Aren't Elections Fun?
Issue   |   Wed, 04/11/2012 - 00:09

I’m slightly obsessed with elections, so I found out about the election complaint when I checked to see if the results were up at midnight Saturday morning (it displayed a short message entitled “Election Complaint”). Unlike the candidates at issue, however, I wasn’t able to secure any of the then-classified information on the subject, instead finding out the details in the early-released article in The Student.

I have three basic reactions to the controversy of election fraud and gaming from the article and its ensuing storm of comments. First, I’d like to tip my hat to Diwa for quickly owning up to what she had done and making a statement admitting it. In making a statement she did the right thing, regardless of her previous actions, and I’m saddened that her resignation comes amidst claims of bad treatment at the hands of the Executive Board.

Next, I’d like to make it clear that, if there was any sort of fraud or exchange of “insider information,” it was wrong and illegitimate. It doesn’t matter if it happened in the past and had gone unpunished then, it’s just as wrong now as it was then; the only difference is we’ve brought it into the light this time.

My third reaction is primarily to a particular strain of the anonymous comments on the article. For some reason, a group of students felt the need to use this scandal as an opportunity to attack the fraternities. The fraternities have nothing to do with this election issue, and publicly attacking their members isn’t cool, especially since the College officially bans them. There’s no need to call them on the carpet when they haven’t actually done anything.

Oh, and one more thing: Josh Mayer needs to withdraw his candidacy. I know, the Judiciary Council hasn’t met, so nothing official has been decided, but it is clear from the evidence that he at least possessed illicit knowledge and had no problem with having that information until someone else brought it to light. Alex Stein stepped down even though he was less implicated than Mayer, which I respect. Mayer needs to quit fighting against the facts and formally end his run for the presidency because trudging on any further is immature and will only make a ruling against him even worse.

Of course, Mayer isn’t the only candidate in the spotlight for deciding whether or not to remain in a presidential race. on Tuesday afternoon, Rick Santorum announced the suspension of his campaign.

This is the article of a conservative about to go crazy. It’s true that part of that is because Santorum’s announcement rendered my original article, written only a day before (which was a perfectly good article) completely nugatory, forcing me to compose an almost entirely new draft. But the greater part of my stress is due to the fact that I now have absolutely no idea whom to support in the elections.

Santorum is a real conservative, possibly the only one who was in the running. He said things that offended people because he believed them and he didn’t back down. These are things I respected and wanted in my next President.

Unfortunately, there’s now a gaping conservative hole in the list of candidates for the presidency. Ron Paul, as I’ve said before, is a good, consistent person, but his policies would end in negative transformation or catastrophe for America. Also, though he hasn’t placed in last in the most recent primaries, there’s almost no way he’ll win short of some miracle in a brokered convention.

Mitt Romney is a flip-flop, double-faced, silver-tongued fool; in short, a politician. He is a moderate by convention, with a decent number of liberal leanings (i.e., universal healthcare), and he doesn’t have the strength of values, policies or personality to win an election against Obama. Then again, I’m not even sure that I would want him to win. Voting for Romney is, policy-wise, not that different from voting for Obama, except then the Democrats can blame the Republicans for everything that goes wrong for the next four years and elect another president who will likely be even more liberal yet.

There’s no way I’d vote for Romney, no matter if he is as inevitable a candidate (inevitable, a word usually associated with negative things, like death, taxes and finals) as he would have us believe. Does that mean that I would vote for the incumbent? I’m honestly not sure. Obama has really only done a couple things of significance as President, and, while I detest those things from the bottom of my heart, he’s probably not going to destroy the country in the next four years (sorry, Romney, I think I just ruined your best campaign slogan). Still, I just can’t see myself voting for someone I disagree with to avoid voting for someone else I disagree with. I’m not a “lesser of two evils” kind of guy; I want a real multi-party system, and I’ll probably end up voting for a third party candidate.

The only way that I might still vote Republican is if Newt Gingrich somehow pulls out the nomination. For him to make a comeback at this point would be an almost unparalleled political feat — the guy’s been losing to Ron Paul, consistently. I don’t even like him. I think that Gingrich is a genuinely evil human being, but I think that he will advance beneficial policies (perhaps because a republic is predicated on the notion that people tend to do bad things). As much as it hurts to say, I’m stuck cheering for him. But only a little; I’m not going to go buy a Gingrich foam finger or anything, and, frankly, I don’t even want Santorum to endorse him.

Oh, Santorum, why did you have to go and drop out of the race? You had a real shot, especially if the field would have cleared a little differently. Alas, if only candidates had good sense; the art of timing is everything. As Kenny Rogers says, “You’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” For Santorum, I don’t think it was time to fold, but I respect that he put family first.

For Mayer, on the other hand, the time to fold is now.

Matt (not verified) says:
Wed, 04/11/2012 - 10:50

The ending was particularly well-timed. Though I support Obama and other Democrats, I think Gingrich was stupid to not drop out. He and Santorum killed each other by splitting the conservative electorate.

Similarly, it was noted that Josh Mayer and Alex Stein were behind Tania Dias in the early-goings of the election. This doesn't surprise me: I feel the two men appeal more to a certain approx. 60% of the student population, while Dias appeals more to the other 40%. Thus, Dias gets 40% of the votes, while Mayer and Stein average 30% each. Mayer won't quit because, in the case of a runoff, he'll likely win it all.

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Megan (not verified) says:
Wed, 04/11/2012 - 15:41

While I am just about as anti-politician as they come, I must say that I find your classification of Romney as nothing more than a "fool", somewhat simplistic and your support of Santorum somewhat naive. As to the first, I would agrue that there are seldom foolish politicians. Deceitfulness takes a certain kind of cunning, after all. As to the second, you argue that Santorum said things because he "believed" them. While I don't know him personally, if I were to judge him based on what we've all learned from politics in general (i.e. that politicians care about being elected - period.), I would say that his "beliefs" stemmed from a hope to connect to conservative Christian voters. Even if they are his real beliefs, he undoubtedly played them up to seem appealing to certain voters. In any case, interesting read. As for the Amherst stuff, totally agreed on the Mayer thing. Shameful.

Alum '11 (not verified) says:
Thu, 04/12/2012 - 13:47

With regard to the AAS election, honestly, this stuff happens all the time. Almost in every election, someone leaks information to someone else. I agree with you that it doesn't make it right, but we still don't know exactly how much information was given, whether exact numbers, or subtle hints, to which it's not Josh's fault that Diwa told him these things if he did not solicit the information. In any case, if both drop out, and Dias wins by default, I would say that is not very democratic at all. If anything, they should just redo the election and make sure no one has access to any of the information. At worst, this would not hurt Dias's chances because it may create animosity towards Josh because of the controversy and hurt his vote totals as compared to before. Or, if he wins the election anyway, it means the students think this whole thing is really silly, and we should let the democratic process decide.

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