Monday, January 9, 2012

The Top Ten Fringe Candidates in the New Hampshire Primaries

As a long-time observer of politics and a long-time critic of the two-party system, I've developed a strong affinity for fringe and third-party candidates. We'll have to wait a few months before the third parties start to emerge, but Tuesday's New Hampshire primaries are jam-packed with fringe candidates for the major party nominations—there are 30 Republicans and 14 Democrats on the ballot—and I looked into all of them.[1]

I'm excluding the major and semi-major candidates we're all already familiar with—though most wouldn't have made the list anyway. The rest were ranked according to a formula that combines the following two factors:[2]
  1. How interesting it would be—and not necessarily in a good way—if the candidate became just prominent enough to get some media attention and participate in the debates (but not popular enough to actually win—that part is important).
  2. Intangibles.
Before I get to the top ten, honorable mention goes to Democratic contender Vermin Supreme, whose top issues include dental hygiene and traveling back in time to kill Hitler. I declared Supreme ineligible for two reasons: First, he's clearly just trying to be funny, and I'm all in favor of that, but it does distinguish him from the rest of the field (though I have my suspicions about a few). And second, his website starts playing music automatically, which is inexcusable.

Alright, here we go:

10. Timothy Brewer (Republican)
According to the Dayton Daily News, during a recent forum for minor candidates Brewer "vowed that speaking with Jesus through 'afterlife orbs' would solve the world’s problems," which is honestly not the worst idea I've heard in the last few months. The paper also reports that "[a]ttempts to reach Brewer about his candidacy failed." Really? Was he busy?

9. Bob Ely (Democrat)
Ely's website has a list of 24 reasons not to vote for him (for example, "I'll Dream Up Lots of Other Taxes"), but even better is his blog, which contains a single post that says, simply, "Nothing deemed blog-worthy". I'm not sure, but that might be brilliant.

8. Aldous C. Tyler (Democrat)
Heartbreaking news from the Tyler campaign:
I am truly saddened to be forced to announce that my bid for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States must come to a close. Due to a lack of logistical and financial support, I can no longer responsibly ask people to send their hard-earned money or spend their precious time on a campaign that simply has no ability to continue forward.
Yes, now it would be irresponsible for Aldous Tyler to ask people to contribute their time and money to his presidential campaign.

7. Mark Callahan (Republican)
You know how the most vocal opponents of gay rights often turn out to be gay themselves? I kind of doubt a similar phenomenon exists among Birthers, but Mark Callahan decided to take preemptive action anyway:
There has been a lot of news and national discussion about President Obama's eligibility to be President of the United States, based upon where he was born. I can say with absolutely certainty that Americans will not have to worry about this aspect of my eligibility to be President of the United States during my campaign, nor if I get elected President of the United States in 2012. In the interests of full disclosure and accountability, I will state that I am currently 34 years old. I turn 35 on May 11th, 2012, well before the inauguration of the President in January 2013, thus still making me eligible to be President of the United States, according to the U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 1. I have consulted with the Federal Elections Commission, and they have confirmed that I am eligible, as long as I turn 35 by the time inauguration day comes.
There was a lot of eye-rolling at the FEC that day, I'd imagine.

6. L. John Davis, Jr. (Republican)
Davis appears to come from the "this problem will be easy to solve once we figure out how to solve the problem" school of problem-solving, and his website is a masterful exercise in using a lot of words to say nothing. Here's a highlight:
What makes a United States president? Does a mold make a president? If we had a mold, we could mold a president. But which mold would we choose? Would we all agree on the same mold? . . . What color should he be? I know the answer to this one. It’s the great American color: red, white and blue.

5. Randy Crow (Republican)
Alas, is currently unavailable, but I was able to find some information at Project Vote Smart. There's some fairly dull biographical stuff, and a questionnaire with dull revelations like favorite author (Hemingway), favorite color (blue), and favorite musician ("none jumps out"), and some dull political views, and then just as I gave up hope of finding anything interesting, there it is:
Flight 93 was inteded to crash into WTC-7 cover up the fact that WTC-7 had bombs placed in it, as did the other two buildings, to bring them down.
Well, alright then. Keep that in mind, potential Randy Crow voters.

4. Hugh Cort (Republican)
Cort's website has "2008" in its URL and Google tells me it may harm my computer, so I'll let that one remain a mystery, but I'm guessing it has a lot to say about Iran and bin Laden and nuclear terrorism, because that's pretty much all he talks about. He runs an organization called The American Foundation for Counter-Terrorism Policy and Research, and he wrote a book called The American Hiroshima: Osama's Plan for a Nuclear Attack, And One Man's Attempt to Warn America. The entirety of his platform, as far as I can tell, is that we need to destroy Iran before Iran destroys us. So he's like Newt Gingrich, but with a more sensible approach to judicial review.

3. Randall Terry (Democrat)
Most candidates convey their views by simply talking or writing about them, but Terry won't be reduced to such a simplistic method. Here's the introduction to his 11-page platform:
Randall Terry addresses 30 issues facing our nation. Mr. Terry has assigned a number value for each question/issue; sometimes he assigns two differing values, depending on the interpretation of the question at hand. In addition, for each position, he provides an explanation.
What follows is a strange hodgepodge of views that could easily have been chosen at random. He's in favor of amnesty, opposed to gay marriage, in favor of US involvement in the UN, opposed to environmental regulations, in favor of marijuana legalization, opposed to gun control, opposed to both the Patriot Act and civil rights for suspected terrorists…and on and on. I couldn't make sense of it. And at several points he expresses uncertainty over the meaning of a question, which is just…mind-boggling, because it's his own platform. And here's where I stopped trying to figure it out altogether:
I think everyone who loves freedom should drive a great big, safe, SUV…and everyone who wants us to be slaves to the socialist state should drive an ittybitty Hyundai.

2. Joe Story (Republican)
He calls himself "The Average Joe", and his website is, so you pretty much know what you're getting here. Probably just a bunch of conservative talking points—fiscal responsibility, family values, etc.—watered down so as to make the basic ideas virtually impossible to disagree with, and some vague platitudes about the American way of life, right? Well somebody needs to tell Joe Story what "average" means, because holy crap:
"WE THE PEOPLE" must decide what our founding fathers meant by "Freedom of Religion". Could they have meant secular humanism "freedom from Religion" where anything goes or Islam the strictest cult known to man? The USA continues to remove the Judeo-Christian biblical laws that define the nations existence from the court houses and embrace Sharia law. How much longer before we look like London in flames or one of the Stone Age countries of Islam?
Yeah, so that's who this guy is—a hyper-Christian, anti-Islamic fanatic—and once that much is established there aren't really any more surprises, but I still enjoyed the misdirection.

1. Andy Martin (Republican)
Martin has a website, but I didn't link to it because there isn't much there, and also because he's a terrible, terrible person. Here are some excerpts from his Wikipedia page:
  • His 1996 run for the Florida State Senate came unraveled when it was revealed that he had named his campaign committee for his 1986 congressional run "The Anthony R. Martin-Trigona Congressional Campaign to Exterminate Jew Power in America."
  • Martin has filed numerous lawsuits, and has been labeled as a vexatious litigant by several jurisdictions. . . . In a 1983 bankruptcy case, he filed a motion calling the presiding judge "a crooked, slimy Jew who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race." . . . When later pressed in an interview about his remarks, Martin claimed that the anti-Semitic comments were inserted into his court papers by malicious judges.
  • On October 5, 2008, Martin was featured as a "journalist" on Hannity's America of the Fox News Channel. According to The New York Times, "The program allowed Mr. Martin to assert falsely and without challenge that Mr. Obama had once trained to overthrow the government."
  • Martin issued a press release shortly after Obama's keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that he had evidence Obama "lied to the American people" and "misrepresent[ed] his own heritage." Martin claimed that Obama was really a Muslim, was possibly hiding this fact "to endanger Israel,"
  • On October 17, 2008, Martin filed a lawsuit in a state circuit court of Hawaii against Governor Linda Lingle and health department director Dr. Chiyome Fukino seeking to verify the state's official birth certificate of Barack Obama.
Basically, Andy Martin is the infamous Ron Paul newsletters, in (more or less) human form.

1. In case it doesn't go without saying, no, I didn't try all that hard to get a thorough sense of who these people are, because that would be as pointless as it is impossible. We're talking about nearly three dozen candidates, virtually none of whom have received any significant media attention. So if Timothy Brewer turns out to be eminently reasonable other than the "afterlife orbs" thing, good for him, but he doesn't have a website, so the afterlife orbs are all I have to go on.
2. The specifics of the formula will be kept secret, so as to preserve the illusion that it exists.


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