Think Big Vote Small

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“Think Big, Vote Small” is a popular campaign slogan adopted by numerous political candidates in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Most famously, the political slogan was used by Australian businessman Sir Bruce Small when he ran for the mayor of the Gold Coast in 1967. Small rose to financial success in 1920 when he bought the Malvern Star bicycle company with his two brothers Frank and Ralph. The three men churned out about five bicycles per week and even began to manufacture their own parts when World War II created a parts shortage. Cycling champion Sydney Patterson rode a Malvern Star when he won the 1949 World Championship Spirit in Copenhagen, and Australians Ian Browne and Tony Marchant won the gold medal in the Tandem at the 1956 Olympics on a Malvern Star. Sir Bruce Small himself was met with fame when he became the first person to travel from one side of Australia to the other on a bicycle.

Other politicians later picked up this slogan and incorporated it into their campaigns. Kimberly Small and Jim Small ran on the same clever slogan for Oakland County, Michigan’s district judge in 2014 and Nevada’s Assembly District 2 representative in 2020, respectively. In 2004, former state Senator Arthur Small of Iowa also campaigned on the slogan. He was challenging incumbent Senator and Chairman of the Finance Committee Chuck Grassley, who has been on Capitol Hill for more than three decades. After his loss, Small famously auctioned off his “Think Big, Vote Small” campaign RV packed with office equipment, yard signs, and buttons that were left over from Election Day. Students belonging to the University of Delaware’s Student Opportunity Party also ran for club positions using the “Think Big, Vote Small” slogan in May 1981.


Adams, K. (1992).  Playing the cards that are dealt: Mead Dixon, the law, and casino gambling. University of Nevada Press.

Longhurst, R. I. (2002). Sir Andrew Bruce Small (1895-1980). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University.

Lynch, J. (2004, November 2). Electing to sell: Senate candidate puts campaign items up for auction on eBay. Cedar Rapids Gazette.…

Semeraz, M. (2014, October 16). 2 candidates compete for 48th District Court judgeship in Bloomfield Township. The Oakland Press.…

University of Delaware. (1981, May 5). Classifieds. The Review.…

Catalog ID IB0315