Sensible Choices

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7 Responses

  1. Kyle Huey says:

    Interesting take. The idea that turnout was down in the dorms though I think is misleading. A lot of the dorms are near maximum possible turnout anyways. For instance, turnout in Hume was roughly 60% in 2007, increasing to 80% in 2008. There really isn’t much room for improvement on top of that. When contrasted with off campus districts that have ~10% turnout (and are much larger) it becomes clear that any bump in turnout is likely to increase relative turnout in the districts more than it does on campus.

  2. Ken says:

    This is quite true – dorms are pretty much tapped out, especially now that they each have a separate senator.

    The problem I saw in the numbers, though, is that turnout was up for both sides, but the turnout spike for Gator only helped in their strongholds. This is different from Dictor’s myth that the turnout spike was one-sided, and caused by his natural greatness.

    It’s certainly a warning that he can’t expect to win on that basis. I think, even if turnout remains high in two weeks, that the results will fall into the usual pattern when a large third party (usually a breakaway faction of liberal independents) is present, in that there will be a runoff and the third party won’t be in it.

  3. haha89 says:

    I can understand you standing behind O&B, but how can anyone seriously support Brandon White? The man is a clear opportunist.

  4. Ken says:

    In SG and in politics in general, opportunism isn’t the worst quality one can have. As long as he could deliver the support he promised after each switch in parties. And he is clearly the most qualified Treasurer candidate running in the election, which won’t hurt.

    As I said, I live too far away and have been away for too long to have an impact on endorsements. I don’t even know any of the 12 executive candidates personally, although I have exchanged emails with some of their supporters. Maybe I’m wrong on a personal level, but in terms of breadth of experience, strength of ideas, and the right sense of strategy, O&B appears to be a clear and sensible choice. Progress and Unite have their own positives, but they are missing the whole package O&B has.

  5. haha89 says:

    Well, I’ll give you credit for admitting you aren’t fully involved, but Brandon White is a horrific Budget chairman, and was horrific on the committee as well, so we can all assume his speech about only being where he’s at because he’s black is true. Anybody who knows anything truly about budgets and money at this school saw his actions during the debates hilarious, at best.

    Personally, I’m up in the air about the Treasurer candidates. Jose really offers no experience at all, and may not have been too vocal during Senate, but he did actually try to work with his school (Accounting) on the budget cuts. Maryam did a shoddy job last night and is obviously not the best public speaker but at least she’s got Treasurer of a large org and a Special Event under her belt. Brandon is just a giant douchebag who played the system and moved up undeservedly and when he finally couldn’t go any further, he cried about it and left the party. No matter what face they put on sometimes, even the O&B kids know it’s true.

  6. MrKnowitAll says:

    Mr. Kerns I respect your opinions. I have read your blog for some time now. I must say that your objectivity is slightly lacking this semester.

    “in terms of breadth of experience, strength of ideas, and the right sense of strategy, O&B appears to be a clear and sensible choice”

    Breadth of experience – Unite scores highest on the ballot here, remember the so called insiders, the system, they are who you label them to be because of their unbridled exposure to SG. Interestingly enough they actually have two candidates Laguna and Vickers who bring a wealth of non-sg organizational leadership. The kind of leadership that is untainted by SG politics. Ironically, Vickers isn’t greek and the AA candidate is usually also greek. Let us look back, Drayton, Goodwin, even the esteemed Sowell was a member of a greek house. I forgive you for your failure to highlight this fact, and for your failure to highlight as often as you highlight the Unite party’s greek ties, White’s greek status.

    Strength of Ideas – Let’s give it a draw here. 24 hour librrary would be nice, but if I have to hear the JJ kid say let’s work together one more time, I may shoot myself.

    Right sense of strategy – I think Unite trumps O&B here again, for sooooo many reasons. First, picking up a non-indie person for the so called indie party is always risky. It can be considered quite hypocritical and the true indie base may reject it. In many ways it neutralizes the indie tone. It can be helpful if you are picking up someone well respected in the other party and you are the first choice and not the last resort. So O&B is gambling and hoping that for every indie vote they lose White will at least bring two, and he very well may. On the point of race, I am not sure that this matters much now that we live in a post-racial America, after the election of the first AA president. I really hope that O&B is not using White to bring AA voters just because he is AA, that may also seem hypocritical. Even if this is the case O&B could get a boost here and it is not such a bad strategy to have an AA on your ticket. We all know the AAs have a strong voting block. So AAs may vote for White. However, I would venture to say that an AA voting block does not consist simply of AAs, I would think they get a huge amount of Hispanic, Asian, and minority support period. So if you add all that up in the AA block, and subtract most of the Hispanic vote and possibly a large chunk of the Asian vote, White still may not beat Laguna, who has a solid base of greeks and Hispanics behind her.

    Let’s say White pulls the votes. Will he be pulling them also to the to the top of the ticket? Will he be able to get AAs to vote for the head of the ticket? It is EXTREMELY likely that White will win and the O&B President and VP will not win. If this happens how does this help the indie movement? Will he stay loyal to the indie party? What is his price? Can he be bought by the greeks? After all he is greek and an AA.

    Ken please tell me how this is “the right sense of strategy.”

  7. Ken says:

    You make a lot of excellent points. Most of my commentary this semester has been geared toward the debate over Progress vs. O&B, as the other indie SG blogger has picked the other party.

    O&B found itself in a tough spot this Spring. It lost a chunk of its base to the Progress Party, which is claiming a contingent of left-wing and graduate student voters. To remain competitive with Unite and avoid a 2005-style debacle, they needed to reach out beyond their base. And thanks to Progress, and an overly ambitious White, they had an obvious means for doing so – by softening their indie cred and going more mainstream.

    I know it is not the norm of the last three years, but a coalition of ambitious Greeks and more idealistic Independents has never been off the table. Vision in 1997, SUN in 2000-2001, Access in 2004, Unite in 2006 – these are decent examples of an attempt to win by broadening the base. Each had their flaws, and often had used Greek support to shore up the loss of other non-Greek votes (particularly honors kids and IRHA), so it remains to be seen whether it can work – with Sowell proving to be the exception.

    I don’t really know the details of which demographics are on which sides, at least not enough to gage specifically how well O&B will do. I think you’re right that White has a chance against a largely unknown Ortega and a more unknown college council treasurer – perhaps even better odds than the white-liberal duo at the top of the O&B ticket. But I also think you’re overestimating the damage his being on the ticket will cause the indie movement.

    The worst-case scenario is for White to win and for McShera and most of the rest of the O&B ticket to lose. Then it does leave the indie movement feeling disappointed and left out. But to tell you the truth, if that happens, it will have more to do with the fact that Dictor and McShera couldn’t play nice together than with White’s cross-over appeal to Unite’s base voters.

    And you can never quite tell how things will turn out. In Fall 2000, SUN ran one of the best campaigns in Districts A and B in recent memory due to their coalition with an ambitious Greek, but had among the worst showings on campus for an indie party – yet the large trove of Senators won in C and D were classic GDI types.

    The real question you have to ask yourself is whether White can do better among the type of voters Unite could get than McShera can do among Progress-types. Who knows?

    As for the rest about experience, ideas, and strategy – again, I’m mostly comparing the two indie parties this semester. Unite’s Greek base guarantees them a pretty safe cushion in the election that allows them to play rhetorical games like the “positive new direction” gambit that ends up doing them little good. Right now, Unite just needs to avoid losing their base, and they’ll do more than fine.

    Again, I’d only be surprised if Unite is below 40% on the first ballot. I’d be in utter shock if they don’t come in first. And there’s no way they’d fail to make the runoff. For them, it’s just making sure they have a big enough lead on the first ballot to get the lion share of Senate seats.

    So they don’t need a fancy campaign this time to win – the better strategy is an important question for the Independents. We’ll leave the question of Unite’s strategy to the expected runoff election.

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