“You don’t have to study politics in order to get involved with politics,” said Alex Goldman, U2 Arts. “It’s all about being diverse and coming from many different backgrounds.”
True to his word, Goldman—a former Management student, now switching into History—has already dedicated much of his life to politics. He was raised in Vienna, Austria, where his father worked for the State Department and the United Nations (UN).
“Government and policy [were] always around me, and always interested me,” Goldman said. “But it wasn’t until I took an AP Government class in high school [that] I really decided [politics] was something I […] wanted to do.”
Though he had a passion for government, Goldman decided not to study Political Science at McGill, hoping to diversify his knowledge before starting his career.
He has used work and internship opportunities outside of school to delve into the field. Perhaps his most notable political experience to date, Goldman worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, starting in 2015. Before working with Secretary Clinton, he got his feet wet in American politics by interning for several distinguished politicians, such as Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Senator Ed Markey, and Congressman John Delaney.
“The person who gave me my start in any type of politics was Congresswoman Katherine Clark [of Massachusetts],” Goldman noted. “She is, to put it bluntly, my hero. She [taught] me how to be civically engaged and [to govern] with honour.”
Goldman joined the Clinton campaign in August 2015 as an unpaid fellow. Most of his job involved direct voter contact, such as making phone calls and knocking on doors to solicit potential votes. Even though it was unpaid, the experience was extremely enriching.
“I’ve never been happier about any job,” Goldman said. “Being an unpaid intern was great. I literally walked into the office and the governor of Connecticut was just talking to, like, 20 volunteers [….] That was a good start.”
After his three-month stint as an intern, Goldman decided to keep working for the campaign. He moved to Henderson, Nevada to work as an organizer and volunteer recruiter for the caucus. Clinton had won the precinct caucus by one delegate, making her the elected representative for the state.
“After that, I was an organizer in Idaho,” Goldman said. “[Later,] I was a regional organizing director in Minnesota, where I managed a staff of six organizers [and] twenty fellows. I [did] political advocacy, strategy, event-building, stuff [like that]. I worked up until the [actual] election.”
For Goldman, the defining moment of his work was the precinct caucus in Nevada. A caucus, which is a meeting between members of a political party to select candidates or decide policy, requires a lot of volunteers. Many of these volunteers were recruited from off the streets. The complex system involves caucus math, which calculates how many delegates are awarded to either Clinton or Senator Bernie Sanders.
“This [Nevada] job was the single most challenging experience [ever],” Goldman said. “12-hour days were just normal [….] But caucus day was the greatest day of my life [because] we won by five points.”
Goldman also described the surreal moment during the Nevada caucus in which Hillary Clinton made a surprise showing.
“I had to control the crowd around her, and [dictate] where she’d go,” he explained. “So here I am, […] standing next to Hillary Clinton, dictating ‘No, Secretary, come this way,’ or ‘Secretary, take a picture here.’ It was just so [surreal].”
The campaign was a lot of stress and hard work, but for Goldman, the Nevada caucus victory was worth the struggle.
“The campaign was long and [hard],” Goldman recalled. “And some days, it was awful. There were so many tears, so much stress, many late-night fast food runs, and a lot of loneliness. But it was the most incredible experience of my life. I just have absolutely nothing to compare it to."
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Goldman began working with the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2014, when in fact he began work there in 2015. The Tribune regrets this errors.