Volume 93, Issue 56

Wednesday, January 26, 2000


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Dirty Dozen

Editorial Cartoon

Dirty Dozen

In past years, students at Western have been subjected to what have been largely forgettable presidential elections.

A few interesting ideas and memorable anecdotes aside, each year has brought us more of the same in terms of elections and campaign strategies. It seems that, historically, the winner has been aided largely by nothing but a high profile and a bankable, but not radically creative or original, campaign strategy.

When news broke yesterday that 12 (count 'em, 12) people had thrown their names into the presidential hat, being a voter suddenly felt like a slightly daunting task. After all, when it comes to voter awareness, Western doesn't have much of a proven track record, even when the pickings are slim. How can we be expected to wrap our feeble little heads around this sudden proliferation of choice?

The answer, of course, is complicated and it's one which depends largely on the overall output of the candidates. However, if you think about it, there are many reasons why this increased number of presidential hopefuls is actually one of the best things that could've happened to what has become a perennially boring and uneventful routine.

The mere fact that there's so many candidates should be an encouraging sign in itself – one that hopefully marks the beginning of Western's emergence from the doldrums of student apathy and disinterest.

Having 12 candidates in the mix will force anybody who's serious about a presidential position to truly differentiate himself from the rest of the pack. In the past, we've seen candidates neatly assume responsibility for particular factions of the campus. We've seen candidates play up to the weaknesses of their counterparts. We've seen candidates bank on a particular segment of votes. However, this sort of campaigning in a 12 horse race is largely impossible.

There's too diverse a group of people running to try to appeal to a forgotten faction of people. This year, if a candidate truly wants to stand out, they're going to have to resort to something other than merely filling the holes left by their counterparts.

Perhaps, with some luck, it will encourage at least a few candidates to draw on some truly fresh and innovative approaches in order to help us remember them come election day.

The good news is that as voters, all we have to do is pay attention to the onslaught of ideas and opinions that are soon to be aimed at our ears – the hard part is up to the candidates. Regardless, we can rest assured that no matter what ensues, this year's election is bound to be one of the most engaging and thought-provoking in recent memory.

Let the games begin.

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