Lily Mae Clarington, currently in 6th place in Freedemian election, faces steep uphill battle in her campaign and trouble back home in Vandover

QUENTINSBURGH- The 2018 Presidential Campaign is well underway in Freedemia, and the 6 official candidates are pushing themselves as why they should be the next president. However, in the first month or so, clear front runners have emerged in incumbents Rosenthal and Houser and in Tweetbook CEO Katherine Nelzer. At the same time, one candidate has fallen steeply behind- Lily Mae Clarington.

Lily Mae Clarington was originally expected to be a strong candidate considering her success as mayor of Vandover. It’s not unusual for mayors to run for president- then-Franklinsburgh mayor Tom Morganson ran against current president Angela Rosenthal and only lost by a hair, becoming the vice president until his resignation to be with his family in a difficult time back in 2016.

However, what worked to stimulate the Vandoverian economy is not what most Freedemians want or need, and the social issues she championed don’t come close to the more important things on Freedemians’ minds.

President Rosenthal’s proven leadership and Nelzer and VP Houser’s big ideas for infrastructure have pushed them to the forefront. Polls show Freedemians want progress, to continue developing as a world power. Nelzer pushes cyber security to help keep the nation safe. Rosenthal points to major successes such as hosting the 2016 Pancontinental Games, the first time Freedemia has ever hosted something that big on the international stage. Houser, Nelzer, and even Barson all point to technology and infrastructure being the way forward. Schluderman pushes for Freedemia to be more outspoken and deliberate in not supporting countries with human rights or civil rights violations.

In contrast, Clarington, while pushing for Freedemia to be a world leader in pacifism, mostly pushes nude tourism. While tourism has helped Freedemia greatly, a poll showed 78% of Freedemians don’t think it’s what will move the country forward.

In the most recent poll, Clarington had only 1.25% of the vote, literally trailing “other”, and had even dropped to 4th place in her home city of Vandover, where she’s doing best.

In the first debate, Clarington was largely considered the clear loser- in an otherwise civil debate, her comments drew fire from almost every other candidate on the stage, Rosenthal attacking her leadership and fitness for the office, Houser blasting her expertise, and Nelzer ripping her plans to shrink the military 85% in the name of pacifism to shreds. Clarington dropped 4% in the polls after the debate, going from 6% to 2%. Ironically, Nelzer picked up most of the extra voters.

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Clarington has been working hard to try and prove that she’s a serious candidate. Recently, she’s targeted Quentinsburgh, the largest city in Freedemia and the city most known for being split among candidates. Her new ad campaign, “Clarity with Clarington”, tries to show that she wants to be clear with the voters, and she has been making an effort to be more detailed on some proposals. In a recent town hall at the Cardenia Center in downtown Quentinsburgh, she clarified her stance on taking on the clothing industry, explaining it’s not to make less people wear clothes, but to help small business owners and clothing makers across the country. She also explained that her reasoning behind pushing nude tourism so hard is that it brings in large amounts of money that aren’t burdening citizens, money that can be put towards healthcare, infrastructure, and education.

Clarington was also careful to dress formally for the event, unlike some past events in Vandover, which Clarington had done completely nude and the debate, where she had worn nothing but a painted on outfit. While social and public nudity are widely accepted nationwide and barechested equality is the norm, being nude during a formal campaign event or a debate is generally seen as extremely unprofessional, helping to lead to the image of an “unfit” candidate.

It appears her recent efforts are helping some. A poll done after her recent campaign events in Quentinsburgh asking whether voters in attendence saw Clarington more favorably or less favorably showed 68% saw her more favorably after her explanations. However, that 68% may not translate into votes. It appears only time will tell. But with Rosenthal, Houser, and Nelzer collectively taking home almost 3/4ths of the voters already, there may not be room for Clarington to make up the gap.

VANDOVER- Meanwhile, in Vandover, Clarington faces a new challenge- her legacy.

Clarington’s term limit as the mayor of Vandover is up at the end of 2017 (part of the reason why she ran for president). Clarington has actually been a very highly esteemed mayor for several years, having been in office since 2010 and frequently championing favorability ratings of 70% or more. As is custom with successful mayors that want their work to continue, Clarington endorsed a candidate that she knows well, Annette Zirchall, daughter of famous nude activist Harold Zirchall.

Annette Zirchall has largely the same policies as Clarington: Nude tourism, trade, infrastructure, and continuing to be a leader in anti-censorship, anti-clothes industry, and pro-worker policies. Zirchall also champions education, something that goes beyond Clarington’s platform, pushing for more success stories like Jennison Nudist University’s opening back in the 1940s. Laneston and Vandover together constitute one of the largest metropolitain areas in Freedemia, but Laneston is home to most of the universities, other than Jennison Nudist University and Vandover University. Annette pushes for new campuses, including two new community colleges and a long proposed Vandover Institute of Technology and Engineering (VITE), to act as a balance to the liberal arts, nude arts, and arts-centered JNU.

Zirchall is generally even more popular than Clarington, and was expected to be a shoe in. Her education policy lines up with what more than 70% of Vandoverians have pushed for, and, at least in Vandover, Clarington’s policy is seen as successful and progressive. However, things have started to change since the start of Clarington’s… rocky campaign. Zirchall has struggled to distance herself from Clarington, and as support for Clarington has died, so has a lot of Zirchall’s support.

The biggest wild card in the Vandover mayoral race is Caroline Addison, who dubbed herself “the people’s candidate”. While Addison herself is a nudist and has even gone to a couple campaign events wearing just painted on clothes or an open jacket and a skirt, she strongly believes that Clarington’s emphasis on nude tourism and city growth has left native Vandoverians behind.

“There’s nothing wrong with tourism. It’s great, helps our economy boom. There’s nothing wrong with nudism. I’m a proud nudie myself. There’s nothing wrong with incentives to bring new people here. Heck, beautiful world renown beaches, nudism, and one of the best nude arts scenes in the world? I’d want to move here too. But when our leaders put tourists and newcomers over our city’s own people who are here today, there’s a serious problem. I’m here to do what’s right for native Vandoverians, to work on schools, transportation- for residents and employees too, not just the tourists-, healthcare, tackling the continuing public restroom shortage- You know, the important stuff that helps ALL of us, not just the tourists from the other side of the world.”

Between Addison’s surprisingly strong mayoral campaign and Clarington’s faltering presidential campaign, things aren’t looking great for Zirchall. Just the other day a billboard independent of the campaigns went up near JNU in Vandover, with a picture of the moment Clarington endorsed and introduced Zirchall, and the caption: “If this leadership isn’t good enough to lead our country, why should it be good enough to lead our city?” Zirchall’s association with Clarington is bringing her down, and it might be hard to recover. For the first time, Zirchall trailed Addison 42% to 55% in recent polling.

In a recent press conference, PWN Laneston/Vandover asked Zirchall what she thought of Clarington’s campaign. Zirchall didn’t have much of an answer, stating she thought Clarington needs to be clearer on her actual ideas. Zirchall seems to be distancing herself from Clarington, trying to present herself as a candidate with similar good ideas but different leadership.

 

PWN Politics: The first Freedemian Presidential Debate, newest polling shows Nelzer rapidly gaining on Incumbents Rosenthal and Houser

QUENTINSBURGH- On June 10th, Quentins State International University hosted the first official Freedemian Presidential Debate. The 6 official candidates discussed their plans and qualifications for the office.

President Angela Rosenthal, VP Patrick Houser, and Katherine Nelzer all had strong showings in the debate. Coming strong, they talked about their qualifications and their ideas, trying to show why they were the best to lead Freedemia into the future.

Rosenthal faltered a bit on infrastructure and healthcare, as moderator Cynthia Powell pointed out that SRAFRA, the bill that transferred excess funding from the military and campaigns to education, healthcare, and infrastructure, was actually written by former Vice President Tom Morganson, and that almost every single one of the healthcare bills she mentioned had been championed by current VP Patrick Houser. However, she did make a strong argument for how her leadership has helped carry Freedemia for the past 4 years, to a point that while 4 years ago 78% of Freedemians said the country was “recovering”, a recent poll with the same question showed 92% said the country was “moving forward”.

Houser used that as a launching point to talk about his plans for infrastructure, saying that he thinks the ideas in the green infrastructure plan could help move the country into the future even more and place Freedemia alongside other countries who have championed going green and smart city technology already. He laid out his plan, which included large investments in modern solutions for renewable energy such as wind turbines, water turbines off the coast, solar farms, more desalination plants, and lining motorways with solar panels and wind turbines. He also pushed for growing the technology scene in Freedemia, backing up Nelzer’s plan for nationwide wi-fi, smart city technology, and incentivizing the tech industry. On a security standpoint, Houser proposed legislation that holds media sources more responsible for inaccurate reporting, especially where investigations or national security interests are involved.

Nelzer laid out technology and infrastructure plans very similar to that proposed by Houser, but emphasized cyber-security as her primary focus. Nelzer believes that Freedemia is one of the most likely worldwide to be a victim of a large cyber-attack, due to its large and growing global footprint, minimal military action, and lackluster national cyber-security protections. Her primary focus was national security, in shifting a large amount of military focus to cyber-security, as some Freedemian businesses had recently been targeted. Nelzer believes that the Freedemian government is currently one of the most vulnerable in the world, and argues that in this modern age they can’t afford to remain unprotected.

The other three struggled a bit to prove they weren’t one-issue candidates.

Economist Derrick Barson did the best job of this out of the three, talking about how he, like Houser, believes that infrastructure and technology is key, but wants it to be done by private companies in an effort to shrink the government and further grow the economy. Both VP Houser and Nelzer said they would be open to the concept of public-private partnerships to fulfill the infrastructure and technology plans. His explanation on why he thinks the government should be much more lenient on victimless crimes was met with doubt, but understanding.

Actor Craig Schluderman struggled a bit more. He succeeded in showing the merit to his reasoning behind wanting to cut foreign relations with countries blatantly known for human rights violations, and spoke clearly on why labor reform was needed in the rice and mining industries. However, he failed to show much understanding of other issues, including a lack of plans for infrastructure and only minimal ideas for healthcare. He did push for continuing to make higher education more accessible by opening more four-year campuses and community colleges, but this is something already started by SRAFRA and pushed by both Rosenthal and Houser already.

Vandover Mayor Lily Mae Clarington had the worst showing of the night. Her initial statement about nudism and body image was somewhat inspiring, but her rant about the “evils of the clothing industry” became more of a tirade than an explanation. Her plans to cut the military by 85% in the name of pacifism drew immediate fire from both President Rosenthal and Nelzer. Rosenthal pointed out that she only cut military funding because there was so much excess from past overfunding that the extra money was better off going somewhere else as long as Freedemia’s military was only for defense purposes, and that the military was not hurt or shrunk by her cuts. Nelzer argued that now, with Freedemia on the global stage and progressing rapidly, would be the absolute worst time to cut the military, as defense would be needed even more as Freedemia became a more alluring target. She reiterated her earlier plan to shift the military’s focus on cyber-security defense while maintaining a healthy combat defense.

Clarington continued her downward spiral as she started talking about censorship and nude tourism. VP Houser pointed out that while he agreed with some of Clarington’s views on censorship, the benefits of nudist tourism, and on the clothing industry, that Freedemia had much bigger things to tackle that should fall way higher on the priority list of a presidential candidate. Rosenthal chimed in agreeing, stating that she herself is a part-time nudist, but that “simply being a nudist isn’t what it takes to be a president”. Clarington then tried to change the subject to talk about infrastructure, only to get shot down by Houser again, who pointed out that while Clarington claims to also be “pro-infrastructure” and has cited some needs in her home state of Reeds, she has absolutely no plans on how Freedemia should move forward infrastructure-wise.

The debate did seem to have a large impact on the polling numbers. In a recent PWN poll from June 11th-June 14th, Rosenthal stayed about steady at 29%, retaining her lead. Houser stayed about steady at 27% and would retain second place. However, Nelzer saw a huge jump from the debate, and now sits, still in third, at 26.5% of the vote. Barson retained 4th place, but dropped to 8% of the vote. Schulderman came in fifth with 6.5% of the vote, and Clarington would drop to only 2% of the vote, still largely from her home city of Vandover. About 0.7% said other, and about 0.3% still wrote in former vice president Marco Nelson, who is not running. It appears most of the growth in the “other” category came from people who originally chose Schulderman or Clarington. Many of Barson’s voters went to Nelzer, believing she understood the merits of privatization as the CEO of TweetBook.

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Personsboro College to join Freedemian University System of Four Year Institutions, become Quentins State Personsboro University

PERSONSBORO- Students who got accepted to the small but growing Personsboro College will find themselves actually attending Quentinsburgh State Personsboro University and will be eligible for additional student aid after a recent board decision to join the national university system.

Personsboro College was founded in 1952 as a small two-year college. Over the years, it has modernized greatly, but not really grown. More recently, however, the school has been expanding greatly using private donations. Since 2014, it began offering a small amount of four-year programs in generic liberal arts subjects and education, and it just got funding for a health program and an engineering program. However, the school wanted to offer more to the Personsboro metropolitan area, and has aspired for many years to be the next large international university. A master plan drawn up in 2015 showed plans to double the size of the campus with new buildings for all sorts of new programs by 2030. In order to build those buildings and offer those programs, they needed more than just private donations. Considering this, the Board of Trustees voted to join the national system to gain needed federal funding.

The new official name of the school starting in August is Quentins State Personsboro University, which will generally be shortened to Personsboro University or QPU, similarly to how Quentinsburgh’s Quentins State International University is known as Quentins University or QSU. The name QSU Personsboro was considered, but it was decided it sounded too much like a second campus for QSU in Quentinsburgh, not a separate university.

By fall 2020, Personsboro University hopes to stand as eastern Quentins’ biggest and best university and the best alternative to Quentins State International University. All programs will be admitting more students to more majors and programs starting in fall 2017, and new construction has already started. Nonacademic plans include a new stronger athletics department as well. The school colors will remain turquoise and yellow orange, and the mascot will remain the Platypus.

Personsboro University is only one of several new universities being added to the national system this year, including the recently approved Graham Institute of Technology and the new Graham State Technical University, both to be located in Graham City.