MFS Mock Primary Election Through the Years
Many MFS alumni have entered or aspire to careers in politics, public service, journalism, media, and more. A large number credit their experiences at MFS, and in some cases, refer directly to the MPE/MPC as a catalyst for their career path. In the following feature, several alumni describe their careers and how their MFS experiences shaped their path.
Dante Bucci ’14
- B.A. Candidate American University
- Class of 2018 Undergraduate Senator
- Intern on Capitol Hill for Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton
An Ambitious Start to a Budding Career
American University sophomore Dante Bucci has wasted no time immersing himself in the Washington, DC political culture. He has already secured a Capitol Hill internship with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, and, at American, he is studying political science and business, as well as serving his second term as an undergraduate senator. Dante cites the 2012 Mock Primary Election, during which he represented Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, as one of the first experiences to spark his interest in American politics.
“There’s nothing else like MPE, and I do think the experience helped guide me down the path I am on today,” said Dante. “Before MPE, I knew that politics was something I was interested in, but I never thought it could be something I would care so much about on a deep, personal level or that it could be a future career. It was a wonderful experience to represent a candidate, and the part I loved most was getting to talk to people about the issues. I still have pictures and the Burlington County Times front page article that had me, the Italian kid, waving my hands around. My candidate may have come in last in votes, but MPE is something I won’t forget.”
Impressed with the candidate performances during MPE 2008, Dante volunteered to portray a candidate in the 2012 presidential race during his sophomore year at MFS. He chose to represent Newt Gingrich as he seemed to be the most logical candidate, being a familiar Republican party leader as the Former Speaker of the House.
“I wanted to represent exactly what Newt Gingrich said in my portrayal of him, and that’s probably why I came in last,” said Dante. “I would take his talking points directly from debates and news organizations and I vividly remember, during one of our debates, I quoted him stating that global warming was not real and [Science and Engineering Department Chair] Dr. Kreider walked out of the room. I got a lot of boos, but my goal was to be straight with my talking points and accurately represent the candidate. I was told I did a good job as a speaker, but students couldn’t get behind my candidate.”
Learning how to communicate effectively and being attuned to an audience’s disposition were two of Dante’s most significant takeaways from the experience. According to Dante, his MPE campaign strengthened public speaking and interpersonal communication skills, and also helped him learn to articulate opinions respectfully. It was an insightful precursor to college-level debate classes at American.
However, when he reflects on his memories of the day of the Mock Primary, Dante recalls the rush of emotions and the miniscule details that contribute to successful political campaigns.
“I was very excited listening to the keynote address by Michael Smerconish, and I looked down and saw that I didn’t have my American flag pin on,” said Dante. “I was so upset, I thought, how can I be a real Republican without my American flag pin? So I called my dad and he brought it to me and then the rest of the day I was running around in my complete suit and tie trying to garner votes. It was an amazing and unique day, a fun experience all around, and I was glad to be a part of it.”
Although Dante as Newt Gingrich didn’t win the votes of the MFS student body, his performance and enthusiasm made an impact and helped him earn an internship working for Michael Smerconish on his independent political radio show at Sirius XM. Dante also interned for the Republican National Committee during Chris Christie’s gubernatorial reelection campaign.
“Being involved with MPE definitely is one of my most cherished memories of my 12 years at MFS,” said Dante. “The school really shaped my life. It shaped me politically, being an argumentative conservative, and shaped me religiously as a Quaker. It taught me how to work smarter, not harder. I think the MPE experience really lent itself to the MFS mantra of being yourself and considering other points of view and establishing your own perspective.”
Looking towards the future, Dante remains ambitious. He believes his career path will include some political involvement, and Dante hopes to serve people on a local level by helping solve problems that people care about.