It’s now clear that my concerns about an increasingly irrelevant executive (as judged by a non-competitive race) are entirely moot, as a new slate “Cardona and Wharton” has entered the Executive race, featuring Angelina Cardona for President and Kelsei Wharton for Vice President. A second/third (see below) undergraduate slate is big news, especially as it comes from two established ASSU insiders who will be able to marshal serious support from undergraduates.
Angelina Cardona has been a major player in the area of mental health at Stanford, helping to lead the “I Am Not a Bystander Campaign” last year as the Co-Chair for Health in the Executive and also leading the opening of the Wellness Room. This experience clearly shows that she knows how to operate in the Executive environment, but neither of her initiatives have been particularly successful, at least as far as I am aware. The Wellness Room, in particular, has faced criticism, including from the Review.
Kelsei Wharton is currently the deputy chair of the Senate and former Frosh Council member (‘012, represent!), so he too brings a host of ASSU experience. In particular, as one of the roles of the VP is to serve as a legislative liaison, his experience on the Senate would clearly be very valuable in that capacity. One of the challenges that the Gobaud administration has faced is a combative Senate and having a former Senator on board there would certainly help make the Senate/Exec relationship smoother.
What does their entry into the race mean (whether they win or lose)?
I haven’t seen a platform appear from them yet (and I hadn’t heard that their slate might be coalescing; I had heard that Wharton in particular might be weighing a run next year, so it will be interesting to see if he does so, particularly if the Cardona and Wharton slate wins this year), but I’ll be sure to cover it once it appears. As a side note, Cardona’s role in creating the Wellness Room creates an immediate conflict with the stated platform of the Scher/Werner ticket, which has a campaign plank to “divert money from the under-utilized Wellness Room into residential initiatives.” So, for all of you who say that it doesn’t matter who wins, at least the fate of Old Union Room 120 actually rests in your hands.
Finally, a second/third competitive undergraduate slate (my apologies to the “No Rain Campaign!” for misjudging them earlier; as evidenced in their interview with this blog, they do in fact have more of a platform than I gave them credit for initially; I still fear that unless they make a very strong effort, their name will handicap their ability to gain credibility in the eyes of voters (and lastly, Vice-Presidential candidate Daniel Leifer does mention the goal not of winning, but rather of getting “a respectable number of votes,” which is not the hallmark of a totally serious candidacy)) could have interesting electoral ramifications for the Peacock/Bakke slate that I covered on Monday. As everyone knows (or will soon learn), voters rank the Executive slates and the worst performing slate is eliminated over several rounds, with its voters moving to the next choice on their list. However, you are not required to rank all slates. If a sufficient number of undergraduates rank only their top slate (or only rank the less serious Chappie Slate plus one serious slate), then the undergraduate vote might be first split between Scher/Werner, Cardona/Wharton, and the No Rain Campaign! and then diminished, once one of those slates is eliminated (as its partisans would then be out of contention). This could leave Peacock/Bakke in a much better position than might otherwise be expected, considering normal turnout figures. If the race gets nasty (not that I expect this), this is a possibility and Peacock/Bakke could benefit, especially if they can position themselves as the second-place slate of choice.
It’s going to be a fascinating race, so please don’t hesitate to comment here or send me your thoughts at oreid at stanford.edu.