This Spring, the Berkeley Public Policy Journal will profile the (many) candidates vying to become the next President of the United States. Starting Tuesday, March 5, 2019 – a calendar year before Super Tuesday – BPPJ will feature weekly posts written by Goldman students who are taking a look at who’s running and why.
By Spencer Bowen
Third party presidential candidate Ben Menzies – say his name loudly, and there’s music playing. Say it soft, and it’s almost like praying.
Menzies grew up somewhere in extreme Northeast California, long a hotbed for political talent. After studying religion at a school named after the literal embodiment of Manifest Destiny (yikes), Ben befriended former Governor Jerry Brown at a truffle-making convention and was ushered into Brown’s administration on the related merits of his coffee-infused confectionaries and ability to relate to constituents. Although Menzies is potentially no more than a series of incredibly thoughtful questions disguised as a living, breathing graduate student, he knows a lot about cap and trade and has a Berkeley-embossed coffee tumbler, so we elected him Editor in Chief of the Berkeley Public Policy Journal.
Menzies’ oddly appealing campaign is built on three prongs:
- Make Speech and Debate a Varsity sport at the intercollegiate level. A noted debater and somewhat snooty individual, Menzies thinks that the cure for America’s fractured political discourse is an infusion of debate culture. He argues that an increase in the amount of calculated and barbed verbal attacks will “toughen up” American youth so they can “duke it out, but in a good way” once they enter the working world.
- Write out “healthcare” as one word, for goodness sake. While he understands there are arguments on both sides of this issue, this candidate believes that spelling it “healthcare” just looks better.
- Declare a national emergency compelling American musicals to include more than one ‘end of the first act song.’ At a recent fundraiser in North Berkeley, Menzies commented: “The end of the first act song is always the best song. But why is there only one per show?” He continued, “composers should incorporate more than one ‘end of act song’ into their shows, thereby making Broadway shows better and enhancing quality of life for older white theater patrons.” The fundraiser ended at that point because the North Berkeley residents cheered and entered a rabies-like frenzy, energized by his cogent theory of change. Menzies cited such bangers as “Man Up” from The Book of Mormon, “One Day More” from Les Miserables, and “Picture This” from Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.
Despite officially announcing his campaign today, April 1, 2019, a name recognition of almost literally 0%, and a proclivity to yell at passing cars, Menzies is already polling as a frontrunner. He’s pledged to reject small dollar donors, saying instead that his movement will be fueled by “that sweet oil money” and “my own immense wealth.”
Menzies is also a Goldman School Class of 2020 Union Steward.
Spencer Bowen is a PhD candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Official Carpenter of the Berkeley Public Policy Journal. This article is an opinion piece, and the opinions expressed represent the absolute and actual truth. The views expressed in this article probably should but certainly do not represent those of the Berkeley Public Policy Journal, the Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, and the entire University of California system.