April 21, 2006

Election guide: Big American Party

Straddling the line between charade and satire, the members of the Big American Party have launched a campaign that hopes to highlight the frustration and resentment many students have toward SG by garnering votes for an executive slate that has promised both to “return the University to the gold standard” and “bridge the divide between America’s two most sizeable contingents—pirates and ninjas.”

Unlike the Moose Party, however, the Big American Party is serious about reforming SG, even if its campaign methods are less than conventional.

“Though we are running as a satirical party, make no mistake: We want your vote,” said presidential candidate Zach Binney, a second-year in the College. “Really. If you’re angry with the way SG has been run this year, send SG a message and vote for us.”

Shady Dealer editor in chief Binney and his co-candidates, second-years in the College Pat Lange and Sarah Pickman, have tried to balance this message of grassroots reform with their natural inclination toward farce. Although they continue to make such campaign promises as a giant pig roast held on a yacht in the Quads, their platform does advocate some actual reforms.

For instance, the candidates are calling for more transparency on funding request votes by the Executive Slate.

Currently, Slate members are not required to disclose how they voted or what the rationale behind contentious funding decisions is; Binney said he instead favored “each slate member’s votes [becoming] a matter of public record.”

Furthermore, the Big American Party advocates additional student involvement in the funding process by allowing petitions in support of an RSO or an event to be submitted for consideration by the Finance Committee, which makes initial SG funding recommendations.

Ultimately, the fate of the Big American Party might just rest on whether voters perceive them as legitimate critics of the current SG administration or a joke that falls flat.