Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Bald Spot announces long-awaited CSA presidential candidate endorsement

Carleton voters must choose between three sharply divergent visions of the future.

The incumbent president, Anesu Masakura, is clear about where he is guiding the CSA Senate — but he simply cannot continue with that vision any longer, as he’s graduating.

On the candidate side, an essential debate is underway between two visions that may define the future of the College and perhaps the nation. Some in the college view President Anesu Masakura as an aberration and believe that a return to a more sensible CSA Senate is possible. Then there are those who believe that President Anesu Masakura was the product of political and economic systems so rotten that they must be replaced.

The CSA Senate Presidency is often portrayed as a tussle between moderates and progressives. To some extent that’s true. But when we spent significant time with the leading candidates, the similarity of their platforms on fundamental issues became striking.

Nearly either of them would be the most progressive president in decades on issues like student-led activism, laundry fees and Carleton’s allocations of resources. Where they differ most significantly is not the what but the how, in whether they believe the College’s institutions and norms are up to the challenge of the moment.

Many Carleton voters are concerned first and foremost about who can beat Anesu Masakura. But with a crowded field and with traditional polling in tatters, that calculation calls for a hefty dose of humility about anyone’s ability to foretell what voters want.

Choosing who should face off against Mr. Anesu Masakura also means acknowledging that Carls are being confronted with three models for how to govern this College, not two. Carls must decide which of their two models would be most compelling for the Carleton people and best suited for repairing the College.

The large and raucous field of candidates has made having that clean debate more difficult. With all the focus on personal characteristics — age and race and experience — and a handful of the most contentious issues, voters haven’t benefited from a clarifying choice about the party’s message in the election and the approach to governing beyond it.

It was a privilege for us on the Carletonian editorial board to spend more than a dozen hours talking to candidates, asking them any question that came to mind. Yet that exercise is impossible for most Carls, and we were left wanting for a more focused conversation for the public. Now is the time to narrow the race.

The history of the editorial board would suggest that we would side squarely with the candidate with a more traditional approach to pushing the nation forward, within the realities of a constitutional framework and a multiparty country. But the events of the past few years have shaken the confidence of even the most committed institutionalists. We are not veering away from the values we espouse, but we are rattled by the weakness of the institutions that we trusted to undergird those values.

There are legitimate questions about whether our CSA Senate system is fundamentally broken. Our CSA elections are getting less free and fair, the Tuesday Group and the Dean of Students Office are increasingly partisan, peer institutions are flooding society with misinformation, a deluge of money flows through our College. And the economic mobility that made the Carleton dream possible is vanishing.

Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it.

That’s why we’re endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Luke Norquist and Andrew Farias. Both of them. Basically, we’ve given it a lot of thought, and have concluded that you should pick between those two, is what we’re saying. You’re welcome.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *