Tales from Cleveland, Ohio…Part One

I’ve had the opportunity to go out to Cleveland, Ohio to campaign for Hillary Clinton for the next two weeks. My friends Ryan and James are out there working as campaign fellows and I thought that it would be fun to go and join them. It is great fun at the moment – I’ve met loads of friendly people in the office and out at events.

The Republican National Convention is downtown right now, as you’ll all probably know, and we were trying to register voters around the area. Ryan and James got a few, but I’m still learning the ropes with doing that. It’s really complex to register to vote online here and really easy to fall off the register, so it’s important that we go out and get people registered. Especially in the more deprived areas of Cleveland, people tend to be removed from the register without knowing they have been because they’ve either moved or not voted since 2012.

After the voter registration session we went down to Starbucks and this place was absolutely crawling with Republicans and journalists. A man came into the shop wearing a shirt that was trying to parody the “Hope” image of Obama, except it had Bill Clinton on it with “Rape” underneath it. As a liberal feminist, I have to seriously restrain myself from arguing with people in public over here. I haven’t actually watched much of the RNC coverage. It’s not good for my blood pressure. I’m normally tolerant of my political opponents, but to quote someone I met this evening, Governor Kasich has “destroyed women’s rights”, and that’s before we even get on to talking about Trump.

On a positive note, our potluck dinner this evening was great – there were so many attendees from various diverse backgrounds. First we heard from Councilwoman Nancy Moore, who has served Shaker Heights on the council for years– a true Lib Dem style local champion – as she introduced Congressman Xavier Becerra (D– CA). He spoke about coming from a working class background, being the first in his family to go to college, and the pride in his parents’ eyes when he invited them to the White House to meet Bill Clinton. So many attendees found that reflected in their own experience – including me. His mother was a clerical worker and mine started off working in the Post Office.

We have another potluck dinner tomorrow, and I’m really looking forward to meeting more people and getting to know more about their experiences. I registered my first voter today, but the jet lag combined with the heat is taking it out of me, so I might see if I can switch to some more phonebanking and data entry. I also got handed a potential ticket to the Daily Show on Friday when I was out doing voter registration, so hopefully I can write about that in my next blog!

* Hannah Bettsworth is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Council for Europe, and the Liberal Democrat Federal International Relations Committee. Outside of politics, she works in European affairs consultancy on health policy.

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One Comment

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st Jul '16 - 2:05pm

    To see the efforts and involvement of Hannah is marvellous !

    Take to talk about Kasich with caution, the abortion issue in the US and even Canada is politicised , along party lines , in a very insidious and illiberal way .As someone with America in my heart , having married in to it , so to speak , I love much about it and its politics , but not its polarisation on those issues.

    Kasich has not “destroyed womens rights ,” because he has banned abortion at an age of the foetus when it is banned here , and differentiates him from both left wing Democrats who , quite frankly are appalling on the rights of the potential child , and the right wing Republicans who deny any right to abortion. The partial birth abortion , so complacently supported by the far left in the USA , is considered practically , murder,in most of Europe , and the EU countries, so beloved , of our members, in France the cut off is 12 weeks .

    I feel it to be one of the few issues where to me , as a Liberal Democrat who favours legal abortion but only to twenty weeks maximum, due to the viabilty of the foetus , I feel very alienated from a party , the Democrats , I would otherwise wholeheartedly endorse at all times, or most.

    Having said all that , most Democrats do get my enthusiasm , and Clinton over Trump , for sure !

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