Election winning strategies
Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 00:03
I was once asked by a respected professor of mine, "Why does a voter choose who they choose?" Some may say because they liked the candidate's platform, others may say because the candidate ‘looked' the part. In my years of political experience, I can only seem to come up with the answer, "I don't know."
There are so many factors that weigh in a voter's mind when they are casting their ballot. "Do I know this candidate intimately? Will this candidate fulfill his/her campaign promises? Do I believe this candidate will, to the best of his/her ability, serve me and my fellow citizens?" At least, that is what should be going through their mind.
In reality, most student government voters think something along the lines of, "Oh, I have a class with that person. I remember this person talking to me once. Hey, that guy lived down the hall from me. Wow, she was my RA."
Mind you, I am not saying that the aforementioned reasons are not somewhat valid. Ideally, a voter should know the person who they are voting for. However, if a candidate expects to win his/her bid for office, he/she should in essence be "popular."
The candidates should belong to more organizations than they can count. They should assume leadership roles every time they have the opportunity. They should talk to more faces, shake more hands and smile more times than they can wrap their heads around-because, at the end of the day, that is what usually wins an election.
While I hope that SG elections are more than just a glorified popularity contest, I am realistic in the fact that it takes a certain type of person to win an election.
If you have any hopes to run for any position in SG next year, I give you the following advice from a political science major, who has over ten years of political experience with over twenty political campaigns:
1. Get involved in every organization which you can. You have no idea how many people will recognize you from some random club, even if you never seem to attend the meetings.
2. Assume leadership positions on campus. Ideally, become a Resident Assistant. RA's have some of the highest exposure on campus, and the broadest constituency. In fact, in this year's election, nearly every one of the highest vote-getters were Resident Assistants.
3. Join Greek Life. Generally speaking, you should at least get an additional boost of 50-100 votes if you are involved in a fraternity, or 100-150 votes if you are in a sorority.
4. Network! Make your face visible at on-campus events, such as athletics, intermural, guest speakers and lecturers. Potential voters will remember that you were engaged and that you care about your school.
5. Plan, plan, plan. While I will not specifically condone violating election code, you should have every element of your campaign solidified at least a month before elections begin.
Start finding out who has high political aspirations on campus, and start asking around. Who do your friends think would make a better presidential candidate? Try to get involved in that person's inner circle.
Politics is a very rough business. Sometimes you win and more often than not, you will lose. But keep in mind nearly every President of the United States has lost at least one election in their lifetime. It is a natural process in the realm of elected office! In fact, it is almost a good thing to lose, because you will know what to change the next time around the block.
Remember Eagles, this is your campus. If you want to see something changed, the only way to do it is to get involved and stay involved. Make your voices heard, students of FGCU!