Ask Not What Optimus Can Do For You…

A lot of people (at least 2 or 3 in the last year) ask me why I chose the url “” for my website. Since I’m lazy, rather than rewrite an explanation I’m just going to steal text from myself that I used explain the site years ago:

Voteprime is dedicated to getting Optimus Prime elected as student body president at Carnegie Mellon University. As you explore the site you probaby will not find much related to Optimus Prime, Carnegie Mellon, or student body elections. But just think of this as the dedication page of a novel, which also usually has nothing to do with the pages that follow it.

In my junior year of college, Optimus Prime – leader of the good guys in the Transformers and not actually a human being – came in a distant second in the voting for student body president. Mr. T was close behind in a tie for third. Of the estimated 5000 eligible voters on our campus, only about 400 students showed up to vote. I will admit that our student body was fairly aloof when it came to current issues. But it did not help that zero candidates campaigned, the election was not promoted, and the only place to vote was one table stuck in front of a building on campus. It was then that my friends and I decided that with a campaign Optimus Prime might just be able to win the elections. Not only would the campaign be fun for us, but it would show everyone just how absurd class elections are on the CMU campus. We’d start a revolution and open everyone’s eyes.

Unfortunately, despite our big plans, we never really made an effort to get the campaign running. But I did register this URL.

So enjoy the site. But as you are reading whatever you are reading on these pages, always remember Optimus Prime and the good that he represents. Good that is buried deep inside a big pile of wrong, also known as the Carnegie Mellon University student body elections.

However, saying that we “never really made an effort” is not totally true. Last night I uncovered 2 posters created for the campaign done by voter Jon Sung. They are, as one might say, classic:

“If you were running, he’d vote for you!”
“Can your candidate beat up Megatron?”

Update: I have found the original elections results published in our school newspaper proclaiming Optimus Prime as the official runner-up of the Student Body Elections. Forgotten in history is that he actually made a stronger showing in the Treasury race. Seems robots will never quite be able to kick that “good with money” stereotype.

Additionally, even though both Optimus and Mr. T received votes, neither is an Activities Fee-paying student and thus ineligible for election. I am sure The Tartan editor enjoyed including that note.

6 thoughts on “Ask Not What Optimus Can Do For You…

  1. Yes, indeed. I believe that you and Andy (or “And I” or Andrew, depending on who you are talking with) were 2 of the 3 total inquiries.

  2. When I was in college (Univ. of Rochester in NY) in the early 80’s, a group of us decided that we should run David Letterman for Student Assoc. President. This was during his NBC years, with his show following Johnny Carson.

    My junior year we put together a decent campaign, and he ended up 4th or 5th. Now, at the good ol’ U0fR, kids running for SA Pres took it seriously, so we were pretty proud of our achievement.

    Senior year we got serious. We negotiated a deal with a fraternity that was going to run Larry “Bud” Melman as SA Pres, putting together a kickass ticket of Letterman/Melman. Real candidates were limited to spending $25 – be we had no such limitation (call us the early Ross Perot). But then, we didn’t need to spent $$$.

    One of our operatives had access to a high speed Xerox machine, while a number of us had access to multiple hi-limit computer accounts. We did not have to pay a cent for any handouts/signs. We peppered the campus with Dave/Bud papers.

    Sadly, too many students took the vote seriously, too, and voted in a sophomore (a SOPHOMORE!) as pres. Fools – his first “speech” to the students was so full of pompous BS that I was glad I had graduated before he could do much damage.

    One fun part of the campaign – one of the serious candidates (and probably a favorite) was in one of my classes (Political Science, of course). We had a number of debates about the logic/fallacy of running a fake candidate. My arguments leaned towards “The SA is a joke” while his leaned towards “I can make a difference.” On election night I was in the student union near the student paper office, and heard that the sophomore had won. My classmate saw me, walked over, and in a very pissy tone asked “are you happy now?” It was worth it.

    On a side note – the Letterman/Melman ticket ended up 4th, but with enough votes that if all were given to either the 2nd (my classmate) or 3rd place finishers, they would have won.

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