By: Blake Johnson & Mason Simmons
“Ask What Your Country Country Can Do For You” was one of the many minors available to scholars of the 2015 Missouri Scholars Academy. Nicholas Jain, instructor of the course, said that scholars spent each day analyzing their views and ideas about America’s political and governmental systems. After learning about campaigns and the media, the scholars split into groups and conducted a mock political election between “Bernie Sanders” (Carson Schutter) and “Mark Everson” (Jake Burnett). In this election, each scholar worked with a variety of roles, tackling various scenarios with the same sort of rapid response that real campaigns practice on a daily basis. Their efforts culminated in a debate to finish the day.
Prior to the the campaign process, scholars split up into political parties based on their personal beliefs. Arya Royal said she chose the opposite of her own political views to challenge herself. Once everyone everyone split up, roles were selected for each of the scholars, for instance media personnel, campaign manager, and party nominee. The Democratic side chose Bernie Sanders as their party’s nominee and the
Republican side selected Mark Everson. The candidates were supported by a staff who handled various tasks required to run a smooth campaign. The purpose of the staff was to advise the candidate and handle the media, helping provide the best image of the candidate as possible. Those who were journalists acted as the media would during an actual presidential election providing the American public with an objective representation of both candidates.
Passion was rampant in both parties as Kyle Helm, the former Democratic campaign manager, said “I believe Bernie Sanders should be President because Bernie Sanders cares about the American people.” In general however, students enjoyed the busy day of political simulation. Many expressed their changed political ideals after having completed the day’s activities.