Dark Horse Candidate Gary Johnson Wins ODA Caucus


Ethan Bertrand, a sophomore, seems to know that Gary Johnson means business.

Caucus is this week at the Out-of-Door Academy, and many candidates seem poised to take the ODA community by storm.

Why provide students the opportunity to vote?

Upper School history teacher Ken Sommers explains why the caucus is important.
“I think it was a great opportunity to show the student body to show who the candidates are, two to show the excitement of Super Tuesday, and three, to show the process of how a caucus actually works.” Says Mr. Sommers.

“I’m looking to set up the ODA Caucus around a typical democratic caucus, because it would allow for more public participation from Upper School students,” says Mr. Sommers.

By what is the difference between a democratic caucus and a republican caucus?

“The Republican caucus is essentially a primary, where the democratic caucus allows for the students to share many ideas, and so the students can have a wide variety of candidates to choose from.” Mr. Sommers explained.

TWO DAYS BEFORE THE ODA CAUCUS: Monday February 29, 2016

“I am just going to have some key points about Ted Cruz,” says sophomore Matteo Romano who represented the candidate.

But Romano also wants to have a little fun at the caucus, too.

“I also might throw out a fun fact like how Ted Cruz does not like avocados,” adds Romano.

As a student representing a third party candidate, Gary Johnson, I feel extra nervous going into the debate. I feel nervous because I’m representing a candidate who has no name recognition, and I feel like going into this caucus that most people won’t take the vote real seriously. But I also think on the other hand, if students at this school really care about the future of this nation, I think that Johnson could be the dark horse candidate.

I think he represents what people commonly want in both parties, so he can be seen as almost a “compromise” candidate to the front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

“I’m preparing by making a speech that highlights key issues that Sanders exposes,” says Chris Eckart, a sophomore student representative.

So who would the Thunder ultimately side with?

DAY OF THE ODA CAUCUS: Wednesday March 2, 2016

It’s Wednesday, March 2, 2016 today.  Caucus time.

Everyone seemed prepared for the caucus, but not everyone at the Out-of-Door Academy was prepared to find out which candidate would win the election.

At the caucus, everyone was primed and ready to see what was going to be said of each candidate. Since I was representing a candidate that almost no one has ever heard of, I was quite nervous and a little rattled. There I was, standing in front of the projector with a bunch of well-known candidates, waiting for my to see who would want to vote for a no name candidate.

I was the last person up.

I gingerly walked to the podium standing in front of the bleachers, and began my speech. I had a hard time producing the first words of my speech. After a while though, I started to read off and explain the values Johnson stood for. At the end of my speech, I was surprised to hear some people actually giving me a round of applause. I then walked back to the projector, I still did not expect to pull a single vote from a single person.

But when Mr. Sommers asked the candidates to move to parts of the gym and prepare for the voting, I could not even fathom what was about to happen.

It first started with a couple people coming over to me directly, and then a large group of people suddenly moved unilaterally towards my camp. We survived the first round successfully, with Hillary Clinton, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz getting eliminated. When those people who voted for eliminated candidates were told to vote for a new candidate, some initially moved to Trump and Sanders, but most people came to my camp. At that time, we had about forty people in our camp, and we were not as close large as the Trump or Sanders group.

“No one agreed with the points that Ted Cruz makes,” says Matteo Romano as he recalls the ODA caucus results.

But that was all about to change.

During the second round of caucus, Marco Rubio was eliminated and half of his supporters went to Trump while the other half sided with me. We were up to about sixty people then, which was an impressive number of votes, but still not enough to win.

When I heard Mr. Sommers announced that the last round of caucus is about to start, I immediately grabbed the microphone from him and made a final call for Johnson supporters. After my call to undecided voters, I still did not know the fate of the caucus. I had already conceded defeat to the large group that was with Bernie Sanders.

All of a sudden, fifteen people moved towards my camp.

Then the final vote was taken, and all I can remember is that someone in my camp shouted


Mr. Sommers then revealed that Donald Trump was in third place with 65 votes, and then revealed who the winner was.

“The winner, by three votes is…,” proclaimed Mr. Sommers, while starting to move towards the Sanders group.

“GARY JOHNSON,” exclaimed Mr. Sommers.

I was both surprised and shocked that I won the Caucus, and people then patted me on the back and congratulated me on my victory.

So is this win from Gary Johnson at the Out-of-Door Academy simply a fluke? Or will Johnson surprise the nation when the presidential polls come out?


After the conclusion of the caucus, the political chatter on campus has seemed to increased. The TV in the cafe is now playing excerpts of the last GOP debate as well as some excerpts of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Everyone who stops by and watches the television for a spell can’t stop themselves from saying something about both party’s cast of characters.

When either the critics or zealots come in contact with each other, there is a quick exchange of words, and then both belligerent parties walk away from each other with scornful disgust. But now there is a large third group of people who are indifferent to bipartisan system, and every time they hear someone ask if they are “Republican” or “Democrat”, they faintly smile and mouth the word “Libertarian” to themselves.