As of 10pm Monday night, national polls suggest that John McCain trails Barack Obama by 7% in the popular vote, and by over 122 votes in the electoral college. Needless to say, if Senator McCain would like to pull this thing off tomorrow, he’s going to need a little help. That’s where we come in. Last spring, for reasons still unknown, Joe Arleth and Andrew Wakelee threw their hat into the CGA presidential election ring. Popularity was never a problem for the two- having a cutting edge radio show and occasionally visited youtube pagedoes wonders for one’s social life (not to mention with the ladies.) Nor was financing a campaign an obstacle; after all, Wakelee Enterprises did rake in a net profit of $11.50 for the 2005 fiscal year. The problem was they were not officially on the ballot.
Always up for a challenge, the two did not let such a trivial matter dissuade them from their dreams of sitting high atop Redman Stadium in the Presidents Suite or cruising down Lightstreet Road in that sweet, sweet CGA wagon. No. If anything, they would use this dilemma to their advantage. Enter the greatest write-in vote campaign in the history of Bloomsburg University.
Armed with free prints from the library (as does any good politician, they had connections), a history of insomniac tendencies, and the forced servitude of Nick Timm, the duo set off to campaign for the right to be named President and Vice President of the Community Government Association. And by gum they nearly did it.
Despite announcing their campaign a mere thirty-six hours from the end of the voting period, and relying solely on write in votes, Joe Arleth and Andrew Wakelee were the runners up in both their respective elections, outlasting a handful of dedicated students who actually took that thing seriously.
Fast forward to today. John McCain has a heck of a lot of money to work with, has been the Republican nominee for months now, and is actually on the ballot in all fifty U.S. states. Had Arleth and Wakelee the same resources to work with, they’d be abusing their presidential powers by now. So Mr. McCain, there is no excuses. You’ve got 22 hours to work with here. You may be down in the polls, but at least you’re on them (A&W had to make up their own.) Lucky for you, the campaign team for Arleth/Wakelee ’08 is willing to share some of its surefire tips for pulling off a late upset tomorrow.
Make Promises You Can’t Keep
Free punch and pie. Arleth and Wakelee had neither. But that didn’t stop them from making this issue the chief focus of their campaign. The reality of the situation in this: you could have great ideas or decades of experience, but that all can be swayed by a complimentary, well, anything! Hats, t-shirts, kazoos, iguanas, dishwashers, you name it. The more exotic, the better! What do you care if you can’t follow through with these promises? The average attention span of a human adult is fifty-five minutes. A college student? Forty. Trust me, you’ll get their vote and then they’ll forget all about it. Its simple mathematics.
Personal Touch a.k.a. Begging
Aggressive phone campaigns are usually a political faux pas. No one likes being hounded by an unknown politician or their supporters over the phone, especially when the majority of those calls are made during suppertime. If YOU, the candidate, however, are the one making these calls (especially to friends and acquaintances), you’ve got yourself a potential gold mine of votes. Take the following actual conversation from the Arleth/Wakelee campaign archives:
Wakelee: Hey Kristen, who are you voting for in the CGA election?
Kristen: Umm…I’m not.
Wakelee: Well you should vote for me.
Kristen: Wakelee you’re not even running.
Wakelee: Yes I am! I’m just not on the ballot.
Kristen: Why aren’t you on the ballot?
Wakelee: That’s besides the point. What I need you to do is write my name in where it says WRITE IN VOTES.
Kristen: No, I don’t want to.
Wakelee: Oh come on! Just do it.
Kristen: Ugh, fine.
Wakelee: Thank you.
And there you have it. Hound all your friends, and you’ve just picked yourself dozens of free votes. Just make sure they spell your name right.
The word “grassroots” is tossed around a lot these days, but what does it really mean? Dictionaries define it as “involving the common people as constituting a fundamental political and economic group.” Joe Arleth defined it as going door to door asking the inhabitants inside to use their computers to vote for himself. Trust us, its so worth the few douses of mace you’ll receive during your travels.
Illegal Poster Campaigns
The Community Government Association, a.k.a. “The Man”, reserved the right to inspect and approve every election poster used during the campaign, as well as designated a strict location for the posting of said advertisements. When you’re under the gun (or just plain lazy), there are no time for silly rules and regulations. Simply print off a hilarious photo of yourself or that funny kid down the hall, and post that sucker where everyone can see. Water fountains, bathrooms, and computer screens work best. Better yet, post your ad over top your political rivals’, giving you an easy one-up on the competition.
Pick a Controversy-Free Running Mate
Troopergate? Reckless clothing shopping sprees? Saturday Night Live spoofs? They all add up to a political liability. The most interesting thing Andrew Wakelee did in the calender year leading up to the campaign was attend the 6th grade rendition of “Guys and Dolls” at the local middle school (which was way better than advertised.)
So there you have it. 5 quick and easy steps to boost your chances in the polls tomorrow Senator McCain and Governor Palin. Take it from two men who tried so very little and got pretty darn close: dare to be different, don’t listen to the odds, and never underestimate the power of free punch and pie.