A blue county in a red state got a little more blue this week when over 1,000 young Democrats came to Indianapolis for the 2019 Young Democrats of America National Convention.
“This is the national convention, and we have it right in our backyard,” said Noah Davidson, an IU junior and College Democrats at IU member. “Just seeing all these young people energized and ready to fight for 2020 is so inspiring.”
Davidson said this convention was important for young Democrats as the 2020 election season approaches.
Although many attendees were from Indiana, young Democrats from across the country came to the event.
Eduardo Aviles came from Atlanta. He said the political climate in Indiana, a majority Republican state, was similar to his home. He called Indianapolis “a blue diamond in a red sea.”
Aviles said he had learned a lot from his short experience in Indiana when he went to grab a slice of pizza downtown Thursday. Two locals saw his YDA convention name tag and recognized him as a Democrat from out of state.
Although they identified themselves as conservative Republicans, he said they welcomed him to Indianapolis and told him they wanted him to know, “Not everyone here is batshit crazy.” Aviles said they had a genuine conversation about politics and their views.
“That’s the best thing I’m taking away from this convention thus far,” Aviles said. “You can have a conversation with someone with different views as long as you are respectful to each other.”
While some out-of-state attendees were enthusiastic to be there, many reflected on the cost it took to get there.
“We have so many young people that don’t have any money, so there’s not as many people here as there should be,” said Spencer Bounds, the membership director for the Texas Young Democrats. He said it cost him $400 to fly to Indiana from Texas, but not everyone who wants to get involved has that money.
Bounds said he’s been involved politically for around three years. He said he has spent around $20,000 on going to conventions and working in politics.
“It’s 20 grand I don’t have, but it’s also 20 grand that needs to be spent,” Bounds said.
He stressed the importance of getting involved politically, whether it is through travel or getting involved locally.
“It takes people like us going into the red areas saying 'You’re not alone,'” Bounds said. “'There are people here, and you have a home if you want one.'”