Mr. John Ostick Holds Student Mock Presidential Election

With an upcoming presidential election, Ostick continues his tradition of holding a student election at Malvern Prep and St. Joe’s University

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Chris Ayres and Matt Hess

Mr. Ostick has been teaching for decades and his intrigue in student viewpoints and how they would contribute to the Presidential voting has not ceased.

“This is my 45th year teaching… At Malvern Prep, in the 2012 election, Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama is when I started doing it formally, both here and in my position of being an adjunct professor at St. Joe’s University of Philadelphia,” Ostick said.

The election is held every four years. With only the two major candidates as options, students anonymously vote for their favorite. The survey is taken at the beginning of the school year and right before the real Presidential election takes place. Cormac Delaney ’21 explains what the mock election is and why Ostick holds one every presidential election year.

“He’s curious to see the results after seven or so weeks of Economics, when we will be more informed by the time that we actually make our decisions. He hypothesizes that the results won’t change when he surveys us before the election again because in the past the results have basically been the same,” Delaney said.

Ostick has been committed to holding these elections for many years. He believes that people should always vote issues-based, and he wants to ensure that they are taking the information they learn in his class and using it for good. 

“It’s interesting to know the demographics of the population,” Ostick said. “I started doing [the poll] to measure the population’s demographic, never to say ‘one is better than the other’, but to make sure that students of Economics are looking at issues.” 

The 2012 election of Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney was the first formal election he held. Resulting in a 92% for Romney and only 8% for Obama in the Malvern poll, the dramatically one sided results shocked Ostick.

“I really wondered at that time why that was the case, knowing that Malvern was going to be a red school most likely. The fact that it was 92% to 8% made me wonder. ‘Why was it so scewed that way? Did Barack Obama do a bad job in his first four years? Was he doing a bad job both domestically and foreign? Did it have anything to do with the color of his skin?’ I don’t know, but that’s what I thought of,” Ostick said.

After another four years, Ostick held a mock election again, this time for Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump won 88% to 12%. 

“Again, not surprising. Here was a woman running for President, a woman that had a lot of political and governmental jobs,” Ostick said. “She was the first lady, head of state, so that was interesting. It was not surprising that it went red, but it went red so much.”

This year, Ostick held the election once more between candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden, however, the results were different from previous years. The republican candidate still won, but only 74% Trump to a 26% Biden. 

“That’s a 3 times increase from 2012. That’s interesting. Malvern has had a directive to make the school more diverse. That’s probably a factor. For the faculty, we’ve had programs called ‘The Seed Program’ and there is a diversity club. The fact that blue is three times as much as it was eight years ago I think is an encouraging thing,” Ostick said.

Henry Fish ’22  was not surprised by the results. He believes the environment and economy play a large part in the outcome of the election. 

“The result of our class “Mock Election” did not surprise me in the slightest. A large majority of families that are very privileged and blessed with immense amounts of wealth. Students partaking in AP Econ have seen the ups and downs of our economy over the last 6 months. They also may have had some incitement for the presidential election,” said Fish.

Cormac Delaney thought that Trump received more votes than he expected. 

“To be honest I was sort of surprised by the results. I expected Trump to get a lot of votes but I didn’t expect it to be that high or for him to even win the majority,” Delaney said.

Also holding the elections for his class at St Joe’s, Ostick finds that those results are often much more close. 

“The Malvern seniors could be there (St. Joe’s) next year,” Ostick said. “If you’re asking me, maybe it is more maturity, being out of the family, giving students a chance to think for themselves a bit more. At St. Joe’s, the demographic is different from Malvern Prep.”

In pointing out that the social studies department has done a great job at allowing students to think on their own, Ostick hopes to get every member in the Malvern Community to start talking about this topic.

“I think the entire social studies department has that kind of thought process and creativity to get students to think for themselves,” Ostick said. “Students have to pull that lever on their own, it has nothing to do with my opinion.” 

Ostick describes how this election will decide more long term impacts of the country rather than short term impacts.

“Remember all choices are short run benefit cost analysis and long run[benefit cost analysis]. November 3rd will be a short run decision, but it clearly has long run impacts for the United States of America”