Veteran Political Strategist Donna Brazile Urges Engagement, Listening

Donna Brazile, a longtime political strategist for the Democratic Party, spoke to students in Morrell Lounge, Smith Union on March 8, 2017, urging them to get involved in politics now, while they’re still young. She also appealed to them to remain receptive to people whose beliefs don’t match their own, and to listen closely to their political opponents.

In her talk, “Political Outlook: A Comprehensive Picture of What’s Going on in Washington,” Brazile spoke about the importance of the millennial generation getting involved in local politics to learn the system and to begin making an impact. “She encouraged students to stay engaged and consider running for office,” said Director of the Student Center for Multicultural Life Benjamin Harris.

Nate Hintze, director of Bowdoin Student Activities, said that Brazile reminded students that their generation is the largest voting bloc—rivaling the baby boomers for political clout—and that they could have enormous sway on elections now, and in the years to come.

Brazile also encouraged students not to tune out opinions different from their own. In particular, she advised students to ignore the “idiosyncrasies of Trump’s personality,” Hintze said, while paying close attention to his policies.

Brazile, who is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, served as campaign manager for presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000, becoming the first African American to run a presidential campaign for a major party. Brazile has twice served as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee. She is former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute, and has received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement.

Brazile has written a memoir, Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, and is the founder of a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, D.C., called Brazile & Associates, LLC.

She says her passion is encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office.

The talk was sponsored by the African American Society and Edith Lansing Koon Sills Lecture Fund of the Society of Bowdoin Women.

Photos in slideshow by Dennis Griggs

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