Clubs pushing out votes even though race is already set


If a candidate has already won the nomination, will anyone still hear your vote?

Probably, but local Democratic clubs — which don’t usually see eye-to-eye on all things — are saying it’s still important to get out to vote in the presidential primary on April 2. If not, democracy itself could be on the line.

The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club and the Unity Democratic Club are both out on the streets encouraging voters to cast their ballot in the primary, even though both President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are already their party’s presumptive nominee.

“Democracy itself is on the line,” Unity Club president Betsey Knapp said. “This election isn’t just about America, it’s about the very essence of freedom and democracy worldwide. The Trump MAGA party threatens our voting rights, reproductive freedoms, and freedom of speech. The world is watching, knowing that what unfolds in November will echo far beyond our borders — shaping the future of democracy everywhere.”

Of course, next week’s vote won’t decide who will be in the White House, or even who will end up on the ticket. But getting into the habit of voting now means you’ll be quite warmed up for the main event in November, said Knapp’s counterpart at the Ben Franklin Club, Virginia Krompinger.

“No one is excited about this rematch,” she said. “No one is excited that Trump could be our president again. Everyone’s concerned about abortion. Everyone’s concerned about just the winnowing away at our civil rights, and we don’t know what to expect from him when he has a four-year term and doesn’t have to worry about getting elected again, and then will have nothing to lose.”

The Ben Franklin Club petitioned for Biden back in December. Members there have since spread the word by knocking on doors, posting on social media, and getting Biden’s delegates on the petition.

Krompinger is also on the Bronx ballot with four leaders for delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

While the Unity Club did not petition for Biden, its members have knocked on doors and reached out to voters to remind them to vote.

Ramdat Singh, the local male district leader, said it is important for he and his fellow district leader, Abigail Martin, to protect equal access to voting rights and access to the ballot.

We’re “making sure we’re uniting all Democrats across the political spectrum to make sure all Democrats — no matter if you’re left, if you’re conservative, if you’re moderate — that everyone is united behind our nominee for president,” Singh said. “And unite to make sure we don’t have another four years of Trump and his regressive policies.”

Primaries have historically less voter turnout than the general election. This one could be even worse with the results having no meaningful impact on the overall race. District leader candidate Emily Hausman is hopeful her friends at the Ben Franklin Club can inspire people to vote.

“I am an early childhood educator by training, and I believe in the good in people and that every day is a new day, and every day that we grow,” she said. “And I think that if we give them just like an education, if we give them all the skill sets and we give them all the information that people will do the right thing. And the right thing in this situation is to turn out to vote.”

Ben Jackson, another candidate for district leader from the Ben Franklin Club, emphasized that Biden was not the only candidate on the ballot.

“Considering the stakes in the general election, it’s important for him to have an extremely strong showing in the primary to show that he has the full support of the Democratic Party, from the grassroots on up,” he said. “And then the general election, it’s a battle for the soul of American democracy.”

Martin, says she looks forward to coming together with Democrats following the June primary, which will have the two club’s candidates face one another. That would be a major change, since the two clubs have not come together at all since the Unity Club was founded in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“After we get through this June primary, it will be a time to come together, to work really hard,” Martin said. “I’m looking forward to building bridges, as Democrats do after Democratic primaries, and working together to save democracy, and fight for Joe Biden.”

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