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Duke Democrats reviews DSG presidential candidates

This year’s DSG presidential election is unique. After having met with all three candidates, the Duke Democrats is confident that all three will passionately and effectively represent the Duke student body. For president, in lieu of endorsing one particular candidate, Duke Democrats would like to share our perspectives on the three candidates to assist members and non-members of our organization in their decision.

We believed Strat Waldt provided some of the most visionary and creative ideas when it came to two primary concerns of Duke Democrats: (1) fostering a culture of political engagement, and (2) facilitating opportunities for a more diverse, enriching and unifying social culture. We don’t know whether his vision could be completely realized—but we appreciate his willingness to dream big. All three candidates spoke to a degree of dissatisfaction with the status quo, but Waldt’s suggestions departed the most from “business-as-usual.” While Waldt has some major accomplishments under his belt, notably with regards to reforming ARC bylaws, we think he has a less proven track record than Swain or Brown, and while his depth of involvement in student life (including BSA and ROTC) has given him real insight into campus dynamics, it could also leave him with less time to dedicate to the DSG presidency.

Alex Swain has worked closely this past year in our efforts to register voters and get students to the polls. Duke Democrats can attest to Swain’s talent both as a manager and as a listener—two qualities essential in a DSG president. Of the three candidates, we have the most confidence in Swain’s capacity to accomplish major projects. Swain is extremely well-equipped to represent Duke in public forums, both on and off campus, and has the deepest knowledge of political life at Duke. In many years, this quality would be supererogatory in a DSG president, but it will be extremely valuable in the 2012-2013 school year, with the DNC in Charlotte and the presidential election in November.

Chris Brown has proven himself in his work as chief of staff, and we can see his vision for the future of Duke Student Government. Brown’s areas of interest and strengths are less outside the purview of concern Duke Democrats, but his talent and leadership are nevertheless evident.

We wish all the candidates the best of luck in the elections, and we encourage all Duke students to vote responsibly on Thursday. We would be proud to have Waldt, Swain or Brown represent the student body.

Jordan DeLoatch, Trinity ’15

Incoming Vice-President of Political Affairs of Duke Democrats

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