If you needed more convincing that young people are either, depending on your outlook, awesome or completely useless and shouldn't have the right to vote, look no further than Harvard's most recent undergraduate election. The winning ticket pledged to resign immediately after learning they won. The school must now organize another election before students go home for the holidays.
The Harvard Crimson reports the most recent undergraduate election was won by two kids promising thicker toilet paper and more frequent servings of their favorite soup at school cafeterias. Samuel Clark and Gus Mayopoulos, president-elect and vice-president-elect respectively, earned 155 more votes than the next pair option. Their campaign platforms had some noticeable, significant differences:
Throughout the campaign, Clark and Mayopoulos ran on a platform focused on making tomato basil ravioli soup available at all meals and increasing the thickness of toilet paper, emphasizing that their lack of experience on the UC made them more qualified for the positions.
Conversely, [the losing tickets] have all spent time on the Council, with both tickets claiming to have the most experience.
“It saddens me to see that despite endorsements of so many student organizations and student leaders, students decided to vote for a ticket touting soup and toilet paper, when Sietse and I were trying to address student needs,” C.C. Gong, the runner-up, told the Crimson after the results were announced.
What Clark and Mayopoulos had over the other campaigns was high engagement. In a low engagement world. That was enough to set them apart from the pack, hilarious platform and all. Their Facebook group had more activity than the other campaigns put together. Meanwhile, the election has a low turnout — only 47 percent of the student body participated. Clark and Mayopoulos even had rivals gushing over their strategy before students went to the polls: “They’re a meta-satire, which is the coolest thing. It’s the most hilarious joke. I am a huge fan. I am not voting for them, but I think they’re awesome,” Stephen Turban, Gong's campaign managers, told the Crimson earlier this week.
Their victory inspired op-eds in the student paper calling the election a referendum on the people who normally run for student government — straight-laced overachievers looking to pad a resume. They need to take this as a sign: "All we really want is more soup," as John Koscis so accurately put it.
Unfortunately, Clark and Mayopoulos won't follow through on their promises. The two promised to resign as soon as the rules allow it. That makes them no different from any elected official, really, but at least they admit their campaign was a joke.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.