Mizzou Democrats responds to election outcome and plans for the rest of school year based on election results

Organization Vice President Jeffrey Bittle explains the group's outlook on the election and their next steps.

Now that the 2020 election season has drawn to a close, Mizzou College Democrats have started creating their plans for the rest of the school year in response to losses experienced at the state level.

Despite Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden winning the presidential election, most state-level elections did not turn out how Mizzou College Democrats had hoped.

Mizzou College Republicans declined to comment for a story on the outcome of the election.

Junior Jeffrey Bittle, vice president of Mizzou College Democrats, said the organization knew they would face challenges this election season.

“We understood that a lot of things that we were going for in Missouri were an uphill battle,” Bittle said.

Mizzou College Democrats devoted a lot of time to volunteer events and hosting candidates at meetings during the first few months of the semester to support Democratic nominees. Some of the guest speakers included Yinka Faleti, a candidate for Secretary of State, State Senate candidate Judy Baker and Nicole Galloway, who ran for governor of Missouri.

“It was a tough experience to see people like Judy Baker lose,” Bittle said.

However, the group was excited to learn that Cori Bush was elected to represent Missouri’s 1st District, which includes St. Louis.

“Despite the fact that nobody we wanted won statewide, Missouri voted a little bit less for Donald Trump than it did four years ago,” Bittle said. “In our eyes, that’s progress.”

Mizzou College Democrats has now started planning for the rest of the school year. At their Nov. 12 meeting, the first since the election, the group discussed the best way for the party to move forward statewide.

Elad Gross, a candidate for state attorney general, and Erich Arvidson, a newly elected Democratic Party state committee member, joined the meeting.

“They were two really reassuring presences in the room,” Bittle said.

The group also hopes to be more present in the MU community and potentially work with state representatives on their goals. One member present at the meeting suggested collaborating with state representatives to make sure student employees laid off from university jobs get the same benefits as they could from regular jobs.

The other priority of the meeting was to discuss improving the messaging and reputation of the Missouri Democratic Party.

“The Democratic Party at large has kind of let itself be defined as baby-killing and gun-taking,” Bittle said.

The organization hopes to devote some of their efforts to reverse this image. They want to focus on issues like maintaining access to health care and supporting labor unionization, as well as improving the state Democratic Party’s messaging outside of the Interstate-70 corridor.

As Mizzou Democrats moves forward, the group doesn’t want people to overlook the details of the 2020 election season as Biden’s presidency begins.

“We’re happy that Joe Biden won,” Bittle said. “It’s nice to feel a sense of ease and be lucky enough to have a president that speaks like a president, and we’re very happy in terms of maintaining democratic ideals.”

Despite this outlook, the group wants to make sure people hold the Biden administration accountable for the promises he made on the campaign trail.

“Make sure that even an administration that you agree with is held accountable,” Bittle said. “Be encouraged but don’t get complacent.”

Bittle also wants Democrats in Missouri to remember not to feel discouraged, despite the fact that most Democratic candidates in the state lost their races.

He urged people to “keep pushing; we’re never going to make any progress if we give up,” and said that many of the state’s problems “have come from things that are going to take a while to be fixed, but they can be fixed.”

“We’re going to continue being present in the community and try to push for whatever we can in terms of substantive policy.”

Edited by Joy Mazur | jmazur@themaneater.com

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