In the Republican caucus, what was most interesting was the lack of influence the endorsements coming from prominent Kansas Republican elected officials had on the outcomes. Senator Rubio got almost all and finished third. Although Donald Trump received an endorsement from Secretary of State Kobach, it was Senator Ted Cruz who won the most delegates, with help from probably the best ground game—which is very important in any and all caucus states.
On the Democratic side, it was a big win for Senator Sanders and a close up look at his capacity to turn out young voters. As a Hillary supporter myself, I came away very impressed and encouraged by Bernie’s ability to bring new energy and attention to the political process. One thing I often share, particularly when I have a chance to reach students here at the university, is how much more they and their generation have at stake in the decisions being made today. More than any other age group in the electorate, they will have to live with the direction we take as a result of this election.
The key going forward will be maintaining the involvement and participation of the young voters and those who may have voted for the first time. If voters truly value Senator Sanders’ message about a progressive “political revolution,” it is important to recognize what this really means. I hope he would be the first to acknowledge that the president can accomplish very little of this agenda on his or her own. Instead, it will take the political will in Congress and in state capitals all over the country to truly bring change on many of these issues. And this will require continued engagement beyond any one candidacy or elected office. Though it largely remains to be seen, my personal hope is that, after this primary season is through, those who are currently “feeling the Bern” will be able to keep the fire going for other candidates who will carry the progressive banner in elections at all levels—in 2016 and beyond.
When the stories are written about this election, I want to read and hear about the significant impact that young voters had on the results. We’ve had far too many stories about their low turnout over the years.