EDITORIAL: Call for MUSG elections focused on policy, not tactics

Illustration by Ellery Fry / ellery.fry@marquette.edu
Illustration by Ellery Fry / ellery.fry@marquette.edu

All the Marquette Student Government presidential candidates for next year are announced and, with elections around the corner, we can’t help but think of the Tribune’s favorite former MUSG candidate: Scott Walker.

Recent events regarding Gov. Walker resulted in a drudging-up of old stories of him running for student government president at Marquette, when he violated rules by campaigning a week early and allegedly removed copies of the Tribune from newsstands a day before the election after the paper endorsed his opponent. It was an election filled with smear tactics from both sides.

With these allegations in mind, it is necessary to recognize what is really important during the student elections: the proposed policies that will affect students.

Student presidential candidates lost this focus over the years, with political games and unfair campaign dealings detracting from the stances of valid candidates. As a result of problematic campaign dealings, last year’s elections were confusing and messy with a delayed vote. Perhaps past candidates felt the need to prove they could act as true politicians, but what is truly imperative is that they present their ideas to a diverse student body effectively.

It’s not worth it for candidates to be engrossed in elaborate and overcomplicated political tactics instead of focusing on how they propose to act and legislate. MUSG presidential campaigns should emphasize policy rather than playing into an inane popularity contest. This could very well act against them when elections come around.

Political ploys that mimic actual campaigns tend to alienate potential student voters and detract from candidates’ actual platforms. Students feel manipulated by over-calculated tactics and respond by not voting.

With elections approaching, many students mentally check out and ignore seemingly inevitable political games. This takes them out of the student government conversation and silences their valid voices during elections.

These elections are meant to determine the best representatives to lead the student government. That should be this year’s candidates’ primary intent. Elections should remain focused on the proactive ideas of the candidates rather than the overblown events leading up to decision time.

Campaigns should be as straightforward and informative as possible to attract potential voters and those who will be affected by the president and his or her policies next year. If MUSG is to provide a service to students through legislation, this should come across in campaigns as well.

The elections can be more centered on the needs of voters if presidential platforms are not shrouded by political sideshows. These platforms need to focus on voter needs in order for students to elect the best candidate.

With Walker’s alleged former election dealings in mind, current student presidential candidates should use this campaign time to capitalize on future policies. Regardless of whomever is elected, all the controversies leading up to casting ballots should not be the events we remember from their time of service.

We want to know what kind of president could represent us next year, not how good of a politician they might make in the future.