With suggestive campaign slogans such as, “Long-Johnson: Touching students everywhere” and “Long-Johnson: Erecting a better Harvard,” the Long-Johnson ticket raises one obvious question: Are these guys serious?
“Very serious,” said Robert G.B. Long, ’11, the presidential candidate on the ticket. “This is probably the most serious thing I’ve ever done. This is a serious, revolutionary idea.”
According to Long, he and his roommate-cum-running mate, David R. Johnson ’11, have had a grand dream of inheriting the reins to the Undergraduate Council for two weeks already.
“We just looked at each other and knew…it might have been simultaneously, by eye contact,” said Johnson. “Yep, that’s exactly how I think it happened.”
The candidates seem to share an intimate bond: they finish each other’s sentences, an ability honed from rooming together since January of their freshman year. The two met when Johnson transferred out of Grays Hall and was assigned to Long’s Holworthy room. “I was very worried that [David] would be a bad roommate because he had switched rooms halfway though the year,” said William “Charlie” C. Schaub ’11, one of their other roommates and head writer for the Long-Johnson campaign. “I thought he was a serial killer.”
Fortunately, Johnson soon quelled any suspicions of his character and found a niche in his new room. “David moved into our room and into our hearts,” said Long. “We call him our Christmas miracle… just a little late.”
The closest to a complaint that campaign headquarters, also known as Long and Johnson’s Mather suite, harbors against Johnson regards the copious amount of “chill” he allegedly brings to the room.
“Dave, you sometimes bro out too hard!” said Long to his “heartbreaker” running mate.
“It’s a weakness,” admitted Johnson, though he refuses to let Long off the hook for being what he describes as “too intellectual, too smart, and too interesting.” Indeed, the bro-mance behind the Long-Johnson ticket seems all too obvious.
The only outsider ticket on the UC ballot this year, the Long-Johnson campaign faces clear challenges as the underdogs in this election, especially in terms of their experience with campus politics. When asked about his previous interactions with the UC, Johnson replied, “I played intramural basketball with Matt Sundquist last year.”
Long’s familiarity with the UC is equally limited. “David and I have visited the UC website several times,” said Long, “We once went to a UC town hall because they had food, but they ran out of food before we got there, so we only stayed for about five minutes.”
However, both candidates remain unfazed by their apparent lack of experience with the UC and are approaching this campaign with the confidence of future winners.
“We don’t appreciate the fact that that UC is dominated by insiders and self-serving bureaucrats,” said Long, “Hopefully, if anything, our outsider status will help us because people seem to be a little turned off by how seriously the UC takes itself.”
Many Long-Johnson supporters also believe that their status as outsiders to UC politics is part of their appeal.
“For those of us that don’t follow the UC and only hear little snippets of what they’re up to, it’s kind of like a joke, and it’s good to have candidates that come from that same place,” said Luke L. Sperduto ’11.
“I really think [the UC] needs a kick from the outside to show them what’s what,” said Michael J. Pankratz, ’11, Long-Johnson campaign manager and roommate to the duo.
Long and Johnson contribute their innovative mode of thinking to the fact that they are both Social Studies concentrators, and they believe that their distinctive outlook will serve them well if elected to the UC leadership.
“By virtue of Social Studies,” said Johnson, “we read Freud, and we’d be pretty good at interpreting dreams [of the student body] in order to make them in a reality.” In fact, in response to their absence from a UC Presidential debate last week, the campaign sent out a press release that, according to Long, centers on a “Foucauldian critique of the dominant discourse and power structures.”
Dreams and Foucault aside, supporters of the Long-Johnson campaign are genuinely impressed with the ingenuity and intellect of the two candidates. “My roommates are some of the most cerebral people I’ve met at Harvard. I certainly don’t think I am anywhere near their league,” said Pancratz. “The amount of thinking they do about issues is striking.”
Sperduto echoes this sentiment. “If you don’t care about the UC, then vote for Long-Johnson because neither do they,” he said. “If you do care, then vote for Long-Johnson because there is no ticket with better competence to do whatever it is the UC does.”
The team has been endorsed by the Harvard Outing Club.