Roughly 150 Yale students and New Haven residents flocked to Linsly-Chittenden Hall Tuesday night for a conversation with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
Leading up to nationwide midterm elections next Tuesday, Murphy discussed partisanship, campaign finance reform and the role of students in inspiring social change during the hourlong event.
“I do feel good about [the Democrats’] chances [in the House of Representatives] … it would be hard to imagine us losing,” Murphy told the audience.
Amid growing political polarization, Murphy talked about the future of civil debate in politics. He told the audience that while partisan battles often receive the most national attention, bipartisan progress continues in the nation’s legislature, citing the passage of major education reform in 2015. In particular, he criticized President Donald Trump for what Murphy regarded as inflammatory rhetoric that has contributed to rising anti-Semitism and animosity toward the news media.
“It has gotten harder to maintain friendships and relationships given our fury that Republicans refuse to speak out against the president,” Murphy said.
Murphy said that constituents of the political right have been less willing to work across the aisle than their more left-leaning counterparts. Democrats, he said, use harsh rhetoric regarding Trump and political opponents, while the president uses rhetoric against citizens and the news media. He specifically noted that Trump refers to the media as “the enemy of the people.”
The senator also addressed the difficulty in addressing what he considers morally important governmental policy. Murphy said it is important to pursue policies, such as automatic voter registration, not because they will benefit the Democratic Party, but because the policies will be beneficial to American citizens.
Attendees praised Murphy’s insights and contributions to political discussions.
“It was great … how he focused on doing the right thing,” Tanzi Sakib ’22 said in an interview with the News.
Murphy is up for reelection in the midterm elections on Nov. 6. Murphy is running for election against Republican Matthew Corey, a Hartford-born Navy veteran who currently owns and operates a restaurant in the state’s capital.
The senator stressed the importance of younger citizens involving themselves in the political process, arguing that significant social change in America has always come with the backing of young voters and activists.
The Yale Politics Initiative — a student organization that aims to involve students in the political process — organized the event. The initiative, according to co-directors Paul Gross ’20 and Michael Michaelson ’20, holds classes and organizes events to educate students about the practice of politics and to create opportunities for students to engage in political discussions.
Murphy was first elected to the Senate in 2012.
Aaron Jenkins | email@example.com .