Special interest groups skate boundary lines

By Halcyon Orvendal

Coming home late after a long day at the campaign office, Grover Mint ’17 restlessly opened his laptop to check his email—a bad habit that developed while being employed by Katarina Katz ’18.

 Katz and Mint had attended Lewis & Clark together as bright-eyed political science students, and were running for Portland City Council together on a graduation day promise, with Katz as candidate and Mint as campaign manager. It was not going particularly well. 

With mailers and yard signs littering his apartment, the campaign was taking over his life in unexpected ways. His roommates were furious—an entire batch of door hangers had to be thrown out after someone had drawn mustaches and dicks on them. In the glow of the airfryer’s digital display, an unread email with the subject line “NRA endorsement” stared at Mint ominously. 

“You know I have been talking about getting endorsements from interest groups. So can you reach out to the NRA? An endorsement from them would mean a surefire edge against my opponents. They want a survey from your potential constituents, have it by End of Day.”

Mint rolled his eyes. Going after such a prominent interest group would require some serious rallying around hobby sport issues, a weak spot in Katz’s overall campaign. The National Rollerskating Association was inoffensive enough, but they took themselves awfully seriously from what he had seen at their national headquarters in Portland’s Alberta neighborhood. The other week a skating rally had nearly run him over, along with his rescue dog, Bernie. 

In Mint’s opinion, it made much more sense to go after a friendlier group such as the Arts and Crafts Legal Union (ACLU), or Greenpiece-of-cake (previously known as the Vegan Baker’s Society, but rebranded because of the shared acronym of Vacation Bible School). 

Special interest groups were always passionate about their hobbies or interests, which was perfectly understandable. After all, Mint himself had enough LEGO sets to stock a store. But some were easier to work with than others. 

Cracking open a Yerba Mate (his standard Bluephoria), Mint settled in front of his laptop. As he plugged away at his word processor, an email to the campaign’s human resources department stewed in the back of his mind—something about working beyond billed hours. But Katz was in a polyamorous relationship with the head of HR and a barista at the campaign’s favorite local coffee shop, so it was unlikely to go anywhere.  

 Questions slowly came together:

How will you approach the increasing polarization between the rollerskating and rollerblading community? 

Do you believe rollerskating is a fundamental right as an American citizen? 

What would be your response to the movement that is trying to ban rollerskating, or increase barriers to accessing rollerskates. Positive or negative? 

He glanced at the slightly-off clock on the kitchen wall—2 a.m.! Satisfied, Mint went off to bed.

Mint always started the day off right by making himself a pourover with freshly-ground local espresso beans, while listening to the comforting voice of Michael Barbaro on “The Daily.” Today, he was in a slightly better mood than normal. The questionnaire was sure to make Katz happy!

Mint whistled along his bike commute and grinned through the $7 purchase of a gluten-free muffin from a bemused partner of his candidate. Walking into the office, he waved to their two uninterested interns. 

“What have you got for me?” Katz said.

“Perfection,” Grover said.

Katz read for several minutes.Then, with an expression of absolute incredulity, she looked up at Mint slowly.

“What?” Mint said.

“You do realize I meant the National RIFLE Association, right?” 

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