GV political parties aim for increased collaboration following midterm elections


GVL / Josh Alburtus

Payton Brazzil, Staff Writer

Following the results of the Nov. 8 midterm elections, politically focused student organizations at Grand Valley State University, including the GVSU College Republicans and the GVSU College Democrats, are beginning to lay out their plans going forward, hoping to incorporate more opportunities to find common ground amongst the student body.

After college students turned out in large numbers to vote in the midterm election this year, democrats swept statewide offices, holding the governorship and gaining majorities in the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate. This democratic control in Lansing has not been seen since 1982, according to MLive.

College Democrats’ President, Jacob Welch, said he was satisfied with these results.

“For the most part, we won everything on the ballot which was perfect,” Welch said. “Since the election is over, I feel like there’s a lot of tension that has dissipated.”

Revived after the pandemic, the College Democrats work to connect democratic students with each other, campaigns, candidates and county and state parties.

Before the midterm elections, the organization worked closely with democratic candidates such as Hillary Scholten and David LaGrand. The group also held multiple rallies, including pro-choice rallies and, during the election, informed students as to what would be on their ballots.

Now that the election has ended, Welch said the group hopes to do a weekly entertainment night and to work for increased collaboration with the College Republicans.

“We’ve been thinking of doing a weekly TV night, where we watch a political show, either The West Wing or Veep… and we’re in talks with College Republicans on how best to combine our clubs to have events,” Welch said. “We want to try and bridge the gap, because I know partisanship can take a toll on our community, so I’ve been trying to work on that.”

Welch said these potential events with College Republicans would be a discussion about perspective and common ground.

“College Republicans and College Democrats are like two sides of the same coin. We share a lot of similar beliefs, but there are beliefs we don’t share, and I think we can get divided really easily,” Welch said. “But it’s just navigating those beliefs that we do share and respectfully discussing the beliefs we don’t share… since we’re all going to be influencing the world we graduate into.”

College Republicans’ Vice Chair, Zachary Schmidt, agreed that the two organizations may collaborate next semester.

“We are in talks and want to hold a joint event and the point of that would be to show that two sides can still get along, even though we have our disagreements,” Schmidt said. “So, that is a very real possibility and it’s something that we’re trying to figure out right now, and hopefully, we’ll be able to do that next semester.”

In preparation for the midterms, College Republicans had multiple republican candidates speak to the group and facilitated opportunities to volunteer for different campaigns.

After disappointing results, the College Republicans plan to have more social activities and look forward to attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

“Coming off of election season, obviously it was a tense election and it didn’t really go the way that a lot of our club members wanted it to go, which is how democracy works, so that’s okay,” Schmidt said. “But, we’re kind of looking to take a step back and do more social events. We’re planning (for) the annual CPAC, which we go to every year and I believe it’s the largest gathering of conservatives in the nation, which our club is very proud to attend every year.”

Hoping to potentially take part in planning a joint event where they will discuss their similarities and differences, Schmidt said it is important to be exposed to different perspectives, especially in college.

“I think it’s important to not have group think, especially in academia and higher education,” Schmidt said. “I think that’s the main service we provide to the campus.”

Students interested in getting more involved with the parties and political activity on campus can find both College Democrats and College Republicans on LakerLink.