Students form parties, pick candidates in mock presidential election

Where do you fall on the spectrum of politics? Are you extremely Republican? Leniently liberal? Somewhere in the middle? Chances are, if you are moderately political or simply opinionated, you have formed thoughts about the current state our government is in.

Maybe you've even entertained some futuristic plans of action to accomplish goals for the country. What if, however, you were given the chance to run for President of the United States of America? Would you run? What platforms would you run on? How would you strategically advertise? These thoughts, as well as many more, were recently assigned in Shelly Thomforde's AP Government class at Crookston High School as the 2013-2014 Mock Presidential Election project was assigned.

Students were asked to form groups and within them create a party name and slogan, select a candidate to run for the party, form opinions as well as write them out on pre-picked platforms and create a press release for the selected candidate, who would give their candidate speech the following Monday. With the idea of majority rules, three groups were born and the parties and candidates emerged, resulting in Victoria Greer representing the Classy Not Trashy Party, Bryan Sanchez representing the Common Sense Party and Michael Hefta, alias John Lawrence Peterson, from the America Party. With slogans such as, "Have No Fear, Vote For Greer" and "Common Sense Paves The Road For Success," the palpable political atmosphere was charged with friendly competition.

In formal wear, presidential candidates delivered their campaign speeches in attempts to convince their classmates to vote for them based on their platform stances. There was a wide range of platforms covered; education was a dominant platform that had varying ideas and stances while more controversial ones, such as gay marriage and abortion, were treaded on with hesitant care.

Recent poll results were released this week in the second hour class, showing that Victoria Greer from the Classy Not Trashy Party held a slight lead with Bryan Sanchez from the Common Sense Party following closely behind, while John Lawrence Peterson pulled up the rear with an approximate ten point difference. The next step for the candidates? Create political TV advertisements, both pros and cons, on platforms and fellow candidates. These ads will be run on upcoming versions of WCHS, a product of the video productions class at the high school. Debates will follow soon after, ending with a class vote and a final vote from Shelly Thomforde.

The candidates still have a ways to go before the voting occurs and the next Mock President arises to power. However, mirroring the current political process of campaigns, it's truly anyone's game.