Friday, November 04, 2005

The Marquette Student Vote

In his recent attack on the conservative alternative student publication, The Warrior, Ryan Alexander tries to portray the College Republicans as “out of the mainstream” and the publication of the paper as “an act of desperation, as Marquette will probably never return to the conservative all white male Republican-utopia that it once was.” He continues:
Ok ... I’ve stopped laughing now and I could go on and on about the stupidity in the articles, but I really might die laughing if I keep reading them (so read them for yourself at your own risk) and I need to get back to my point for writing this: The Warrior is only further proof that the Marquette College Republicans are out of the mainstream of Marquette.

Why? In 2000 Al Gore won Marquette’s campus by 863 votes and two of the Marquette wards were Bush wins. And what happened on this day in 2004? With the help of a stronger and better organized Marquette College Democrats and a more liberal student body John Kerry won the Marquette campus by 2,361 votes and in doing so won every single Marquette ward.

That's a swing of almost 1,500 votes [emphasis in original]
Why somebody who claims to favor “diversity” would want a campus to lean heavily to the left is a mystery. It might seem that having a politically balanced campus, where both Republican and Democratic viewpoints are heard, would be best.

But that’s not the way liberals think these days.

But even worse is the fact that Alexander seems to be misrepresenting actual elections results. A Viewpoint column in the Marquette Tribune in the wake of the 2004 election actually analyzed the results the way a serious journalist or social scientist would.
I am concerned with the recent coverage given by the Marquette Tribune to the voting results in Marquette wards on November 2nd. It seems that the Tribune would have you believe one thing about the results, while the truth would indicate something else. It was reported that Jonn Kerry received 66% of the vote in “Marquette wards.” While this number is true, I think that this fact is somewhat skewed and deceiving for a few reasons.

First, the Tribune failed to mention the redistricting that has occurred since the last election and its effect on the results. As I worked the polls on November 2nd in the AMU, I learned that some of these “Marquette” wards include the surrounding neighborhood. Due to the number of African-Americans in the surrounding neighborhoods to the north and west of campus, the Marquette student vote was skewed quite heavily. One of the wards I oversaw, Ward 311, included some of Marquette’s off-campus housing. Included in this “Marquette” ward were nearly 15 square blocks of residents north of State Street. Kerry won this ward resoundingly, garnering 61% of the votes. Including this, or another similar ward such as 310, which stretches to the west from 20th and Highland, clearly shows that a balanced look at the Marquette student vote was never truly sought by the Tribune.

To get a truly accurate portrayal of the Marquette student vote, there are a few things the Tribune should be aware of. The other ward I watched over was much closer. Ward 312 included the area from 21st Street to 14th Street between Wisconsin and Wells. This ward included Mashuda, McCormick, and O’Donnell residence halls, and was much more competitive. Kerry received 53% of the votes cast to Bush’s 47%.

Another piece of evidence that the Marquette vote was much closer than reported by the Tribune was a poll conducted by the O’Donnell Residence Hall RA’s before the election. Bush carried the Hall by 11%. Bush received 55% of the votes to Kerry’s 44% and Ralph Nader’s 1%.

My purpose in criticizing the Tribune’s “error” is not, by any means, to assert that Bush won Marquette’s student vote — it seems that Kerry pulled out victory by a small margin — but rather that the Marquette Tribune should have looked harder at the evidence and better used its discretion to accurately portray the result of the election.

Lastly, I think it is important for everyone in the Marquette community to extend a collective “congratulations” to the various political groups on campus such as the College Republicans and College Democrats on the wonderful turnout and for providing a spirited campaign. The closeness of the Marquette student vote is a true portrayal to the hard work put in by many individuals to bring their candidates to life on campus.

Robert R. Fafinski III
College of Arts and Sciences
Political Science major
Saying that Marquette was once a “white male utopia” is of course racist and sexist. Marquette has not been a “male utopia” since 1912, when it became the first Jesuit co-ed university.

(By the way, is a place with no women around really a “male utopia?”)

And Marquette has always been open to minorities. There are few now, and were fewer in the past — things that should be blamed on society as a whole, and not the University.

It’s also the case that Marquette students have long been pretty mainstream politically. They tended left in the 60s, and were more conservative in the 80s, although at one point in the 80s they voted to make Marquette a “nuclear free zone” jumping on board a particularly idiotic leftist movement of the time.

On the whole, the student culture here is moderate and open-minded, with about equal numbers of liberal and conservative students, and different opinions being heard.

But that’s not what the campus left wants. Viewing conservative ideas as heresy, they would like them marginalized and stamped out.

Yes, folks, these are the people who claim to believe in “diversity.”


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