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MIT Supports Underdogs

Bush, Gore Win Nationwide

By Naveen Sunkavally and Frank Dabek

staff rePORTers

While frontrunners George W. Bush and Al Gore scored victories across the country, MIT’s voters sided with the underdogs.

Returns in wards 2-2 and 2-3, which cover MIT’s campus, show that John McCain stomped Bush three to one and that Bill Bradley beat out Gore by a small margin. In Cambridge as a whole, McCain won easily over Bush, while Gore edged out Bradley 51 to 49 percent.

Underdogs appeal to students

Christopher D. Smith ’01, treasurer of the MIT College Democrats and Bradley supporter, was not surprised by the results. “Bradley’s appeal has been with college students. He was more organized than any other candidate” in courting college voters.

“Bradley is an intellectual,” said Aaron B. Strauss ’02, co-president of MIT College Democrats and organizer for the Gore campaign. “People with Masters and doctoral degrees were heavily with Bradley.”

John McCain struck a chord with students because of his reform-minded message, said Eric J. Cholankeril ’02, coordinator for MIT Students for McCain 2000. “College students are pretty disillusioned with the political process.”

McCain, Bradley drop out

Despite their victories among MIT voters, both Bradley and McCain have ended their bids for president after widespread losses in the Super Tuesday races.

“Bradley wasn’t able to separate himself enough from Gore,” Smith said.

In addition, Gore benefited from the booming economy. “That, of course, is a help to any incumbent,” Strauss said. In the months leading up to the general election in November, Gore will emphasize the economy, Strauss said.

Cholankeril thinks that McCain should have spent more time explaining his plans for reform and talking about issues and less on addressing attack ads.

Looking toward the future

Following the end of his campaign, Bradley called for unity in the party, offering support for Gore in the general election but stopping short of a full endorsement. He chose not to release his delegates.

In a press release which announced the end of his campaign Bradley said that he would continued to press his message as a reformer. He said that he would fight for a new politics “not polluted by money ... in which leaders speak from their core convictions and not from polls of focus groups.”

“I think it’s pretty obvious Bradley has endorsed Gore, even if he doesn’t use the word ‘endorse’,” Strauss said.

Smith said that the general election is poised to get nasty. “Gore will be outright called a crook, and Bush will be called a racist and a rich fat cat,” he said. In his opinion, Gore will will the November election, although he plans to write in Bradley for president.

Despite wins in the Bay State and across New England McCain also announced the end of his campaign.

Like Bradley, McCain chose not to release his 224 delegates and did not endorse Bush for president. McCain’s campaign was lukewarm on Bush’s chances in November: “He may very well become the next President of the United States,” McCain said at an Arizona press conference. McCain also played down the possibility of a third party run for the presidency.

Like Smith, Cholankeril will support neither Bush nor Gore. “At this point, I don’t feel I can vote for Al Gore or George W. Bush,” he said.