Obama, Democrats win big in Election Simulation

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If the real Democratic party only had to worry about the votes of the Townsend Harris student body, they’d probably spend a lot less time and money campaigning.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden, along with state officials Kirsten Gillibrand, Grace Meng, Nydia Velasquez, Joseph Addabbo, and Nily Rozic were victorious in this year’s Election Simulation after students voted on November 5.  Joseph Concannon was the only Republican to win.

Beginning in September, seniors portraying real politicians campaigned to grasp the hearts–and ballots–of underclassmen, many of whom were more than willing to trade their simbucks for baked goods.

Some students seemed caught off guard by the results; others felt they were predictable.

“I thought Romney had a better chance of winning. I saw his campaign during zero bands and he seemed to work harder,” said Woo Jung Yi, sophomore.

“I was pretty surprised considering the effort that I saw Republicans put into their campaigns,” said Samiha Ahmed, sophomore, adding that “Obama didn’t put enough of his time into campaigning; I didn’t see him in many classes.”

“I think Romney could have been more active in campaigning with other grades,” said Elizabeth Williams, junior, in contrast. “On the TV show they always showed him campaigning with the freshman but I never saw him doing anything with sophomores or juniors.”

Marco Gallagher, the senior who played Mitt Romney, said “I was a little surprised. I knew I was unfavored being a Republican. [However], polls showed that I was favored in the freshman class, but I ended up losing their grade.”

Demeara Torres, junior, said, “Our school is mostly liberal, so it was extremely predictable that Democrats would win.” With regard to previous polls, she contended that “the polls just proved how even though Romney put a lot of effort and was popular, kids still decided to vote Democrat since they are most likely liberal in real life.”

Sophomore Allegra Santo concurred, saying “I’m honestly not surprised because of the nature of this school being Democratic.”

The Election Simulation ended abruptly in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, forcing faculty to cancel the much anticipated debates. Dr. Linda Steinmann, social studies and government teacher, explained that having the debate “after the real election would have taken away from the excitement of it.”

Khalid Abdin, the senior who played Barack Obama, noted that “Sandy didn’t allow us to have that final week of campaigning which means the candidates weren’t able to have their debates, rallies, commercials, etc. However, both candidates were affected equally, so it’s hard to say that one candidate received an edge.”

For some students, the lack of debates may have had a significant impact upon their final decision.

“We didn’t see how they could argue, and we didn’t get to learn about them as individuals,” said Samiha.

“Sandy made people think about what Romney and Obama did to help the regions,” said Yuriy Markovetsky, freshman, referring to places devastated by the hurricane.

Ameer Kazmi, the senior who  portrayed Republican Joseph Concannon, said, “Voters had opinions on candidates from the very beginning and they already knew who they would vote for. A week of campaigns doing the same things they have been doing throughout the election wouldn’t have swayed too many committed people.”

Joy Nieh, a senior who campaigned for the Republican Party, said “The fact that we didn’t have the debates took away from the simulation, since we’ve had it every year.”

Candidates and students were able to reflect on the overall effect of the campaigns. Yuriy said “I didn’t know much about the election or politics at all. It made me realize that I actually have somewhat of a passion for politics.”

“I think we ran a really solid campaign. I owe a lot to everyone on the team for putting so much work into this simulation. The only thing that ran our campaign off track was the hurricane, but we couldn’t do anything about that,” said Marco.

Diego Cotte, the senior who played Tony Avella, said, “I feel the demographics within our school are biased based on topics very irrelevant to the election, which I feel played a large role in my loss. As for the week we lost due to the storm, I had a lot planned in terms of media appearances and classroom visits, which I believe would have gotten my name out more.”

Alexis Martinez, the senior who portrayed Nydia Velasquez, said, “It’s no doubt that Hurricane Sandy ruined our plans. It would have been interesting to see how the Election Simulation turnout would be if we had that week.” She continued, “I would have liked to do more radio interviews. I’d like to praise the Democratic Party; maybe it’s because I worked mainly with them, but I was able to see all the dedication put into the Election Simulation, and it was a really wonderful thing to see.”

Ameer, in response to being the only Republican that won in the simulation, said, “I established great connections with many other campaigns who really got my name out there,” noting that he used the media to his advantage.

Khalid said, “I can’t stress enough what a good job all the candidates did in the election. Mitt Romney really pushed me to my limit and both of us collectively made the Election Simulation a success.”