Parties don’t lead to better campaigns

25.Opinions.ElectionCampaignPropoganda.07.CMYK.RL
Richard Lin/HIGHLANDER

It is Day 10. [YOUR]SIDE has taken back Chung Hall. Vox Populi has advanced with more chalk tags as we struggle for Rivera Library. Butcher paper and painter’s tape supplies are low.

The parties campaigning for ASUCR have started to look more like high school ASB rather than serious political parties trying to represent UCR. And after watching the party candidates campaign around campus, it is apparent to everybody that political parties are not making the elections any better.

The posters the parties have been endlessly posting around campus remind the student population just two things: Remember our party and don’t forget to vote for us. Mindlessly slapping posters on campus screams, “Just vote already!” And it only annoys the voters. To actually promote meaningful voting, candidates have to motivate voters to take time away from their lives in order to vote — which is surprisingly difficult. From the looks of it, students already understand the gravity of the university’s presence on a larger scale. By focusing on posters above all else, political parties have been distracting the voters from what really matters. Senators should be proposing new plans of action and meeting with student clubs. Right now, the atmosphere of so many elections events are like a claustrophobic gladiator pit in the midday sun.

During the debates, most candidates haven’t been urging students to vote out of good will, but just to “vote for our party.” One ASUCR candidate who participated in the debates prided himself for his sunburnt head from the endless tabling ASCUR has done throughout the year. But as he argued that ASUCR is there for the student body and will work for the issues important to them, he was stumped when asked a specific question regarding his plans for the college he’s trying to represent. Instead he continued to rant about the poor campaigning of the other candidates and deflected from the issues brought up by the debate.

This was followed by an event at the HUB where each candidate would be endorsed on a stage answering questions that have been asked the previous two weeks countless times. Half of many candidates’ time talking was to simply recite their party’s objectives; time that could be used to highlight candidate’s qualities and policy distinctions. Value, voice, vision. Pride, progress, empowerment. Didn’t someone just say that 15 minutes ago? Didn’t your opponent also want the same thing? Why are you shouting?

Even though some of the ASUCR posters were torn down by opposing parties, it barely made a dent in the massive amount of campaign material used as wallpaper to cover most of campus. The campus resembled a high school hallway with Magic Marker posters telling students to vote for said candidate — but why? Nowhere does it explain what the candidates will do to benefit the student body other than polluting the school with paper. As always, there are a few good candidates among the clutter, but that’s no different from any election before the party system was implemented. What’s changed is that candidates have sported new graphic T-shirts and flagged around new banners just for their debates. Laminated fliers with professional pictures are being handed out by the hundreds. It seems as though they are putting their money where their mouth is, but not backing up what is coming out.

The ASUCR elections take everything wrong with political parties. Biking across campus, it is hard to not notice the repeating white squares taped across every wall on campus. Concrete slabs reading Vox Populi have shown up on the ground, faint but noticeable. From the looks of it, it has become less of an election and more of a ridiculous turf war.

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