Ruthless politics

The four parties running for office in ASUU met Wednesday in the midst of open primary election polls to debate.

While most of the event felt identical to the first, there were some inquiries — and unnecessary jabs — that brought unexpected outcomes in this debate.

Without a doubt, it was the FUSE Party that earned the highest marks this time. The candidates’ newfound confidence, solid platform ideas and an unwillingness to roll in the mud with other candidates is what solidified the FUSE Party’s spot at the top of this one.

Spencer Pearson and Basim Motiwala, presidential and vice-presidential candidates for FUSE, led the debate with their concerns for accountability to student groups and academic advising. The two would like to lead a student initiative to have a graduation guarantee, much like the one at Utah State, where academic advisers and the school would be held accountable for students who do not graduate in four years.

Pearson also noted that much of the party’s platform is the result of a self-conducted student survey and that, if elected, the party’s cabinet would listen to students’ opinions and follow them.

With tangible platform ideas, a dedication to representing the student voice and a focus on campaigning for itself as opposed to politicking against others, the FUSE Party appears poised to surpass the pack and win this year’s student elections.

In second place — and the timeout chair in the corner — are Activate Party’s Cameron Beech and Ryan Carrier. Although an obviously good fit for president and vice president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah, they seemed more interested in exploiting the weaknesses in the More 4 U Party’s platform than plugging their own strengths.

At one point, in response to an answer given by More 4 U — whose ideas are seen by some as unsubstantial — Beech said, “This brings to mind the old story of the realist and the optimist.”

It was comments like these that made the debate the story of the bully and the little guy. In addition, Beech’s comments stirred up a good deal of crowd sympathy for the More 4 U Party — which I am sure was not the reaction he was looking for.

Beech is clearly smart and would make an excellent president, but people won’t believe that without seeing a kinder, more humane side of him first. Hopefully, for the sake of his party, Beech will bring his intelligent platform ideas, as well as an affable handshake for each of his opponents, to the next debate.

Finally, in what I like to diplomatically label a tie for third place, we have the Forward and More 4 U parties. The two parties have earned the third place spot for very different reasons, though.

It was good to see the More 4 U candidates finally defend their platform after being the butt of too many jokes.

“We’re getting labeled as the party making absurd promises,” said More 4 U vice presidential candidate Craig Hammond.

More 4 U Party members spent the majority of the debate explaining their ideas — which they said they have researched extensively — and assuring the audience that those ideas can be implemented.

This unexpected show of backbone and seriousness moved More 4 U up a well-deserved notch.

Forward, on the other hand, stagnated in the third spot due to a lack of innovation. It was like watching the first debate again, only in a new setting.

Forward does have some great ideas for streamlining the executive cabinet in ASUU, but rather than focusing on their original ideas, the candidates got caught up in giving answers that were stale.

What’s sad is, Activate has the ideas and the experience, but it just hasn’t been able to express those to an audience that wants some imagination in its candidates.

The candidates will have one last chance to give students a reason to vote for them at the 11 a.m. debate tomorrow in the LDS Institute.