It is the kind of Midwestern autumn day when many college students would go out and throw a Frisbee or try to study under a tree (and then nap). It is Sunday, hot in the sun and cool in the shade of trees that are now turning unlikely shades of red and orange.
But Emily Daniels, a freshman at nearby Bethany College, has a bigger agenda. She is straight from church when we meet her in a leafy neighborhood of South Bend. She is canvassing for Duane Beals, a Republican trying to oust incumbent Pat Bauer, a Democrat who has served 40 years as a state representative.
“I make time for things that are important,” says the 18-year old, who is launching into a heavy load of classes, from economics to chemistry.
Daniels says she hopes to work managing political campaigns in the future, and in getting people involved in the political process. She is organizing college students in South Bend, though it is a struggle, she admits, because most are apathetic about politics. But as she approaches residents in this neighborhood, there’s nothing to suggest that she isn’t a veteran political activist.
Daniels, who was raised in a Republican home and attends a Christian college, said she witnessed her parents becoming disillusioned with many GOP politicians who they felt had betrayed them in office, and hadn’t voted the way they said they would. So she identifies herself as a Republican but also as Tea Party member because she likes the way the movement seems to evaluate Republican candidates as well as Democrats.
“The Tea Party is people who actually care and want to be involved in the Republican Party... and want to make sure they keep promises and really represent the people.”