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Tuesday, March 29, 2005
A Clear Explanantion of How ASUC Elections are Run (and Won)
[This was written by Kevin! in comments, and it is so good that it needs to be posted here. All future campaign coverage here on CalStuff should be read with a consideration of these points. And yes, it's long, use that little scroll thing on that mouse you have to skip over it if elections don't interest you.]
BU's disconnection from reality is kind of sad. They persist in the common Poli Sci undergrad illusion that winning votes is exactly like a National Election -- that it's about pushing issues, making speeches, and a big media blitz. That probably explains some of their obsession with Calstuff coverage -- the common belief that media coverage will actually affect voters.
That is not how ASUC Elections work. ASUC Elections are exactly like High School popularity contests.
There is one way to win elections, and that is by making personal connections with voters, and walking them to the polls. NO EXCEPTIONS. Voters need to know the person, or been urged to by a friend of the candidate. A group endorsement can also work, but even then only if the group is well-organized and can be poll-walked.
I told all the Squelch! Candidates: if you don't watch the person vote, they have not voted for you. If you do not have their name and number written down somewhere, you will not watch them vote.
That is why all those candidates you see on Sproul walking around talking to other candidates are wasting their time. Unless you're meeting people, you're losing.
This changes the dynamics in a few ways BU does not understand. Instead of media posturing and campaign ideals, they need to create the hugest, biggest, largest possible network of campaign volunteers and candidates the world has ever known. Not for the work they do, but because each volunteer can ideally bring 15 friends to the polls, hopefully more.
And they need a full slate, because it's just not possible for a candidate to know more then 500-1000 people on his/her own. It cannot be done. Kris Primm, the most popular person Cal has ever had, with a huge volunteer base, could not win an Executive spot because he ran on his own. By running as part of a cohesive slate that campaigns together, you are effectively getting 600 votes from EACH other Exec candidate on your slate, and many more from the people your Senate candidates bring in.
My guess is that 1/3 of your Exec votes should come from people voting for you. The rest will come from people voting for your AAVP candidate AND you, etc.
BU is doing better on this then last year, when they only ran a few people, but I don't think they grasp the math behind running that full slate. Kloberdanz could possibly have beaten Leybovich one on one. But there was never any chance that he could've beaten Leybovich + Lee + Gade, etc.
This year, BU apparently has two serious candidates. It's an improvement. It's not enough. And losing party recognition means those Asian Christians that Wang is supposed to bring in are probably not going to find Liberman. SA, in contrast, understands the importance of telling each Exec candidate to make sure their people are voting for the others as well.
(It's true that a good media campaign, high visibility on Sproul, and a good gimmick can attract those 10% of random voters. That can be useful in Senate campaigns that need those last ten votes to win. It's not important in Exec races.)
No doubt you've noticed that Campaign Issues have not come up yet. Campaign Issues have nothing to do with winning. They never have in my memory. It is remotely possible, in the wake of some earth-shaking scandal, that voters will punish a party. That hasn't happened this year. Push whatever issues you please. Voters do not care and will not vote for you because of them. They will vote for you because you approached them in your Stat class and you called them later for poll-walking.
In addition, they will not vote against SA because of your attacks, because they aren't voting 'for SA.' They're voting for their friend Manny, who happens to be running with Student Action. Or for XXX in CalSERVE, because the head of their Pre-law group is running. No one votes Student Action like they vote Democrat or Republican. THIS IS NOT A NATIONAL ELECTION.
It must be intoxicating to be in BU right now and believe that a small group of dedicated individuals can change the world. We don't live in that world. Running a modern ASUC campaign requires mammoth, immensely well-coordinated campaigns, intense cooperation between candidates, and a strong logistical operation to walk voters to the polls. Don't waste your time and money thinking otherwise.Email This Post!
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