[Ed: These are from 1984, but they still apply ]
(Every year, teacher Mike Wilson of Ballwin, Missouri has his elementary-school students study the presidential election process in America. From the resulting essays and exam papers, Wilson has culled some gems of youthful insight and wisdom, not to mention skepticism worth of a politics-weary adult. As the 1984 presidential election grows near, we offer some of Wilson's treasures.)
Did you ever think what I used to think about candidates running neck-and-neck? Well it is not true.
Universal suffrage means that even the illegible get to vote.
Calling a person a runner-up is the polite way of saying you lost.
The difference between a king and a president is that a king is the son of his father but a president is not.
What I learned about elections is that we aren't really getting to elect the president. It is some people in a college who get to. I have not decided what to do about it yet but I am not going to just sit around.
It is possible to get the majority of electoral votes without getting the majority of popular votes. Anyone who can ever understand how this works gets to be president.
Some of our presidents never did much else and are famous only because they became president.
The more I think about trying to run for president the less I think of it.
The president has the power to appoint and disappoint the members of his cabinet.
Much has been said about balancing the budget. It has been found that the budget is more talkable than balanceable.
The campaign is when the candidate tells what he stand for and the election is when the votes tell if they can stand for his being elected.
Actually, elections are different from politics. Elections come and go while politics are with us all the time.
The winning candidate is elected and inoculated.
In January, the president makes his Inaugural Address after he has been sworn at.
Once he is elected, sometimes the president has to work 24 hours a day until he finds out what he is supposed to do.
The nominees are usually called candidates or campaigners although I have heard them called other things.
One of the strictest rules is all dark horses running for president must be people.
Popular votes tell who is the most popular. Electoral votes tell who is the most elected.
Heredity is a bad thing in politics because it gets us kings instead of presidents.
A caucus is something people vote in. Sort of a small booth.
An overwhelming favorite is a candidate that often comes over to the convention and whelms the delegates.
The jobs of delegates is to resent their states.
Noncommittal is to be able to talk and talk without saying anything.
When the radio mentions a landslide, cross your fingers and hope it is talking about an election.
A dark horse is a candidate that the delegates don't know enough about to dislike yet.
Political science is to try to figure out what makes candidates act that way.
A split ticket is when you don't like any of them on the ticket so you tear it up.
When they talk about the most promising presidential candidate, they mean the one who can think of the most things to promise.
Elephants and donkeys never fought until politics came along.
Political strategy is when you don't let people know you have run out of ideas and keep shouting anyway.
A candidate should always renounce his words carefully.
We are learning how to make our election results known quicker and quicker. It is our campaigns we are having trouble getting any shorter.
One of the mainest rules of campaigning is you are not allowed to go on a whistle-stop tour without a train.
Politician is the bawling out name for a candidate you don't like.
Speaking of defeat, candidates are told never to.
Campaigns give us a great deal of happiness by their finally ending.