State College Borough Municipal Building, Local Buildings and Generic Shots

The State College Borough Municipal Building on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 in State College, Pa.

On Dec. 28, 2020, Ezra Nanes announced his intention to run as mayor of State College and enter the horse race of mayoral politics. 

Only problem is, Nanes is still the only horse to have entered the race thus far. 

Nanes could be the most qualified candidate in the world, and the lack of competing contestants would still inspire just as much alarm. Regardless of Nanes' fitness for office (and this editorial will neither endorse nor oppose his candidacy), the presence of a single candidate unopposed always indicates a democracy that's decidedly unfit. Democracy itself falls apart if one and only one choice exists. 

Key to our democratic institutions is multiplicity, the ability to discern and willfully choose one pathway over the other. Lose this ability, and the result is not democracy but a premeditated outcome free from our collective free will. 

In other words, a sham. Of course, Nanes did not manufacture this situation, and therefore he should not be seen as accountable or responsible for his lone status.

The only guilty party is our local community overall. Democracy is, above all, a collaborative and communal effort, and it's only as strong as the people who make up its individual parts and factions. If the people themselves have only a passing interest in democratic affairs, then democracy will wither and pass away from inattention.

In order for the State College community to flourish and fulfill its communal responsibilities, more mayoral candidates should run. If the May 18 primaries arrive and Nanes is still the only candidate, a massive opportunity shall be missed.

Vibrant democracies thrive off multiple choices. If vibrancy and multiplicity are the key ingredients, then only an influx of candidates could provide these essential features.

For evidence of how a drought of choices leaves us all democratically dehydrated, look no further than Majorie Taylor Greene. Elected to serve Georgia's 14th congressional district, Greene has uttered various falsehoods and outrageous conspiracy theories in her short political career, ranging from the boilerplate "Biden stole the election from Trump'' to the more bizarre, like the idea that a space laser owned by nefarious (though still recognizably Jewish) elites unleashed wildfires unto California. She also voiced support for the brutal execution of prominent Democrats, who now count among her co-workers.

Not surprisingly, Green ran unopposed in the general election. The lesson from the debacle is clear: when elections only offer one choice and one vision of the future, there exists a dangerous possibility that that vision belongs to a demagogue. 

Add more options, and demagoguery becomes only an ignorant choice rather than an inevitable certainty. 

Daily Collegian Opinion Editor David Tilli can be reached at dmt45@psu.edu.

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David Tilli is the opinion editor at The Daily Collegian. He is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and labor and employment relations.