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A college student's guide to the presidential election

By Jason Morrison

Many college students are so busy studying, reading and writing papers that they are unable to follow the intricacies of this year's political race. Unlike last year, in which a bunch of boring stupid offices like county commissioner were up for grabs, this year voters will decide who gets to be president and vice president of the United States of America.

The president, as many of you know, is the chief executive of the country and the leader of the free world. Thus it is very important that you pick which candidate you think would do the best job and vote.

In the interest of furthering democracy, here is a run down of the major candidates, their party platforms, and their political backgrounds.

George W. Bush, Republican nominee:

Bush may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he is primed to make a comeback after falling behind opponent Al Gore in the polls. Some pundits believe Bush has sabotaged his own campaign by losing track of his message, mispronouncing words, swearing at reporters and generally acting irrationally. Bush does, however, have strong backing within his party, who beat themselves into a hockey stadium-like frenzy whenever he's around.

Bush may be a McNugget short of a mental Happy Meal, but he does have a firm grasp of the Republican platform which can be summarized basically as "screw the poor." The GOP recognizes the unprecedented economic growth under President Clinton, a Democrat, but maintains that had they been in charge, things would have been even better. They favor tax breaks for the wealthy, figuring anyone who's poor deserves to suffer. Bush is, however, a "uniter, not a divider," and feels it is unfair for the Democrats to point out how he wants to screw the poor, as that is divisive and not unitivitive.

Though if the IQ was based on bowling, Bush uses a six-pound ball, he does have what it takes to be president. His dad was president. And he's rich. And he's governor of a really big state, Texas. And his dad was president.

Al Gore, Democratic nominee:

Though he was vice president for eight years of good times for just about everyone in the country, his blandness and earth-tone-itude has failed to catch the public's imagination. Thus, he's holding on to a slim lead in the polls and is working hard to change his image or, failing that, at least make out with his wife in public some more.

The Democrats have completely failed to give the nation a catchy phrase for their platform and therefore it is impossible to remember what they stand for. Gore seems to be running on the "things are great, let's keep it that way" platform while he tries to prove that, in fact, he's nothing like Clinton, that adultering fleabag. How can Gore be Clinton-too and anti-Clinton at the same time? It seems like a paradox. And a couple weeks ago he blasted the entertainment industry and then took a bunch of their money the next day. Gore may be running a paradox-based campaign in order to confuse Bush, who is easily confused by much simpler concepts.

Gore was vice president of the United States for eight years, which means he hasn't held down a real job since 1992. Like Bush, Gore is also rich, but says if elected he will attempt to help the poor pay for college, save for retirement, and get medical treatment. Aha! Another paradox. This Gore is a tricky one, he is.

Ralph Nader, Green Party candidate:

Though not a member of the Green Party himself, consumer advocate Nader has been tapped by the tree-huggers as their presidential hopeful. And they're going to need a lot of hope-Nader rarely pulls more than five percent of the vote in any poll.

Though the Greens are in favor of stronger environmental protections, government support of cleaner technology and increasing national park space, Nader gets by on sheer hatred for the major parties. When he talks, it's hard not to be afraid- his contempt for both Bush and Gore is so great that his eyes light up like two coals from the fires of Hades.

Nader is famous for his consumer-advocacy work, beginning with his investigation of the automobile industry through his work to bring seatbelts and airbags to cars through his protest of the WTO and World Bank's anti-labor practices. He's done a lot to help the American people in his lifetime, making him a dark horse for president.

Pat Buchanan, Reform Party candidate:

Buchanan, former hard-right Republican and Washington insider, has seized control of the Reform Party, best known for hyperactive founder Ross Perot and Minnesota governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura. I won't pretend that made any sense.

The Reform Party used to advocate a mish mash of generic unhappiness with current government spending practices, but with Buchanan at the reigns it is now pushing for the punishment of anyone queer in every sense of the word.

Buchanan has run for president about thirty times. That is not actually useful experience.

Harry Browne, Libertarian Party candidate:

Browne and his party are not well known outside certain circles. While Nader and Buchanan complain they're not allowed to debate Gore and Bush, Browne can't get his tupperware back from the host of the Small Party Potluck Dinner in Sioux City, Iowa.

Libertarians are for free-market economics, individual liberty, personal responsibility and smaller government, which sounds good until you find out these guys want to end elevator inspections and sell education to the lowest bidder.

Browne got almost 500,000 votes for president in the last election, which is more than you ever got, so who are you to poke fun?

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