Ventura addresses voter apathy

Peter Johnson

Gov. Jesse Ventura appeared live on MSNBC political talk show “Hardball with Chris Matthews” Thursday afternoon to discuss the upcoming election and analyze disaffected voters as part of Hardball’s College Tour.
Broadcasted from the Mall of America, the show’s goal was “to find out why so many voters are tuned out and turned off,” Matthews said.
Students from a wide variety of area colleges and universities participated in the show, with Macalester College, St. Thomas University, the College of St. Catherine, the University of Minnesota and others represented.
Students were able to ask Ventura questions directly, ranging from student aid and the recent attack on the USS Cole to why Ventura didn’t run for president.
The governor spoke at length about the upcoming presidential election and burgeoning third party movement.
“What fails to move me is that we’re only given two choices,” Ventura said. “The two-party system is not the way to go — we need more candidates and more ideas.”
Ventura offered critique and advice to the mainstream presidential candidates: Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
“They’re being everything to everyone — that’s typical of a career politician,” Ventura said. “My suggestion to them would be to get rid of their spin doctors and get real.”
Students voters were given special attention, and Ventura highlighted their role in minor party politics.
“On college campuses, the third party movement is a little more alive and well,” Ventura said. “If you become the third party movement, (politicians) will pay attention to you.”
Many students responded warmly to Ventura.
“The give and take was pretty good,” said University Department of Recreation and Leisure senior Tom O’Connor.
CLA junior Jessica Novotny agreed. “I wasn’t a supporter, but I don’t mind (Ventura). I started out hating him but I’m starting to like him more.”
But College of Human Ecology sophomore Stephanie Bartell said she wasn’t impressed by the appearance.
“It was pretty weak, he made some good points but he didn’t really say anything that great. Some of the answers he gave were generic,” she said.
“The only difference I see between the Democrats, Republicans and Independents is that Independents are more flashy,” said College of St. Catherine political science sophomore Nika Rivers. “If you don’t like A and B, here’s C in a snakeskin hat.”
St. Catherine political science junior Brigette Higgins said, “He’s just working the crowd and not telling the truth. He’s doing exactly what he says he doesn’t like about Gore and Bush; he’s a hypocrite.”
Both Rivers and Higgins also disagreed with Ventura on how students should finance their education.
“He was talking about how we have to enter the military or have a series of jobs in order to pay for school,” Higgins said. “Maybe we don’t want to join the military.”