Obama’s policies and ideas,” said Rateau.
Other students expressed their political efficacy by voting for the very first time. According to msnbc.com, the youth voter turnout this year exceeded 2004 levels, which “was itself a year with a big surge in voters ages 18 to 29.” According to CIRCLE, an organization that researches the political commitments of young Americans, approximately 22 to 24 million people under age voted in this election, an increase in the youth turnout by around 2.2 million over the 2004 election. Young voters favored Obama over John McCain by 68 percent to 30 percent in this year’s elections, and are likely to have been the key to Obama’s win.

Senior Farid Jiandani voted for Obama and because he said Obama has really good ideas.

“This election was quite an experience for me,” said Jiandini.

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