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This year’s race comes down to a clear choice between vitality and experience. On the one hand, you have a young outsider running on a ticket of change; on the other, an older, more experienced candidate who nonetheless wants to “raise the bar.” The former is accused of being all style and no substance, but balances this with an experienced running mate. The latter occasionally seems too intense, but has cleverly joined forces with a likable female vice-presidential candidate who might help soften his image.

No, I’m not talking about the current race for the U.S. presidency–these are the frontrunners in the occasionally cutthroat, often over-serious bid for the office of Student Union President at Stuyvesant High School, New York City’s most competitive public school. But even on this diminutive scale, campaigning for higher office is a strange, highly formalized process of glad-handing the electorate and warming up to pundits and wonks, though it’s relatively free of the pubescent drama one might expect.

In following Stuyvesant’s presidential elections, Caroline Suh’s Frontrunners is less a documentary version of Alexander Payne’s Election and more a junior version of Primary or The War Room. Click here to read the rest of Leo Goldsmith’s review of Frontrunners.

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