Exec Elections for Dummies
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012 04:02
Many Georgetown University Student Association executive tickets have asked me for advice on how to win this year's executive election. I thought I'd share some words of wisdom for running a successful GUSA campaign via a viewpoint:
Although it's a little late for advice now, debates are probably the most overlooked aspect of GUSA campaigns. Just like in Republican primary debates on TV, expect hard-hitting questions that tackle real issues. The debates are attended by active members of the campus community, as well as by confused regular people who are looking for another room. I believe there is also a GU-Span viewer somewhere out there.
The debates are great opportunities to impassively regurgitate your talking points. Even if you care about the issues, remain lethargic and unimaginative in your expression and delivery. Wear something important looking and an oversized pin with your name on it, and refer to your opponents with pretentious titles like "senator," "vice speaker" and/or "king."
Make sure you have the biggest and most irritating display of flyers in Red Square. Students usually base their votes on which candidates can make their names as large and obnoxious as possible, reinforcing the view that GUSA campaigns are about the individual candidates rather than improving Georgetown. Hanging flyers as high on the wall as possible is also very effective, since it forces students to physically overextend their necks in support of your campaign.
Encouragingly, I have already seen some impressive bed sheets and arrangements of flyers forming names and national symbols, but divisive religious or racial imagery could probably work, too. I anticipate and pray that soon you will remove text entirely and just put up large portraits of yourselves.
Your web presence should resemble either a destitute Groupon business or manicured consulting firm website. It's easy: Upload uncomfortably large images of your pretentiously smiling faces and include them on every inch of your website. The front page should also probably incorporate a slideshow of Georgetown furniture, buildings and some more furniture. Add a playlist of your music to seem fun.
Platforms should look extensive and include promises that are broad, unfeasible and preferably absurd. Promises are not for keeping, so really, go to town.
Social networking is also hot right now. You should definitely make a Facebook event and constantly compare the number of attending students with other campaigns' Facebook events. It is also a good idea to ask friends to change their profile pictures to your poster or perhaps to just a picture of you.
Videos are great ways to make your campaign blend together with that of your opponents. It is encouraging that, so far, all of your introductory videos look exactly the same. Sticking to talking points and delivering them as blandly as possible will ensure that your message can stay abstract and irrelevant.
One suggestion is to make at least one creative video to illustrate your lack of creativity. Remember: You are very important and think highly of yourself. Taking the time to craft something actually funny makes no sense.
Dorm Storming & Voter Intimidation
It doesn't matter if you have the best idea — in fact, you probably don't. But if you really want to win the election, setting up an army of stooges is the way to go.
First, you and your staff should visit all the freshman dorms and convince residents to hang flyers on their doors. It's free advertising for you. Luckily, you will never have to speak to any of them again. Keep in mind that after you win (or lose) someone's vote, he is meaningless.
During voting, make sure you have colossal tables set up. They should resemble House Un-American Activities Committee hearings. Tables on Lau 2 and in front of freshman dorms work very well, since winning by intimidation still counts as winning. To further your message, I might also recommend setting up tables outside of Dahlgren Chapel or offering money.
You Are Bigger Than Georgetown
Remember: GUSA campaigns are about you. You are the most important person that you know, and being GUSA president is just as critical as accomplishing important things for the university. So campaign hard, stress out and spread vicious rumors about your opponents in comments on Vox Populi.
Jed Feiman is a senior in the College and winner of the 2011 Mr. Georgetown pageant. He ran for GUSA president last year and lost.