torElizabeth Tarrant isn’t new to the political campaign world. She’s made the calls, knocked on the doors and hosted voter registrations.
In fact, Tarrant, 24, is doing all of these things for two campaigns.
When she’s not busy competing for the Texas House District 97, Tarrant contributes to what she called “the revolution:” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
According to Pew Research Center, Democrats – particularly white, millennial and post-graduate Democrats – are increasingly identifying themselves as “liberal.” Between 2000 and 2015, liberal Democrats jumped from 27 to 42 percent.
A key goal for the self-proclaimed democratic socialist is targeting these liberal Democrats and getting them out to vote, Tarrant said. Texas voter turnouts faltered in past midterm and presidential elections.
In the 2012 presidential race, 58.58 percent of eligible Texans went out to the polls, according to the Texas Secretary of State. In the 2014 midterm elections, 33.70 percent of Texans voted.
So Tarrant tried to find creative ways to reach out to Texas voters and get them registered for the primary elections on March 1.
“All day I was kind of thinking, ‘Okay, this is crunch time to get people registered to vote in the primaries. What can we do to get more people registered?’” Tarrant said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, we can go to a bar.’”
She decided to organize a voter registration event on a Saturday night at The Chat Room on Magnolia Avenue.
About 50 people registered at the event, she said.
“Any change that has happened, has happened over a beer,” Tarrant said with a laugh. “It’s just kind of that American can-do spirit.”
Campaign Worker, Resume Builder?
Political campaign experience can be used in different careers outside of politics, said Karen Lindsey-Lloyd, TCU Career Service’s associate director of career development.
“There’s a potential to be writing, there’s a potential to be thinking creatively, you have to think on the spot,” Lindsey-Lloyd said. “There are all these skills that you are using as a campaign worker that can transfer into any industry.”
But employees and volunteers do take risks working in a field that can be polarizing and unpredictable.
“You should always have an eye toward, “If this doesn’t work out what might I be doing?’” she said. “I always say if you’re working on a presidential campaign and you’re just not sure about the future, you better be using the work you’re doing for that candidate to network with other people who would then hire you for other opportunities.”
Communication within the Campaign
There are many cogs in the machine of a presidential campaign. As Texas State Deputy, David Sanchez, 32, oversees how much Texas is feeling the Bern.
He and Tarrant communicate about campaign events in Fort Worth.
Sanchez experienced running his own federal campaign in 2012, when he ran for U.S. House of Representatives Texas District 26, which holds Denton and Tarrant County.
Sanchez said he admires Sanders’ honesty to his ideologies. He wished he stood to his convictions when running for office, like Sanders is doing now.
“I was a progressive Democrat,” Sanchez said in regards to his own campaign. “I did consider myself to be a social Democrat. But I didn’t say it.
“But now I think, wow. The incredible bravery that Bernie Sanders has to be out there and to say it and to publicly be there. That was a little bit of a regret on my part, just because that could’ve been something that I started a long time ago in different areas.”
On the local level, Tarrant said she hopes her contributions can help spread Sanders’ messages, despite being in a city that historically votes red.
“You’re always talking on the phone, you’re going to events, you’re having events. You’re always up and doing something for the campaign,” Tarrant said. “You love it. That’s all you do.”
As a millennial, Tarrant said she relates well with Sanders’ charisma. She said that others should consider him as a candidate because Sanders embodies U.S. millennial spirit despite the generational difference.
“To me he has the same spirit that our generation has,” Tarrant said. “I know that’s kind of weird that he’s old, but he really understands that spirit of change. He’s lived through it. He’s been there, and I think it’s time for him to lead the troops and get change.”