Way beyond Writing Term Papers: Marquette Student a Political Powerbroker as the Youngest Superdelegate

By Barron, Mary | National Catholic Reporter, May 16, 2008 | Go to article overview

Way beyond Writing Term Papers: Marquette Student a Political Powerbroker as the Youngest Superdelegate


Barron, Mary, National Catholic Reporter


The corridors of power in 2008 presidential politics run straight through the dormitories of Marquette University, where junior Jason Rae, 21, has become a real-world political powerbroker: the youngest of the Democratic Party's 795 superdelegates.

It's an exciting time for a young man who was barely of kindergarten age when he first felt the thrill of politics, much to the surprise of his sports-minded, apolitical family. Rae remembers being 5 and urging his dad to vote for Bill Clinton. His fourth-grade book report on John F. Kennedy spawned dreams of a future in Democratic politics. By 15, he was attending party meetings, on his way to leadership roles.

Today Rae's vote will help to clinch the presidential nomination in a race too tight for either candidate to win on pledged delegates alone. The nominee needs 2,025 delegate votes, a sum that's unattainable through the proportionate awarding of pledged delegates in the remaining state contests.

Rae first spoke with the contenders--Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama--at a party meeting in December, where he was "blown away" by the experience. It wasn't long before the significance of superdelegates was heightened, the tables turned, and the candidates' families and friends came calling on him.

Rae, who works as a resident assistant in Marquette's Mashuda Hall, granted audiences to Chelsea Clinton and Michelle Obama. He took phone calls from former President Bill Clinton and his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, on behalf of Hillary Clinton, and from Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who was lobbying for Obama. In February, shortly after the Wisconsin primary, Rae made his choice: Obama.

"I was really trying to find a candidate that was energizing the youth vote," he said. "The whole reason I did what I did was to get young people to get involved and to participate."

Rae accomplished most of "what he did"--meaning his political achievements so far--before he finished high school. A resident of Rice Lake, Wis., a town of 8,000, Rae was a high achiever in his high school of 800 and active in his Methodist church. He won an appointment to serve as a United States Senate page at age 16, about a year after he started participating in meetings of the Barron County Democratic Party. Soon he was running for leadership positions not only in school but also in the county party, and working not only on his own successful campaigns but for party candidates in statewide elections.

'A Rae of Hope'

In 2004, having discovered that the minimum age for party membership is 14, Rae got himself elected vice chair of the Barron County Democrats at the county convention and was made a member of the state platform committee. He knew the state convention would nominate and elect members to represent Wisconsin on the Democratic National Committee. So he made a quick decision.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Two days before the filing deadline, I decided to run," he said.

In addition to spots for high-ranking state party officials, the national party's proportional formula gave Wisconsin four spots to fill--two for men and two for women. Rae and his friends hung homemade signs at the convention hall: "A Rae of Hope for the Future." They put flyers on all the chairs and passed out lapel stickers printed on Rae's home computer. He emphasized to state convention delegates that the party needed to reach the next generation of voters.

Of the three candidates for the two men's spots, Rae finished first, ahead of former state legislator Stan Gruszynski, who also won a spot, and the president of the state's firefighters' union, who did not. Rae was then 17.

Following his summer victory, this new Democratic National Committee member--who was consequently locked in as a 2008 superdelegate--went back to finish high school at the top of his class. Now majoring in history and political science, Rae said he enrolled at Jesuit-run Marquette in Milwaukee because it was not too big, not too small and had a nice sense of community. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Way beyond Writing Term Papers: Marquette Student a Political Powerbroker as the Youngest Superdelegate
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.