Obviously, I’ve got the CSM on the brain of late. The Lowsec Questionnaire is off to a flying start, with about half the field having responded so far. While wading through the responses and campaign statements of the candidates, it struck me that there are very definitely certain ‘types’ of campaigns and candidates. I figured I’d jot them down and see if they hold up to public scrutiny.
THE COOK COUNTY CANDIDATE
The Democratic Party of Cook County dominated Chicago politics for decades, giving birth most famously to Richard J. Daley, who served as Mayor of Chicago from 1955 to his death in 1976. As a force, it is recognized as one of, if not the, most powerful political machines to ever exist in America. It didn’t really matter who you were, where you were from, or what you said – the machine would take care of your bid for office. In Eve, it’s obvious that the nullsec blocs are the space equivalent of political machines in the CSM elections. Darius Johnson, Vuk Lau, The Mittani, Seleene, White Tree, Dovinian, Mynnna, Sion – the list goes on, but the point should be clear: nullblocs get represented. All you have to do to pursue this path to the CSM is become an important member of a bloc, then convince its leader you should be the CSM rep in a given year. Of course, this isn’t always easy as alliance leaders have a tendency to decide that they should be the ones to go to Iceland, but hey – there’s harder ways to get elected.
One of the more effective ways of getting yourself thrust into the CSM is by way of a blog or podcast (or both!). The Celebrity is a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger here in California – Eve is a funny place, where substance doesn’t always beat out style and name recognition can get you pretty far. Xander Phoena, Ripard Teg, Mike Azariah, and Mynxee are all great examples of reputation providing the base necessary to mount a campaign. That’s not to say they aren’t any good at representing the players on the CSM – indeed, the opposite is usually true. Bloggers and podcasters probably love this game more than any other ‘type’ of consumer. They love it so much that when they aren’t playing it, they wanna talk about it! And if they aren’t talking about it, well then they must’ve kicked the bucket because man they will not stop talking.
Sometimes, an individual needs neither celebrity or a broad base of support to get elected; sometimes, just their intellect and knowledge is enough to catapult them into the CSM. Individuals like Prometheus Exenthal, Steve Ronuken, and TeaDaze are pretty good examples of this, with expertise in parts of Eve Online that are unrivaled – even by CCP’s own staff. While the celebrities often have their areas of expertise, as do the Cook County Crew, having a specialist on the CSM at the right time can do wonders to help the game, and players recognize that…sometimes.
THE PEOPLE’S CHAMPION
There are many types of candidates, but up until now we’ve primarily been dealing with successful sorts of candidates. Surprisingly, the people’s champion campaigns have a pretty awful track record. In fact, it is one of the best ways to derail an otherwise well-set-up campaign; take Roc Weiler for instance. A massively popular blog, a larger than life personality – hell, the guy was featured on CNN for crying out loud! And yet, despite multiple attempts, Roc never made it onto the CSM. Why? In his campaigns, he sought to be the people’s champion. Without a solid platform to approve of, most people passed on him (and the other candidates that have come and gone like him) to try and match themselves up with people who actually believed in something. It’s a lot like a candidate for Congress telling the people of his district that he’ll just go ahead and believe whatever they believe, as long as he gets elected. That doesn’t really work in the real world, nor does it in Eve Online.
Distinct from the people’s champion, the demagogue often has a very clear agenda. This agenda appeals to the basest instincts of Eve players, often advocating for extreme nerfs or buffs to a particular playstyle. Think James315 and you’ll be pretty close to what a demagogue looks like in Eve Online. Their supporters are loud, proud, but none too numerous, often resulting in the candidate’s failure to win a seat. These people are brash, undiplomatic individuals that, were they to get onto the CSM, will likely go their year being wildly ineffective. Unlike Congress, there’s no grandstanding in the CSM (unless you’re The Mittani, of course, in which case there most certainly always is).
I think that about wraps it up. Of course, most campaigns don’t fall into just one of these categories. Elise Randolph, for example, was both a product of bloc voting and a genuine, deep knowledge of the game; Mynxee managed to unite all of lowsec beneath her banner, forming a very effective (and very temporary) bloc; Ripard Teg had tons of knowledge about the game in addition to being a well known figure; the list goes on. However, every campaign can essentially be broken into elements of each of these categories, at least as far as I can tell.