The 2016 presidential election has been coming across our TV screens and blowing up our social media feeds for months. But all our experiences have been at arm’s length. For the next few weeks, upstate New York will take center stage for candidates. It is time to listen a bit closer.
All five candidates left between the two major parties are making upstate stops ahead of the state’s primary on April 19. The state has the potential to be the widest open it has been since primaries and caucuses became a more prominent part of the major-party nomination process in the latter decades of the 20th century.
After months of watching debates and speeches geared to other states ahead of their primaries or the nation at large, the message in early April is focused on upstate New Yorkers. These are the weeks for us as voters to hear what the candidates have to say about issues that matter to us.
In 2008, the New York primary was on Super Tuesday along with 25 other races between the two parties. It was a big day for candidates to make moves to surge ahead. In 2016, New York is the only primary on its respective date. Between the Wisconsin primary on April 5 and New York’s primary on the 19, Wyoming’s Democratic primary with its 18 delegates is the only race, making New York the main event for two weeks.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) made a stop in Scotia, a town just outside Schenectady, on Thursday and will tentatively make a western New York swing through Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo next week.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped in Syracuse on Friday, April 1 then Cohoes, a town just outside Albany, on Monday, April 4. She will be at Monroe Community College in Rochester on Friday, and making a few stops in Buffalo on the same day.
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio will be in Syracuse for a town hall meeting at LeMoyne College on Friday night and will be in Greece, outside Rochester, for another town hall-style meeting on Saturday.
Donald Trump is also rumored to be stopping by the Times Union Center in downtown Albany on April 11, then head on to the First Niagara Center in Buffalo on April 17.
While Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has not confirmed any in-person upstate stops though, he does plan to video chat into a rally in Rochester. His supporters have also been coming out in droves at Clinton events in Buffalo and Albany.
The Democratic candidates will also take part in a debate in Brooklyn on April 14.
These are all opportunities for students to either get out in person to see and hear the candidates in action or simply read and watch the candidates speak directly about issues facing New York.