Following an unprecedented series of events culminating with joke ticket candidatesSamuel B. Clark ’15 and Gus A. Mayopoulos ’15 winning and immediately announcing plans for resignation from the positions of Undergraduate Council president and vice president, Flyby returns with another interview with these two rising politicians.
Flyby: The question that must be asked: did you ever expect you would actually win this election?
Clark: At the beginning of the campaign we did not. At the beginning of the campaign it was a big old joke.
Mayopoulos: We could not imagine how anyone would vote for us.
Clark: Because our platform was soup, toilet paper, and divest from gender neutral weekend shuttles, which means nothing.
Flyby: When did your chances begin to change?
Mayopoulos: I would say it really started when people started coming up to us and saying, “Everyone I know has voted for you.”
Clark: The first day of the official campaign we did nothing because we didn’t really fully have our shit together. [The] second day we decided that instead of having a gradual trickle of our campaign starting, we would just start everything on the second day. So we assembled a small army of posterers—people to put up posters—and so, Wednesday at midnight, we hit all the houses, and Thursday at 8 a.m. we hit all the Yard. Perhaps to the detriment of our classes, we spent a stupid amount of time on our Facebook, and our Facebook quickly escalated to hundreds of more likes than we anticipated, and became the driving force behind the jokes we were putting out. It was when people would talk about our posters very casually, or people would tell us that they heard conversations about them in the d-halls, or that our Facebook likes kept racking up, that we thought, “Oh, this could maybe happen!”
Mayopoulos: Part of this was also a shift in our competitors. You know, this stuff, being like, “Aha, those guys, those jokesters,” and then [members of their campaign staff] started sending out emails being like, "Jokes are all good and fun, but don't forget to vote for solutions!"
Clark: That's the point where they considered us to be a threat and [we thought] maybe we should consider ourselves to be a threat. For the debate, we decided to maybe take a slight tonal shift.... I think both of our competitors and most people watching the debate were taken aback and surprised that half of our answers were actually rather serious and rather pointed.
Mayopoulos: I took a bite out of an onion, which no one saw...literally, if you watch the full [debate] video there’s a three second clip.
Clark: Gus was literally sobbing next to me, writing notes: "Sam, oh God, it burns!"
Mayopoulos: ’Cause I just took a bite out of a raw onion!
Flyby: What were your thoughts right before the results came out?
Mayopoulos: The night of the results, it was still very much up in the air.
Clark: Absolutely. We were really not sure.
Mayopoulos: I think it says that, while there's a large portion of the student body who took the campaigns very seriously, there's another large chunk that was, you know, perhaps very unsatisfied with the situation and voted for a joke ticket to voice that.
Clark: Yeah, and we actually, we've gotten the question before about...our voting demographic? And at least initially, it was people who were like, "Ha, this is funny, let's vote for this because it's a joke." Which was most of our friends and people who don't normally vote in UC elections. But then it did evolve into people who were also voting because they saw a lack of delivery on certain campaign promises in the past.
Mayopoulos: A lack of connection. Yeah, I think people saw us and got into heated arguments on Facebook about like, these are people who actually understand what students want, and are willing to talk about it in a real way.
Clark: Yeah. And talking about it in a way using things like tomato basil soup and toilet paper as sort of silly proclamations but then also...
Mayopoulos: It was huge that HUDS changed that policy. It's not entirely clear if we played any role in that, but um...
Flyby: At what point did you guys settle on resignation?
Clark: We...Gus and I discussed this...
Clark: Ad nauseum. Which in Latin means to the point of vomiting.
Clark: We actually, like, discussed this really extensively. Because this was a joke candidacy from the beginning, you know, at the start of this [we] had no intention of ever running the UC. We had no intention of having that sort of job, that sort of responsibility.
Mayopoulos: It's one thing to run a joke campaign.
Clark: Exactly.... I think our campaign demonstrated that we are very good at mobilizing and organizing people, so we...there is a possibility that we could be a good president and vice president. But the fact of the matter is that, quite simply, it's not something that we intended to do from the beginning.
Mayopoulos: And there's no guarantee that we can do it well. I think, we hope, that the message that we sent out with this, that people are...
Clark: They feel disconnected.
Mayopoulos: They feel disconnected. And with both the UC and the administration, these are things we hope that the next round of UC president and vice president take into account.... It was a joke, but it wasn't all lost.
Clark: The more serious message that we took on during the debate, we don't think would be furthered by us actually running the UC. But it would be furthered by us stepping down and giving the reins to people who know how to operate within [it].