Prohibitionist for President?

05.17.12

5 Alternatives to Obama and Romney in the Presidential Race

The third-party group Americans Elect may have missed the deadline to select a presidential candidate, but there are still other candidates besides Obama and Romney, from Roseanne Barr to a prohibitionist to a Stalinist, writes Ben Jacobs.

The well-funded if ideologically amorphous third-party group Americans Elect failed to meets its deadline to select a presidential candidate. This means that the much-touted group, which has gained ballot access in over half the country, will not put forward a candidate. However, those voters dissatisfied with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will not lack an alternative. Here are five of the most prominent (and quirkiest) presidential options available for those who don’t want to get behind one of the two major parties in November:

Gary Johnson

The former Republican governor of New Mexico is running as the standard bearer of the Libertarian Party this year after a short-lived and little-noticed campaign for the GOP nomination. Johnson is running as an orthodox libertarian, seeking to slash federal spending while legalizing marijuana and gay marriage. This combination is already appealing to many voters, and Johnson is polling above 5 percent in several states. This may not last but as a former governor running as the candidate with ballot access nationwide, he will likely do the best of all the third-party candidates running in November.

Virgil Goode

Virgil Goode was a Democratic congressman, an Independent congressman, and a Republican congressman from southern Virginia. Then in 2008 he was defeated. Now Goode is back as the presidential candidate of the Constitution Party, a minor right-wing party. He is running as the candidate of conservative populist anger who wants to put a moratorium on legal immigration, impose term limits, and pull the U.S. out of NAFTA. Although Goode has some credibility as a former congressman and natural appeal to the type of Republican voter most likely to be alienated by Romney, it is unlikely his campaign will have the resources to make much of an  impact.

Roseanne Barr

Actress, comedian, and once-in-a-while Newsweek/The Daily Beast contributor Roseanne Barr is running in the Green Party’s presidential primary. Despite her fame, she is not considered a favorite for the party’s nomination. In fact, Barr is expected to lose the party’s nomination to Jill Stein, a doctor who has lost two gubernatorial campaigns in Massachusetts. Apparently, the Green Party is not yet ready to accept a “neosocialist president [who] will bring ‘Roseannearchy’ (resource-based feminist economics) to the U.S.” This despite the fact that aside from her experience as a sitcom actress, she is also, as she puts it, “uniquely qualified to sit in judgement [sic] of all three patriarchal religions, and to demand/direct their intelligence to move toward synthesis, peace, and justice for all.”

Jack Fellure

In contrast to the celebrity campaign of Roseanne Barr, Jack Fellure is running a far more old-fashioned campaign for a far more old-fashioned party, the Prohibition Party. Fellure has been the nominee of the Prohibition Party for almost a year, since they held their convention at a Holiday Inn in Cullman, Ala., in June 2011. Needless to say, the party’s platform includes support for a ban on “the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages” as well as strong support for states' rights and social-conservative values. However, as Florida Prohibition Party Chairman Bill Bledsoe made clear to a local newspaper, it’s still in favor of allowing people to drink:

“There's nothing in the Volstead Act that says a person cannot drink,” he said. “But most people say, ‘Oh, you're trying to take my booze away from me.’ Well, that’s just a lie from the pit of hell. What the national prohibition law did say is that no one can manufacture, sell, trade, or do commercial business with alcohol; you can make all you want at home, as long as you stay home and drink it.”

Fellure though takes a far stricter line on the consumption of alcohol, believing it is explicitly forbidden in the Bible. He also forsakes the party’s platform for his own, which consists entirely of the 1611 King James Bible.

Peta Lindsay

Peta Lindsay, the nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, a fringe Stalinist group, is the only candidate listed who absolutely will not become president. It’s not that she has no chance of winning (although she doesn’t), it's that she’s only 27 years old, which leaves her constitutionally ineligible for an office that requires its holders to be at least 35 years old. This seems to be a plus for her party, a small and rather confrontational group that refers to the Tiananmen Square massacre as “the 1989 counterrevolutionary attempt in Beijing.” However, Lindsay may not be on the ballot in all states. Since she is constitutionally ineligible, the Party for Socialism and Liberation may be forced to find a placeholder candidate in those states where candidates for office are statutorily required to meet the constitutional provisions for holding the office they are seeking.  But in those states with less persnickety election laws, pro–North Korean voters will still get the opportunity to cast their ballot for Lindsay in November.