Cal Student Shows Political Promise
By: Carter Beale, Leslie Galvan, and Lauren Kapp
On January 20, 2009, Edward Millet stayed home from school. He was ten years old, and his family gathered around the TV in their home in Ventura to watch Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration. “This is history,” his father told Edward, then in the fifth grade. “This is what America really is. It’s a place where anyone can do anything.”
Ten years later, on November 7, 2020, Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election was announced. To Millet, the defeat of the Trump administration marked the restoration of America’s legitimacy. Millet and his friends took his car out for a ride around Berkeley, honking the horn in celebration. “It was a special moment,” Millet said. “It felt like you were part of history.”
Millet had spent the last year working to get Biden in office. In 2019 Millet, then a junior, launched Bears for Biden, a student-run campaign at UC Berkeley. Campaigning for an establishment Democrat on a campus where strident support for progressive politics was no easy feat. This unique challenge was specific to Berkeley and not a common issue for the other 200+ student-led campaigns.
Millet often encountered criticism from other Berkeley students. “I’d wear my Biden T-shirt, and I’d get a lot of heat for it,” Millet said. “‘He’s a warmonger, he’s going to ruin the U.S., he doesn’t care about people,’ they’d say to me.”
Millet stuck to his convictions.
“He doesn’t get as lost in the ‘Berkeley Bubble’ of far-left politics as some people do,” fellow campaign coordinator Aaron Hill said. “He understood that relatively few Americans stood behind some of the ideas that were incredibly prevalent on campus.”
Although Millet describes himself as a naturally confident person, he had to develop this quality during childhood.
“I dealt with bullying. It toughened my skin and built me into being confident.”
His peers say it’s his convictions that lend him his boldness.
“He believes that progress and tolerance can coexist with each other, which is why he is able to stand up for his own views while engaging in respectful discourse with others,” fellow campaign coordinator Diane Chao said.
While Millet plans on continuing to be involved with political campaigns in the future, he believes America will benefit from a greater diversity of voices.
“I don’t think I ever want to be a politician, but I love elections.”
After Berkeley, Millet hopes to attend graduate school in Washington D.C. He sees himself volunteering in 2022 campaigns, working toward securing Democratic representatives on the East Coast.
Millet speaks of his future plans with a sense of adventure. Although politics can be disheartening, Millet’s open-mindedness allows him to remain hopeful for the change of tomorrow.
“We can make the change if we keep trying.”