Building blocs for success?

Examining Thunder Bay LUSU election candidate endorsements

By Leah Ching

Photo by Emma Smith

Election season is in full swing and becoming extremely heated with candidates forming clear and decisive blocs alongside their fellow candidates that are up for other positions.

These blocs consist of a few candidates endorsing each other publicly in hopes that they all be elected and enter into office together. Strategies employed by these blocs include creating Facebook pages and events, offering platforms, and presenting combined lists of objectives and reasons why they make the best pair.

In these blocs, an executive candidate running in conjunction with two others may be prone to attack the platform of a candidate that isn’t running directly against them. This makes for a more heated election season with clearly divided sides and extremely different goals on each.

In terms of the legality of the bloc formation, President Ian Kauffman said there was no bylaw forbidding the formation of these blocs, or for candidates endorsing other candidates. He has this to say to the issue of incumbents supporting certain candidates: “I can’t see a compelling reason to prevent executives from sharing their opinions if they want to. I think the big issue is just that it should be done on our own time, not speaking as a LUSU Exec.”

So how effective is this bloc formation and public endorsement? For the most part, this will be determined after the results of the election have been tallied. One clearly established bloc contains an incumbent that is already well known by the student community – a potential advantage. Another block contains all fresh faces.

Possible reasons for some candidates to come together beforehand may be out of mutual interests, and desires to spread the reach of their influence across different social groups and student bodies. Andrew, a fourth year political science student, theorized that some blocs may be formed out of necessity, seeing other blocs being formed and believing that the only way to compete is trying to combine their influence and power in the same way.

A good judge of the legitimacy and strength of a bloc is to read the combined platforms and individual profiles to see if their ideas converge, or if they are extremely different.

The bloc system of endorsements may become problematic in the sense that students may feel divided loyalties if they want to vote for candidates from separate blocs. Students now have big responsibilities to read up on candidate profiles and do research into whom they think will be the best fit for the job. Also, some candidates may be strengthened or weakened depending on who they latch on to, not standing entirely on their own ability and platforms. It’s up to the students to do the research and find out.

Looking into the future, election results may be problematic if members of different blocs are elected. For example, if the candidate for VP Finance endorsed by the President isn’t the one who’s elected in, this could lead to a sticky situation. As the next term begins, students will watch to see if election rivalries among candidates will be a hindrance to their effectively working together.

With election arguments heating up over Facebook and social media, the question remains – how well will the election winners be able to work together if they were publicly running against each other just a while before? The crux of the responsibility lays with students now to make the best choice voting, which may mean certain members of a bloc, or a bloc in its entirety.

 

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