Thursday, November 11, 2004

From Last to Third...A Look at The Also-rans

A Buddy of mine, Todd Yeager, recently took the time to do an interesting look into the also-rans of the presidential election. I found the information very interesting and wanted to share it here:

Here is something I wrote up. I've always been interested in third party, and minor party politics. There are usually interesting stories behind those folks that decide to make an impossible run at the White House. 2004 was no exception...

2004 Final Election Results
George W. Bush -------------59,742,448 ---50.956%
John F. Kerry ---------------56,285,595 ---48.001%
Ralph Nader -------------------503,283 -----0.429%
Michael Badnarik ---------------399,981 -----0.341%
Michael Peroutka ---------------148,904 -----0.127%
David Cobb ---------------------107,076 -----0.091%
Leonard Peltier ------------------21,616 ------0.018%
Walter Brown --------------------10,280 -----0.009%
James Harris ----------------------6,933
Roger Calero ----------------------4,705
None of These Candidates ---------3,646
Thomas Harens -------------------2,395
Bill Van Auken ---------------------2,191
Gene Amondson -------------------1,928
John Parker ------------------------1,452
Charles Jay --------------------------880
Andy Andress ------------------------763
Earl Dodge ---------------------------137
Write-in votes --------------------------?

(Many states disregard write in votes, many others simply count them as "write in" votes -but don't designate to whom-... thus my list only includes candidates that actually appeared on at least one state ballot. 100,000+ write-in votes were likely cast... many for "none of above" or fictional charters or the dead... though certainly many thousands of votes were made for eligible office holders that did not appear on any ballot. John Joseph Kennedy is a good example of a write-in candidate. He actually campaigned in several states, did lots of radio and cable TV interviews... and appears to have scored a few hundred votes for his effort. But, I have no idea how many votes he actually did receive... as again, many states don't bother to track these results... so, I've not included Kennedy or the other write-in candidates.)

Who are they? From last place, to third place....

Earl Dodge - Has run for President six times (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004) and Vice President two times (1976, 1980)... all for the Prohibition Party. In 2000, he was only on one state ballot (Colorado), and received just 208 votes total, his party's worse showing to that time (Dodge received a high of 8004 votes in 1988). This pathetic showing led to a rift in the tiny party. Don Webb, the National Chairman, led an anti-Dodge faction intent on making Gene Amondson the party nominee. Webb claimed that Dodge acted illegally when he held the Prohibition Party National Convention... in the Dodge livingroom. Dodge claimed he was the legitimate nominee.The dispute was never resolved, mainly because the pro-Dodge and anti-Dodge sides lacked the financial resources to take the issue to court. Eventually Gene Amondson ran as the Concerns of People Party nominee.The Prohibition Party dates to 1872, making it the oldest third party in the nation. The party peeked in 1892, when it received 271,058 votes (2.3%). The Prohibition Party, obviously, supports the prohibition of alcohol. It also supports making tobacco illegal. It largely holds to extremely conservative, Christian-right, views.

Stanford (Andy) Andress - Andress appeared on the ballot in only one state... Colorado, where he received all of his 763 votes. His wife ran as VP on the unaffiliated ticket (which is not legal). Andress took advantage of very liberal third party ballot requirements in Colorado. He put forth no noticable campaign... his main goal in running may have been to promote his self published book, 'The Civil War: The Sound of Thunder.' Finding a picture of Andress proved to be quite difficult.

Charles Jay - Ran as the nominee for the Personal Choice Party, after withdrawing from the VP slot on the Libertarian ticket. Jay is a boxing writer and manager. His VP was former -and now current- porn star, Marylyn Chambers. The Personal Choice Party has many Libertarian ideas, and is especially interested in legalizing gambling. Jay also made boxing deregulation an important part of his campaign (something Bush and Kerry avoided even discussing). Jay was the Personal Choice Party's first ever nominee... and he appeared on only one state ballot (not surprisingly... Colorado).

John Parker - Parker was the nominee of two party's... Workers World Party, and the much smaller, Liberty Union Party of Vermont. This former school teacher is a militant communist. Parker's VP, Teresa Gutierrez, is a lesbian that likes to call business owners, "capitalist pigs." It's believed she is on CIA watch lists because of her numerous trips to Cuba.The Workers World Party has been active since the early 1950s, when it was an issue orientated group that mainly supported Soviet actions around the world. The Party fielded its first Presidential candidate in 1980. In the 1996 election, the WWP was on 12 state ballots and received 29,100 votes.The WWP is staunchly Stalinist, and it calls for "direct action" over elections. It has many-many front groups... such as International ANSWER and Alliance for Global Justice (antiwar groups)... and it uses Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark as a spokesman for many of these groups.John Parker "campaigned" in several states... those these stops mainly consisted of heckling Kerry or Bush during their speeches. Parker appeared on two state ballots (Colorado and Vermont) and received 1,452 votes (this includes several write-in votes).

Gene Amondson - The "anti-Dodge" candidate of the Prohibition Party... Amondson technically ran as the Concerns of People Party nominee. He appeared on two state ballots (Colorado and Louisiana). Despite his clear victory over Earl Dodge... control over the Prohibition Party remains undecided.Leroy Pletten was Amondson's running mate. Pletten notes that he was "elected *twice* to the board of directors of his condominium owner's association."

Bill Van Auken - The nominee of the the Socialist Equality Party. The SEP was founded as the Workers League in 1966, changing its name in 1994. The SEP is a communist, anti-Stalinist group. The SEP failed to field a Presidential candidate (or any candidate) in 2000... and it appeared the party might die. However, the 2003 California recall election allowed the SEP to field a gubernatorial candidate... and after receiving 6,700 votes (good for 14th out of 135)... the party decided to enter the 2004 Presidential race (and as many other national races as it could).Van Auken appeared on five state ballots (CO, IA, MN, NJ WA)... and the SEP fielded five candidates for the US Congress.Van Auken is a writer, specializing in left-wing political theory. His VP is a retired auto worker.

Thomas Harens - Harens is a former state legislator from Minnesota. This liberal Democrat is the founder of the Christian Freedom Party... which interestingly enough, has no members (not even Harens himself). Harens appeared on only one state ballot... Minnesota. Though he denied it, it is pretty clear that Harens only goal in running for President, was... to draw conservative Christian votes away from George Bush in an attempt to help John Kerry win the state. It turned out Kerry didn't need the help... though Harens still gets his 12th place finish in the 2004 Presidential race.

None of These Candidates - Nevada has a law that requires a "none of these candidates" option to appear on the ballot. The vote really has no value, as the 'real' candidate with the most votes, wins... even if the "none of these candidates" option were to have the most votes. But, it is on the ballot... and 3,646 people in Nevada voted for it... good enough for 11th place in the 2004 election.It's likely such an option... had it appeared on all ballots... would have been the leading 3rd party finisher in 2004.

Roger Calero - Calero is not eligible to be US President. He was not born in the USA, and in fact... is not even a citizen (he is here with a Green Card). His VP is also not eligible... as she is only 24 years old. This was a publicity stunt of the Socialist Workers Party, one they commonly use.The SWP is a hard-line Marxist party, that is very-much pro Fidel Castro. In a confusing twist... the SWP fields two Presidential candidates. It's 'main' candidate is Roger Calero... who appears on 5 state ballots. However, in states where a candidate must actually be Constitutionally eligible... the SWP used James Harris. He appeared on 9 state ballots. Together, the two combined to get 9,328 votes.

James Harris - Harris was the 'backup' Constitutionally eligible candidate of the Socialist Workers Party. He was the 'main' candidate of the party in 1996. Harris is a textile worker with a long history with the SWP. He took a leave from his job to campaign... which mainly entailed walking picket lines with striking workers. Harris' VP, Margaret Trowe, works in a pig slaughtering plant.

Walter Brown - Brown was the nominee of three party's... Socialist Party USA, and the much smaller Natural Law Party of Michigan and the United Citizens Party. Brown is a former attorney, professor, mailman, laborer, WWII vet, city councilman... and he was a state senator in Oregon for 13 years (as a liberal Democrat).The SP-USA is actually staunchly anti-Communist. The group was founded in 1900, and was once an extremely powerful third party (it took 12% of the vote in 1912)... holding many elected offices in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s (many congressmen, mayors and state officials). The party is not militant... and is more liberal democrat then it is socialist.Brown appeared on 8 state ballots. The party was split when it was learned Brown was personally pro-life... which cost him the California ballot.

Leonard Peltier - Peltier was a beneficiary of Walter Brown's pro-life 'problem'... as he received the support of disenchanted Socialist Party USA voters in California. This support, along with support from the Peace and Freedom Party, allowed Peltier to qualify for California's ballot. This was the only state ballot Peltier appeared on... and the only state he received votes in.Peltier, a Native American with a 6th grade education, was unable to vote for himself... as he is currently serving back-to-back life sentences in Leavenworth Federal Pen for murdering two FBI agents in 1975 (they were killed, execution style). Several movies and documentaries have been made covering this incident. But on the plus side, at least as the Socialist Party USA sees it... Peltier is pro-choice... both personally ~and~ politically.Peltier originally had designated his attorney, Barry Bachrach, as his VP. But, party officials balked and instead nominated Janice Jordan. Jordan is an advocate of slave reparations... and she supports releasing scores of so-called 'political' prisoners (including Peltier).

David Cobb - Cobb was the Green Party nominee. Not only did he have to defeat 3 contenders out for the slot in a series of state primaries and caucuses... but he also had to convince members at the National Convention to even have a nominee. Many Green Party members advocated no nominee at all, as they feared hurting John Kerry. But by promising to not campaign in battleground states... Cobb was able to win the nomination.Cobb appeared on 27 state ballots, enough to have won the Presidency had he carried each of those states (the first 3rd party candidate on this list that had that chance). Over 30% of his votes came from California... and, he did in fact pull several votes from so-called battleground states. Though, no where near enough to impact the race.The Green Party won several city races in election 2004, as well as a few state wide races. Cobb received over 100,000 votes (0.1%)... good enough for 6th place.

Michael Peroutka - Peroutka was the nominee of the Constitutional Party... as well as the much smaller, Alaskan Independence Party, Independent American Party, and the American Independent Party of California. The CP is a far right conservative party that believes the Constitution is founded on the Bible. The party is pro-gun, anti-war... and it focused on the gay marriage issue in 2004.The CP, behind Peroutka, tried to pursued a 'big name' to run for President... but likely because conservatives didn't want to hurt Bush's chances... were unsuccessful in the attempt.Chuck Baldwin, a well known radio talk show host in conservative Christian circles, was the VP nominee.Peroutka appeared on 36 state ballots. He did well, for a minor canidate, in several smaller 'right leaning' states (Alaska, Utah, Idaho, etc). And he also did extremely well in Ohio... picking up 11,614 votes.

Michael Badnarik - Badnarik won a hard fought victory to win the Libertarian nomination. He's a hard-core party loyalist. Badnarik has refused to pay Federal taxes for many years, he refuses to get a drivers license... he even refuses to use zip codes. He is extremely anti-war, and extremely pro-guns.Badnarik got on every ballot... except for New Hampshire and Oklahoma. He raised a great deal of money, far more then any other 3rd party candidate. He was able to run national TV ads, and was a major candidate in every way... but one. Votes. Badnarik was not able to accomplish his main goal... beat out Nader for 3rd place in 2004. On the plus side though, he did beat out the 14 contenders that finished behind him... combined.His VP was Richard Campagna... or Dr. Richard Campagna. Though he got that Ph.D. from 'American College of Metaphysical Theology'... for $249 (anyone can get one for that price). To be fair though, Campagna is an intelligent man. He's fluent in six languages, and does hold six 'real' degrees (including degrees from Brown, Columbia and St. Johns).

Ralph Nader - As the Green Party nominee in 2000, Nader was on 44 state ballots and finished with close to 2.9 million votes. In 2004, he ran largely as an Independent (appearing as a Reform Party candidate in some places)... and appeared on 35 ballots. Still, he was the top 3rd party finisher with his 507,934 votes. Peter Camejo was Nader's VP. It was not Camejo's first time on a national ticket. In 1976, he was the Socialist Workers Party nominee... receiving over 90,000 votes on 30 state ballots. Camejo joined the Green Party in the mid-90s. He ran for governor of California in 2002, and came in third place with over 382,000 votes (5%). He did well enough in 2002... and again in the 2003 recall... that he was part of the debates. Nader picked Camejo... a 'big' name in Green Party circles... in hopes of gaining the Green Party nomination (which would have put him on the ballot in close to all 50 states). The effort failed, mainly because the Green Party was more interested in a Kerry victory, then they were in getting votes for their own party