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Former DNC Chairwoman talks 2024 election at KPU event

The Kennedy Political Union hosted Donna Brazile as part of Women’s History Month celebration

Former Democratic National Committee chairwoman, political strategist, author and news contributor Donna Brazile discussed the upcoming presidential election at an event hosted by American University’s Kennedy Political Union on March 21. 

Brazile focused on the importance of voting and President Joe Biden’s campaign strategy in the 2024 election. School of Communication associate professor Jane Hall moderated the conversation on the upcoming election and voter turnout.

In 2000, Brazile became the first Black woman to manage a major party’s political campaign when she became campaign manager for former Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign. Brazile later became the interim chair of the DNC twice, in 2011 and 2016.  

Brazile credits her success as a Black woman in politics to the inspiring women in her life who mentored and created a path for her.

“I grew up with Shirley [Chisholm], with women like my mother and my grandmothers who were not afraid to take a stand and move things forward, whether it was at home, in the community or at church,” she said in an interview with The Eagle.

Brazile said she believes that a diverse array of people in politics and in leadership is important so different perspectives and life experiences impact decision making.

“It's important for our society, a multiracial society, like the United States of America, to involve as many people in the conversations and in the discussion so that we can come up with solutions,” she said.

The conversation then centered around the impact of voter turnout — especially among young adults — in the 2024 presidential election.

With Biden and former president Donald Trump securing their respective party’s nominations earlier this month, voter apathy among young voters is increasing. According to a poll by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, just under 50 percent of Generation Z voters say they plan to vote in the upcoming election, an almost 10 percent decrease from 2020. 

Brazile said these young voters will play a significant role in the election rematch and encouraged members of Gen Z to use their vote, even if they do not like everything about a candidate.

“Please don’t tell me you have no power,” she said. “Stand in your power; use your vote as your voice.”

According to Brazile, the biggest challenge for Biden’s campaign is public perception about what he has accomplished over the last four years.

“People don’t know what the hell Joe Biden has done,” she said. “They don’t know that when Joe Biden came into office, our unemployment rate was over the moon.” 

Despite these concerns, Brazile said she is confident Biden can win re-election.

“The reason why I’m calm is because I know we’re gonna put in the work,” she said. 

Brazile reminded the audience that there are several other races this fall, telling attendees not to abstain from voting entirely because they do not like the presidential candidates. 

“Some of y’all don’t want to vote because you’re not happy with these two ‘older gentlemen,’” she said. “What about Congress? What about the House and the Senate?” 

Brazile also said that she disagrees with the idea that the upcoming election is a decision between the lesser of two evils.

“You have two choices, and it’s not Biden or Trump,” she said. “It’s past or future, and which one will you choose?”

This article was edited by Kathryn Squyres, Zoe Bell, Abigail Turner and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Isabelle Kravis, Romy Hermans, Ariana Kavoossi

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