Political opening: Democratic and Republican clubs established at Decatur

Democratic and Republican clubs established at DHS


Mahmoud is currently looking for a charter from the Georgia state association of Young Democrats, and funding from the Dekalb County Young Republicans.

Decatur welcomed politics into the list of official school clubs on Dec. 13 and 14. In the second-to-last week of the first semester, not just one, but two new clubs held their first meetings: Young Democrats and Young Republicans.

“I want to have these clubs help people feel accepted for their ideas and political ideologies,” junior Ibrahim Mahmoud said.

Mahmoud started both clubs because he “felt like there was a need for political clubs” at Decatur. After hearing from a friend in the Young Republicans club at Columbus High School, Mahmoud decided in September to pursue the creation of both clubs.

“If you only have one, you’re basically ignoring a whole group of people so if I were to start just the Young Democrats, wouldn’t the Young Republicans at the school feel ignored?” Mahmoud said. “I wanted to basically give a platform for everyone to have a voice.”

In 2018, Mahmoud envisions these clubs inviting guest speakers, debating each other and campaigning for their respective parties. Mahmoud also hopes both clubs will create a more open political environment at Decatur.

“I want to create a dialogue between Republicans and Democrats, and because this is such a liberal school, we’re only seeing one side of the argument, and we’re basically villainizing the Republicans,” Mahmoud said. “I also want students to have fun… expressing their ideas.”

Cara Cassell, sponsor of the Young Democrats, also sees both clubs starting at the same time as a key to their success.

Junior Ibrahim Mahmoud leads the inaugural Young Democrats meeting on Friday, Dec. 15, as fellow juniors Zoe Coblin, Ruiqi Zhang and Claire Goldman look on.

“I think if they hadn’t started at the same time, because of the way our national politics seem to be very divisive and unkind, I would not have thought it would be a good idea for either one of them to start by themselves,” Cassell said. “But I personally think it was really good for them to start together and I think it’s really good for students to have an opportunity to learn how to be part of an organization that has politics as its focus. Ideally, they’re going to come out more informed than they would have.”

Because of Decatur’s widely recognized liberal lean, Mahmoud sees the establishment and growth of the Young Republicans as a greater challenge than that of the Young Democrats.

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