The big fumble

This election was the Representative Union’s to lose. Guess what? They did.
The difference this time is that they deserved it.
They only lost by a small margin – about 5 per cent (or 300 votes) would have brought them a majority – so the race could have ended up close enough to cause some trouble.
The RU had lots of momentum in its favour after last fall’s CSU agenda and election debacle. They were seen as the winning underdogs who had their election stolen from them. They were genuinely different from all previous executive candidates in the last three years.
Unfortunately, they could not keep the team together. Sameer Zuberi defected, and eventually, all the other members left too, leaving presidential candidate Chris Schulz as the only constant thread within the RU.
The only hint at the RU’s change mentality was their campaign slogan, the Usual Suspects. Unfortunately, they stopped there. The RU’s classroom campaign stops were short on details about how change would happen, which parts of the union would be targeted, basically what change really meant for them, aside from the general comment about how they wouldn’t be like the CSUs of recent history.
Their campaign generally was also sloppy. Their most prized idea this semester wasn’t accountable administration or more power to the people or some other principled idea. Instead, it was a program (not based on signed contracts, solid promises or anything concrete) that would allow students to gain access to inexpensive laptops. After the last campaign when they ended up as the perceived good guys, this was all they came up with? This was the second thing to come out of the Representative Union candidate’s mouth, after the short speech about change. The majority of students do not need laptops to complete their degrees, so it is unclear to whom this strategy was targeted.
The RU also failed to quell a deeply seated distrust of Chris Schulz. This was the third time Schulz was running for CSU president, and every time, his opponents have leveled accusations of collusion with the administration, ones that he never answered in detail. Just saying something like “No, I have nothing to do with the administration” is not good enough in an election campaign. Schulz had to prove he deserved students’ trust. Not saying anything concrete was just plain bad public relations.
Schulz and Co.’s largest hurdle was this major paradox of student politics: How does one represent those who couldn’t care less about being represented? Those were the people who suddenly felt outraged last semester. Where did they go? Obviously not to the RU’s list of active supporters.
Cheers to CANDO for rallying the troops, and boos to the RU for letting political inertia set in.


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