By: Sean Newhouse – Staff Writer
When I told my friends and family I decided to attend college at the University of Dayton (UD), there reactions were either “That’s a damn fine school,” “What is that?” or “Wow! Going to college in Florida, that’ll be fun!” (No Aunt Sue that would be Daytona.)
Many people may not be aware of Dayton, Ohio, but the presence of celebrities in the city campaigning shows how important Dayton is to this election.
The state of Ohio, in the Presidential election, provides the winner with 18 of the 270 electoral votes needed to be President. Ohio is a swing state where political pundits can rarely ever predict if it will go red or blue.
The Buckeye State has been a predictor of who will win the election having only sided with the losing candidate once (Nixon in 1960) since 1944. Dayton, the sixth largest city in Ohio, becomes an epicenter for political activity every four years.
Earlier this year America Ferrera and the cast of the television show “The West Wing” campaigned for democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Dayton. Ferrera has been campaigning for Clinton almost since the beginning, playing a significant role in speaking to Latino and millennial voters. The casts of “Will & Grace” and “The Avengers” have begun to actively support Clinton as well.
Ferrera visited Dayton on Saturday, September 24. She was supposed to be speaking to a group of University of Dayton college democrats at Art Street Café. The event was moved an hour before its start to Saxbys Coffee on Brown Street (they had delightful scones).
While speaking to the enthusiastic group of students, the Emmy-winning the actress from Ugly Betty (and star of the underrated black comedy It’s a Disaster) emphasized the need for in person contact on campaigns saying, “…It really does take face to face, one on one interactions to get people to understand that their voice does matter.”
After her speech, she gladly welcomed selfies with anybody who wanted one (I wanted one). Ferrera’s visit to Dayton marked another visit to a college campus for Clinton, attempting to appeal to younger voters.
This is significant considering how successful Clinton’s former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders was with college aged voters. Following Ferrera’s event, college democrats went around campus registering voters for the election.
Hollywood made an appearance again the following day with actors Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Dulé Hill, Joshua Malina, and Mary McCormack (better known as CJ, Toby, Josh, Charlie, Will, and Kate). They spoke to fans and Clinton volunteers on the bed of a red truck in a back alleyway behind the Clinton headquarters in Dayton.
These cast members of “The West Wing” encouraged supporters to work hard for a Clinton victory. Janney, a Dayton native told the large crowd, “I am so proud to be here talking on her behalf. I don’t think there has ever, in the history of presidential candidates, been someone with the depth and breadth of her experience.” Following the rally, attendees canvassed for Clinton in Dayton.
A number of UD students attended the rally and canvassing. Emily Strobach, a senior industrial engineering major, said “Being at that event was so surreal. Listening to the people who got me interested in politics talk about a candidate I love filled me with so many emotions. It got me hyped up to canvass and campaign and reinforced the necessity of getting Hillary elected.”
UD grad student Ahmadur Khandakar said, “I think ‘West Wing’ motivated me more to go out there and campaign for Hillary. They are extremely successful and busy people but they still managed to find time to be all over the United States to do what they think is right to do.”
While Hillary seems to have armies of celebrities campaigning for her, Trump has not used his celebrity supporters as much. Freshman Trump supporter Luke Lindeman said, “(It’s a) little ridiculous because she’s crooked.” When asked if there were any Trump supporting celebrities he’d wish would come to Dayton, he responded, “(Trump) doesn’t need celebrities.”
Regardless of your thoughts on celebrities campaigning, there is no argument it’s awesome that many famous people are coming to Dayton.
When I go home for Christmas, and Aunt Sue asks how college is out of the blue, I can respond in sassy fashion pulling up of my social media from the days these celebrities visited.
Photos Courtesy of (1) Emily Strobach (2) Danielle Trout (3) Nate Borries