The Campaigning Begins at Dartmouth

This Saturday April 28, Dartmouth will have its “Pledge to Vote” party, an event for the Obama campaign’s supporters here on campus. Facebook groups have been littered with event pages and word has gotten out: a vote for Obama is a vote for the average college student.

College loan rates were cut in half in 2007 from 6.8 to 3.4 percent and are set to expire in July. How the arbitrary number of four years came to be–putting the expiration date a year before the next presidential election–we just don’t know. It’s just another one of those quirks of Congress.

Last election cycle had young voters come out and vote in crippling numbers for Republicans. Obama won the young vote by 2 to 1 to John McCain, though those numbers are unlikely to repeat this cycle. Regardless, the Obama campaign is doing a lot of campaigning, visiting college campuses in key swing states Iowa, North Carolina, and Colorado, and even making appearances on the hilarious “‘Late Night’ with Jimmy Fallon.” Obama spoke of his struggles paying off loans, making the connection with the younger generation that helped him last election.

Mitt Romney, the (very) likely Republican nominee after declaring himself the victorious after a five-state sweep Tuesday, has also embraced the cut in college loan rates. Whether that will get attention at “Pledge to Vote” is uncertain. Whether Obama can overcome the high unemployment rates among college graduates will be an interesting debating point this general election, and one that will not be answered this Saturday.

–George Mendoza