Oh, for fuck’s sake, people. Not this again.
Above you see the campaign video for Alex Bores, a Cornell sophomore running for student trustee this spring. On the one hand, we have to admit that Alex at least puts one fellow Cornellian to shame. You may remember Natalie Raps — though hopefully you’ve already purged her from your memory — whose super-grating attempt at the same trick in February made us want to kick a puppy or something. This, at least, is better.
At the same time, though, we’re pretty exasperated by this whole trend — student candidates trying to Rebecca Black their way into office. There’s no even-remotely-legitimate reason for it. And what stings most is how effective the strategy is. NatRaps won her election last month by a wide margin. Same for the brutally unfunny Bowman-Hysen ticket in last year’s Undergraduate Council election at Harvard. (Fast-forward to 3:15 — they may not have been singing, but it was still criminally terrible.) Given such electoral coups, it behooves us to look at the underlying phenomena that enable these brazen “fuck yous” to the democratic process (after the jump!):
If there’s one age-old truth in student politics, it’s that literally nobody cares. So imagine, if you will, the typical thought process of someone voting in a student government election. It probably looks something like this:
Step 1) Do I know anyone running? If “yes,” proceed to step 2. If “no,” skip over to step 3, and count your lucky stars.
Step 2) Do I like the person who’s running, even a little bit? If “yes,” vote for said candidate. If “no,” pick the alternative who least reminds you of a deranged Tracy Flick knock-off. If all candidates are equally insufferable, proceed to step 3.
Step 3) After scrutinizing the head shots of all viable candidates, which would I most like to sleep with? Vote for that person. Wait, no? OK, fine. Proceed to step 4.
Step 4) Ponder those issues most important to you, familiarize yourself with each candidate’s platform via campaign literature — sadly, “abolish student government” doesn’t appear to have made the cut — and basically just pick at random. Or, barring that, proceed to step 5.
Step 5) “This is stupid. Who’s up for Chipotle?”
Of course, bypassing all of these steps is as easy as convincing people to watch a few minutes of you embarrassing yourself on YouTube. Yay, democracy.