Blain McVey was out in 30-degree weather on Election Day canvassing for the candidate he believed in: Bernie Sanders. McVey did it all in the name of Sanders’ political revolution.
After Blain McVey completed over 8,000 steps, he finally stopped walking the streets of Saint Louis. The student knocked on doors on Kensington Place and McMillian Avenue for five hours. He was out canvassing on March 10, the day of Missouri’s presidential primary election. McVey had spent the majority of his spring break and the days before doing his civic duty — getting people out to vote.
McVey knocked on over 70 doors during his time canvassing. Some people answered. Some people peered out the windows to see who was at the door and turned away. Some did not come to the door at all. When people did not answer the door, he would roll up a flyer and put it on the doorknob.
The Webster sophomore was not scared of knocking on the doors. He even knocked on the car window of one resident and talked with him about Sanders for a few minutes.
McVey, who is a double major in history and economics, does not know where he would be without politics.
“It may sound sad, but I feel like I wouldn’t have a purpose,” McVey said.
The sophomore first got involved after attending a Sanders rally with a friend five years ago. He helped campaign for local nominees and, when he came to Webster, started going to Webster College Democrats (WUCD) meetings. McVey quickly rose through the ranks as a member to vice president and now president.
McVey has followed a similar process in the state chapter of College Democrats of Missouri. He went to a convention attended by around 100 members of the organization and was voted in. McVey gave a presentation and had to persuade people he had never met to vote for him.
“My friend was running against Blain,” Missouri College Democrats President Reece Ellis said. “And, Blain ran the better campaign. I had heard about his participation in Arnold and then with College Democrats, so he’s very qualified for the job.”
A part-time activist and full-time WUCD president, McVey keeps himself busy. Prior to Webster’s spring break, McVey led a mock election. Around 20 people turned out for his mock election that doubled as a watch party for the Super Tuesday primary results.
The attendance nearly tripled from the mock election McVey threw in November.
Elena Hook was in attendance for the mock election. Then, she and McVey volunteered for a campaign rally for Bernie Sanders on March 9.
Hook has been involved in politics since her middle school days. She joined a club called “Youth in Government” and has stayed involved since. Hook is a senator in the Student Government Association and an active member of WUCD.
“I feel like politics are important because while you think it doesn’t affect you, it does,” Hook said.
Hook’s father works at a Dierbergs and is a union member. Her boyfriend is also a union worker employed with General Motors. She sees policies that directly affect her loved ones like the recent “Prop A” bill.
She has also witnessed several strikes that impacted her family and boyfriend. Most recently, her boyfriend went on strike in September. During a strike, the employees do not get paid or their normal benefits.
“It was scary,” Hook said. “He had just bought a house. We didn’t know how long it was going to last. We didn’t know if we were going to make our payments. My dad had been on strike before, but it’s a little different when you’re out on your own.”
Hook believes in Sanders’ policies but overall wants students to know that it is important for them to get out and vote.
“It’s so important to go vote,” Hook said. “You think politics doesn’t affect you, it really does. Your vote matters. Politics matter.”
Ellis echoed that feeling of college students getting involved in the political process.
“The political process is a lot about persistence,” Ellis said. “If you think that something matters so strongly, then you need to get involved. There’s no excuse not to.”