Harvard's two largest political organizations are approaching the election of new officers amidst furious political struggles. Candidates for the presidency of both the Young Democrats and Young Republicans, and their loyal lieutenants, are racing from room to room, day and night, to away votes with detailed platforms.
In both campaigns strategy hinged on how to satisfy burgeoning memberships, the largest in the clubs' histories (Democrats, about 950; Republicans, about 460), with effective programs. All the candidates have steered away from ideological issues of any sort and seem to feel that club activity has been too heavily dominated by executive committees.
Arthur J. Heath '66 and Peter H. Weiner '66 will vie at an election meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Lowell Lecture Hall to succeed Burt L. Ross '65 at the helm of the Young Democrats.
Both Heath and Weiner support a program of internships with state legislators, and Heath claims that his proposal is based on commitments from 60 members of the Massachusetts legislature. While Weiner would place the emphasis of such a program on direct local action in the districts, Heath emphasizes research for the legislators.
Weiner has called for an intensified program of forums on policy concerns and practical political issues, and he would bring Congressmen to Cambridge to implement this proposal. Heath insists that Weiner has merely presented a "new name" for the Young Dems' old speaker programs, which he says he was influential in developing.
The burning issue of the contest seems to be the possibility of a club magazine, which was suggested in a letter sent to all members by a group of underclassmen who charge that the club has become a "two ring circus."
Weiner says that he has found a magazine "unfeasible" after investigating it, but Heath supports it as a "written voice" for the club. He proposes that it be student-written, "not a ghost-written anthology."
Ideological differences could potentially be a controversial issue for the Young Republicans, who had trouble determining a policy toward the Goldwater candidacy last fall, but both David L. McNicol '66 and Duncan A. Ragsdale '66 insist that the club must ignore these differences in choosing officers next Tuesday night, as does outgoing president Eric A. von Salzen '65.
Ragsdale charges that the leadership over the past year has been poor and that the executive committee is "virtually out of touch with the members," and McNicol agrees that the club has "failed miserably."