Survivor: Cook Islands – Who Will Go in Episode 8?by Wesley Rice -- 11/09/2006
It’s election time once more, and it looks like the Rarocans and the Aitucrats are at it again, voting for their favorite candidates to represent them in Loser’s Lodge. Last week, the castaways chose Jessica Smith (A-California) to represent them on the Walk of Shame. This may not, however, be as huge a victory as the Rarocans may have you believe. Jessica (aka Flica to her fellow pundits) was a well-known moderate. And the Rarocans were likely hoping that she would eventually switch to their party after receiving some inside information from their fellow tribemate, Nate Gonzales (R-California).
Both the Rarocans and Aitucrats are playing a precarious strategic game right now. And it has everyone wondering, “Who will control the island when the two parties merge?” Let’s consider the issues before the votes are cast at the midterm Tribal Council.
The island majority leader, representative Yul Kwon (A-California), is clearly enjoying the strongest approval ratings right now. But he still has reason to worry. His alliance currently holds a majority of votes in his party. But a general sense of mistrust seems to be creeping into the alliance, directed at his good friend and fellow candidate, Jonathan Penner (A-New York). Following the recent shifty-eye scandal, Jonathan’s stock has fallen drastically among his tribemates. And he becomes a significant threat to be voted out of his party.
However, Ozzy Lusth (A-California) still seems to be in the greatest danger of being voted off. Recent polls show that although his tribemates appreciate the fact that he provides their district with plenty of food and tribal immunity, he represents some clearly unpopular post-merge issues – namely likeability and a very open stance on individual immunity security threats. If the status quo doesn’t change, he may find himself not returning for a second term.
The Rarocans seem to be having a different problem altogether. With their numbers dwindling the past few weeks, they seemed in danger of being the island minority after the merge. This has been offset by their recent immunity win. Nonetheless, their party is still in disarray with no clear representative to step up as the leader should they win the majority on the island. Representative Adam Gentry (R-California) looks like a possible candidate, but things are still too murky to say for certain.
If conditions remain unchanged, it looks like Brad Virata (R-California) will likely be sent home. He’s upset his party recently by taking a strong stance on puzzles, when they clearly felt he needed to focus his campaign on such important issues as swimming and smashing plaster boxes. If things continue as they are, Brad will not be receiving a second term after the voting is over.
Nevertheless, the political landscape does appear to be changing. Exit preview polls after last week’s vote indicate a tribal shift could be occurring this week. And there’s a strong possibility that at least one candidate might actually be switching parties before the next election. I’d like to take a few moments to explore a couple scenarios.
Let us imagine that Representative Ozzy Lusth is aware of his sixth-wheel situation with the Aitucrat party. It’s quite possible then that he will choose to switch to the Rarocan party before the elections take place. However, analysts at the CBS website have forecast that one candidate will find him- or herself not fitting in with the rest of his or her party. This could very well be Ozzy, as he tries to cater to the whims of the Rarocans but finds them a bit more self-sufficient than the Aitucrats.
On the other hand, the general sense of disarray among the Rarocans could end up convincing someone like Jenny Guzon-Bae (R-Illinois) or Rebecca Borman (R-New York) to defect to the Aitucrat party. In that case, either candidate would likely find herself in a similar situation, a clear outsider whose new party wants nothing to do with them.
Ultimately, however, though I wanted to throw out the possibilities, I don’t think either of the two previous scenarios will end up occurring in the way described. If Ozzy does abandon his party, which seems the most likely scenario, I think Brad’s unpopular stance on puzzles will continue to alienate him from the Rarocans and he will be voted into Loser’s Lodge.
On the Aitucrat side, representative Jonathan Penner will likely find himself the new focus of distrust, as his ally Yul is swayed by fellow candidates Becky Lee (A-District of Columbia) and Candice Woodcock (A-North Carolina) to alter his allegiance. Ozzy remains a prime target if he stays with his party. But I’m beginning to feel that whether Ozzy switches parties or not, Jonathan may very well be the target of the next vote. The shifty-eye scandal has had a very negative effect on his image among members of his party.
So will the Aitucrat Jonathan bid farewell to his alliance, or will Brad be booted from the Rarocan ranks? Watch with me on Super Thursday as the votes come in.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
Wesley is a writer and English teacher from Wichita, KS. He’s somewhat annoyed by the disproportionate number of representatives from California this season. He can be reached with questions, comments, or snide remarks at Musnud@gmail.com.
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