As of right now, the only slates for Exec are Thom and Stephanie, The No Rain Campaign! (Get out of the Gutter / Criminalize Dark Skies), and Two Dope Boys in a Caddylack. Going off of the names of these slates, it’s pretty clear that there is only one serious slate running, that of Thom Scher and Stephanie Warner. A Crichton/Gao slate folded after a short time on the petition site and anticipated slates from other candidates have yet to materialize. What does this mean for election season? A nearly uncontested election, which according to my research using the elections back to 1999, hasn’t occurred since the 1999 election, when a fully 25 percent of the votes were for “none of the above” and another 8.16 percent were for write-in candidates. Sure, there have been blowouts in the interim period, but never has there been only one slate that appears to be putting forth a serious effort to win. What does this mean for the ASSU?
In the immediate term, I don’t think that it’s too worrying; I don’t know Thom Scher particularly well (or Stephanie Werner at all), but he seems like a very capable person and his connections to administrators mean that he can both hit the ground running and make real strides in areas that are important to students. However, in the medium to long-term uncontested elections are a serious danger. The last seemingly uncontested election in 1999 came at a time when the entire Constitution was revamped in order to help confront issues of political dysfunction. Even given the strife in the Senate this year, the revelations about spending by former Execs, and the resignation of De La Torre this year, I don’t think that we’re at that point, but political fatigue and a sense that the Exec is impotent is certainly a concern. I hope that a Scher/Werner administration can make some concrete steps to show the ASSU’s relevance or otherwise we could face a serious crisis of confidence and general lack of interest in the position of Executive. To restore interest, the position would then likely have to be strengthened, which brings with it risks of overriding some of the balance of power between the branches of government.
As a side note, for those of you interested in campaign history, according to the election records for which this data is available, the Executive slate that is leading in the first round has never lost the election. Get those devotees and the rest will follow, it seems, Arrow’s impossibility theorem be damned.