The Chronicle’s View: Running outside the lines

Every year, U students are bombarded by a proliferation of political parties with catchy names, expense accounts and (historically) empty promises. These parties shamelessly politic all around campus, giving away free donuts and coffee, all in a highly public attempt to sway students.

However, there is undeniably a method to the madness-there are always two or three parties with more substantial sponsorships/bank accounts, flashier T-shirts and a general attitude of greater importance.

These major-party options, though visible, do not necessarily constitute all of the options.

There are perennially third- and fourth-party options that have fewer dollars, less publicity and often a less-serious nomenclature. The parties’ names are often comical, like the Toga Party or the Apathy Party, or just irreverent.

These third- and fourth-party options are not taken as seriously, historically, as their first- and second-party counterparts. For the most part, this is understandable-they don’t often take themselves as seriously as their counterparts.

This year is somehow different.

Benjamin Yang and Steven Paradise are trying-for the fourth year in a row-to give students a viable smaller-party option in the face of traditional, bigger-party homogeny.

The pair’s None of the Above Party is a serious contender for the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s upcoming elections, which, as of now, only has a total of three contenders (including None of the Above).

With a great deal of campaign experience under their belts, the duo’s party is no featherweight. As opposed to just being laughable, the None of the Above Party is viable.

This fact is beneficial to both U students and the general electoral process at our school.

First, giving students real options as opposed to merely supplying fake, throw-away ballot-box options is a step in the right direction.

This allows students to make decisions on their own and it grants them greater room to move between parties. If one party has a stance with which certain students take issue, having a handful of real alternatives greatly improves the likelihood that disenfranchised students will find a party to associate with, and replace their characteristic apathy with interest.

This, in turn, will assist in voter turnout.

To this point, U students, like college-age individuals nationwide, haven’t exactly turned out to the voting booths in droves. A partial reason for this is that voters, especially in small, (perceived as) inconsequential elections, they are just not provided with a reason to care, likely because they are not provided with compelling options.

Also, the viability of the None of the Above Party shows students that anyone can run for office and be taken seriously. It is unfair and inherently un-American for only the rich and the strong to have a shot at victory. In a truly equitable system, all parties would be judged on their stances and ideals, not their bank accounts.

The Chronicle is not, however, formally endorsing any candidates-this editorial is meant to support the viability of alternative candidacy.