Former Associate Director of College Counseling Ms. Lauren Randle reminisces about her time on Hillary Clinton’s campaign and offers insight into this year’s election.
Before Ms. Lauren Randle came to Malvern as the Associate Director of College Counseling, she had a very unique experience with today’s leading Democratic candidate, ranging from being her daughter’s personal driver to being in the trenches of her campaign.
Randle left Malvern in October 2015 and now works as a senior college admissions consultant at the College Coach organization.
Before receiving her masters in higher education administration at the University of Virginia, Randle set her sights on a career in politics, going between two majors at Georgetown University.
“When I went to Georgetown, I was dead set on becoming a government major,” Randle said. “But when I took some introductory courses I began to ask myself, ‘where are all the women?’ Of course, that is history. But personally, I was more interested in the future of politics and felt that the big piece of the puzzle that was missing was gender equality. So I really switched my focus from government to a blend of focusing on politics and women’s studies, which enabled me to create my own concentration within American studies.”
“It really is worth it to work around people who are passionate about issues in our country, and I wouldn’t trade my personal experiences for anything.”
Ms. Lauren Randle
For her, the decision to refocus her major could not have come at a better time.
“I always loved Hillary,” Randle said. “But me applying for the internships really came after my own personal revelation. She was really in a position to make some noise in the political world and I wanted to be in the middle of it all.”
In her sophomore year of college at Georgetown, Randle’s first personal exposure to Clinton came on her Senate reelection campaign in 2006. Her first experience was a good one, as Clinton won the reelection.
A year went by and Clinton decided to run for the presidency in 2008. Now a senior, Randle worked once again as an intern on her campaign.
Randle has a surprising perspective on internship work. She called it, “the greatest thing in the world.”
“Even though you didn’t get paid, you kind of had this position of power. You can tell [your boss] no if you want,” Randle said. “One piece of advice I could give to young people is stick it out, work for free, work your butt off. The amount of respect you get as an intern is astonishing.”
Randle certainly did earn a lot of respect. She was flown out to Las Vegas to help with the caucusing and she was the only intern to ever be invited to the Clinton home to do events, according to Randle.
However, Randle received a call one night of her senior spring semester, asking her to work the campaign full time – this time as Chelsea Clinton’s personal driver and scheduler.
“It was surprising because they wanted me to be in North Carolina the next morning at 6 AM and I was still in D.C.,” Randle said. “But without even thinking, I said yes. It was one of those things that was now or never and I threw myself into it.”
Once she got to North Carolina after only ten hours of notice, another challenge presented itself.
“The funny thing is, I was driving her daughter through states I had never even been to,” Randle said. “I had never driven one of those big Suburban SUVs before; I actually hadn’t even owned a car since I was 17.”
Despite initial nerves in such a new environment, she is glad she got to spend so much time with Chelsea.
“Something that really stood out to me was how excited she was for her mom,” Randle said. “It became clear to me that these are real people.”
Randle was really impressed with Chelsea’s sacrifice and willingness to give up part of her own life to support what her mother was doing. Through it all, Chelsea remained real, normal, and loving towards her mother, according to Randle.
Another perk of driving Chelsea around was Hillary certainly got to know who Randle was. After she lost the nomination, she invited the entire staff over as a thank you for all the work they had done for her.
“Hundreds, if not thousands, of people had just lost their jobs. At that time I had just gotten the job over at Georgetown admissions, so I wanted to let her know that I was ok,” Randle said. “When I interviewed for the position at Georgetown, the person interviewing me was a huge Hillary fan so we talked about her a lot. So I went over to Hillary, and kind of in a joking way I said ‘I might not be working in the White House but you’re still the reason I got my job at Georgetown.’”
Hillary quickly stopped her and said that was not true and that she got the job because of her dynamicity, passion, and intelligence. Clinton was able to make her feel special and valued even after the campaign was over, an interaction Randle describes as one of the best moments in her life.
Despite her allegiance to the Democratic party, Randle could not justify putting in the work that was required to work another campaign if she wasn’t as passionate about the campaign as she was while working with Hillary.
“When I had the opportunity to go over and work for the Obama campaign, I strongly considered it, but I just didn’t feel as passionately,” Randle said. “For me it wasn’t about winning or really the politics at all. It was about the personal connection I had with Hillary and the change I wanted to see in American politics.”
Even though her political career has come to an end, Randle is still very much involved in the current campaign and is an avid Hillary supporter.
“Something I don’t think people give her enough credit for is that she absolutely has evolved since her defeat in 2008,” Randle said. “I think she is the same person, but I think she is a different candidate.”
According to Randle, Hillary is still very passionate about what she originally set out to do, fighting for the same changes since day one – however, she is going about it a different way.
“She has always fought for the same principles and the same goals. That is what she is passionate about, that is who she is as a person,” Randle said. “She has evolved with the times and I think she is going into this election more humble. She realizes she has to work for votes just like every other candidate.”
Along with her personal changes, Randle believes a large portion of Hillary’s success may stem from how the public is perceiving her now as opposed to before.
“I think that people over time are seeing her a little bit differently because she has had different roles. She has been the Secretary of State, she has been a Senator,” Randle said. “I think she is less and less associated with her husband’s presidency and now she is viewed as her own separate entity.”
Time has done more than affect her public status. It has given her experience and has enabled her to show her personality more and more, according to Randle.
“There is no doubt about it that she is a very intelligent woman, but her political journey has only made her that much smarter. I consider her a policy wonk. It is very hard to find a topic she is not well versed in and experienced with,” Randle said. “I think something that has really helped her is that she is showing her personality now.”
“People always saw the intelligence in her but now more and more people are seeing how funny and quick witted she is,” Randle said.
With all of Hillary’s changes for the better, Randle said she is somewhat surprised about how close Bernie Sanders currently is to her in the polls.
“The part I do understand is how he has the kind of grassroots support that he has,” Randle said. “A lot of people want some really radical changes in this country because things are just not working out for the average American and they see a lot of inequality. So they want someone who is really out of the box.”
The part Randle said she does not understand is how Bernie Sanders is so successful with how narrowly focused some of his views are.
“I do support a lot of what Bernie Sanders says, but my issue is his issues have a much more singular focus on wealth disparity in this country,” Randle said. “I think Hillary addresses that, but also is a better candidate on a much broader range. I think that there are a variety of issues that are present that the president needs to be able to address and I don’t think Bernie can do that with his current approach.”
Randle expressed some frustration with how Hillary is treated and how some Americans are currently approaching their search for the next president.
“I think that we need the best diplomat and Hillary is certainly that. America is more concerned with whether candidate is someone they could hang out with than if they would be the next best world leader,” Randle said. “Think of this analogy: If someone needed heart surgery, they wouldn’t want the nicest surgeon. They would want the one who is the best at what they do. In the same vein, we shouldn’t want the nicest president, we should want the best.”
Taking the politics out of it, Randle had one final piece of advice.
“No matter what your politics are, I really encourage everyone to be part of a campaign on any level,” Randle said. “It is an awesome experience to see people working so tirelessly for a cause, rather than money or prestige – because trust me, there isn’t anything glamorous about working a campaign.”
“But it really is worth it to work around people who are passionate about issues in our country, and I wouldn’t trade my personal experiences for anything,” she said.