RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Tuesday, February 10

S14: 91 Wks Until Indecision 2016 - Top 14 Third Party Popular Vote-getters Who Are Still Alive

Part of me deciding to *attempt* to *create* this *content* each week in anticipation of another painful and pretentious American Presidential election is to evaluate my own nonsense with relation to political preferences. (Life should be about evaluating your own nonsense, all the time, because none of us have gotten this shit untangled completely. Few even get close. One is lucky to even make progress to be honest.) And my basic political preferences can easily be broken down into two points: A) I always vote third party if available on the ballot; B) if not available, I vote for whoever is not incumbent. Always, no takebacks. I feel like we could use more choices in this shit, and if I throw my piddly pretend-make-a-difference vote at some third party schmuck, then maybe it gains momentum. I also feel like if we’re going to have to keep dealing with the same two parties, I’d rather neither of them become entrenched, at any position, so always switch them, keep them unsettled, fuck them.
So for this week’s dumb list I decided to do some maths and see what living human beings had gotten the most love in Presidential elections from outside the two mainstream parties. Tallying straight votes made the spreadsheet explode a little much, so I limited it to percentage of the popular vote (none of these people got any electoral votes), and let them accumulate it, so I could see what living, breathing, still existing upon earth human beings were the most (but not real) viable alternatives. In my mind, I hoped this would be no-nonsense black ladies and gay natives and crazed anarchist poet-philosophers and that type of stuff. Sadly, the results sort of reaffirmed the two main parties had echoed so strongly through the popular vote that even with our alternative choices, it’s not really all that alternative. But here are the top 14 living people who accumulated the most popular vote percentages in Presidential elections of the American variety.

#1: Ross Perot (Reform Party; 18.91% of vote in 1992, 8.4% in 1996) – Your all-time top alternative choice is a billionaire white guy. I remember my dad still being alive and being pretty stoked to vote for Perot even though he thought Perot sucked, just because it was somebody different than a D or an R. A lot of my distrust of wealthy people is inherited from my father’s ramblings, and while nothing in my life’s experiences has contraindicated these paranoias, I do actively work to not let it paralyze me like it did my dad. Perot is still alive, still a billionaire, but has mostly not used that money to push the Reform Party as a legitimate third choice, probably because you don’t become a billionaire by wasting money on bad investments. The Koch brothers have shown it’s far easier to purchase established brands and make internal changes than it is to create an entirely new political brand. People are wary of change (unless “change” is the new slogan of a traditional brand).
#2: John Anderson (independent candidate; 6.61% of vote in 1980) – Anderson had been a long-time Republican congressman from Illinois when he ran for their nomination in the 1980 election, which of course the partial memory of history tells us Reagan won, and cowboyed his way into the hearts of all Republicans everywhere as one of the greatest heroes the world ever saw, culminating in him spin-kicking the Berlin Wall onto Mikael Gorbachev. But John Anderson established himself during that 1980 nomination process as a firebrand alternative to traditional Republicanism, so much so that he was encouraged by supporters to run for President as an independent, since many folks were pretty blah-bored with Jimmy Carter and Reagan. He crossed a significant obstacle by actually getting himself included in a Presidential debate, which Jimmy Carter then refused to take part in because it was too demeaning to be on-stage with an illegitimate third-party contender, and ultimately Reagan became Reagan. Still though, with all the Reagan worship, it’s interesting to see that there was obvious lack of inspiration in him in the beginning of his run as Presidential Persona, which led to one of the largest single-election third-party vote tallies in the past fifty years.

#3: Ralph Nader (Green Party mostly; 0.56% of the popular vote in 2008, 0.38% in 2004, 2.74% in 2000, and 0.71% in 1996) – Nader made a fairly consistent stab at third-party presence, but that didn’t really amount to anything bordering on credible until the ho-hum 2000 election, where voters were like, “Fuck, Al Gore or George Bush, huh?” Nader gained enough of a contrarian-to-the-two-parties following that the Democratic machine had to dust off and bust out the “don’t waste your vote” guilt trip media barrage on potential Nader voters. That 2000 election though saw the controversy of an extremely close vote in swing-state Florida, where Bush won by 537 votes. Nader was blamed for swinging the vote in favor of a dimwitted brushfire attendant, so that we didn’t get the mundane lizardbot many “smart” people felt we should have deserved. I’ve never personally understood the “throwing your vote away by voting for somebody who won’t win” thinking because essentially you could use that exact same logic to not have more than one choice, since somebody’s going to lose. I voted for Nader in that election, and being I’ve heard some super-sketchy “off-the-record” things through the streets about Al Gore, I never would’ve voted for that dude, ever, in a zillion years. I think it’s hard to just straight apply, “Anyone who voted for this person would’ve actually voted for this D or R candidate instead if not given the choice” because a lot of people teeter at the edge of completely jaded but some fucked-up third party shithead gives them a momentary lapse of nihilism where they briefly believe in the meritocracy myth and that we can take incremental steps towards progress, which the two main parties never do. (Well, Obama sort of specialized in exploiting that psychology in 2008, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue.) By the time Nader ran in 2004, he seemed motivated more by ego than principle, and geopolitics instilled a strong fear in most voters that they better tow the two-party line or risk DEATH TO OUR ACCUSTOMED WAY OF LIFE. Pretty much DEATH TO OUR ACCUSTOMED WAY OF LIFE: R vs. D is the only game in town now.

#4: Ed Clark (Libertarian Party; 1.06% of the popular vote in 1980) – Libertarians have generally been the hottest third-party candidates, and the fact two third-party candidates were able to get over 1% of the popular vote in 1980 is further testament to Ronald Reagan not being the inspirational figure in foresight that he became in faded hindsight. Clark had gotten over 5% of the vote in the 1978 California governor race, as a free market sort-of-Republican type, which is what a lot of the Libertarian Party has been exposed as in the past decade – big business types not happy with how much they can get away with. The notion of Libertarianism meaning individual liberties and less government intrusion on civil life has always played a backseat to less government intrusion on business taxes and oversight of sketchy shit. In fact, you know who Ed Clark’s running mate was in 1980? David Koch – one-half of the notorious Koch brothers.

#5: Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party; 0.99% of the popular vote in 2012) – Johnson was Republican governor of New Mexico who felt Republicanism wasn’t quite the right fit, so did the “business-minded white dude Libertarian” switch as well. Most notable part of this is the fifth-largest popular vote percentage-getter still currently alive did not even get a full percent. This shows how deeply entrenched the two-party system is, to where what is basically a clone of the Republican candidate, just with a little more charcoal to his charcoal grey suit, can’t even siphon off a random percent of the vote. Part of that is because Obama vs. Romney was very much positioned as another MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANS BEING CLOTHED & HOLDING ELECTIONS showdown where any vote outside of those two would literally jeopardize the future existence of American humanity. And while that is exaggerated in tone, that’s basically how this shit gets presented to people. It’s also how it will get presented to us again, IN NINETY-ONE SHORT WEEKS!

#6: Harry Browne (Libertarian Party; 0.36% of the popular vote in 2000, 0.5% in 1996) – Browne was a white dude who talked about shit like “the economics of freedom” and worked in marketing and advertising, which is essentially all a political campaign is anyways at this point. Still, it wasn’t enough to make himself relevant, even in the shitty Gore/Bush election of 2000, probably because Nader siphoned off a good bit of the Libertarian Party’s core base of people who go to vote, thinking “man, I hate all these assholes.”

#7: Ron Paul (independent candidate; 0.04% of the vote in 2008, 0.47% in 1988) – Ron Paul built his base brilliantly off an anti-establishment sentiment, even though he never really felt strong enough to make a move off the establishment, never breaking cleanly from the Republican Party. It’s interesting in looking through these old elections at how the Libertarian Party lost relevancy the same time a Tea Party influence started to exist, and how David Koch was a Libertarian VP candidate in 1980. It’s created this false alternative within the party, which has actually shifted the party as a whole further towards that fringe. This fringe element will make its hardest push for legitimacy through Ron’s son Rand (lolol) in this election cycle, as Rand Paul has all the same pseudo-libertine business-friendly notions his pops did, but doesn’t look like a scary old man who might accidentally use the n-word.

#8: Patrick Buchanan (Reform Party; 0.43% of the popular vote in 2000) – Buchanan is an angry white guy who still has a voice on that weekend “white people talk about news shit” show on PBS. I find him sometimes funny on that, but only relative to watching a “white people talk about news shit” show on public broadcasting, which usually lasts for about 43 seconds maximum if I’m more than 5 minutes away from any Joy of Painting with Bob Ross episodes. Buchanan was the post-Perot Reform Party’s attempt to maintain relevancy in the 2000 election, which ultimately led to Buchanan clamoring that he might’ve affected the Florida outcome as much as any other third-party wasted vote. Ultimately, that’s his Presidential election legacy – that he MIGHT HAVE indirectly influenced a sketchy vote, but probably not probably some other guy.

#9: Bob Barr (Libertarian Party; 0.4% of popular vote in 2008) – Hey look! It’s another white dude in a suit and tie with strong economic opinions for you who ran as a Libertarian! At least this one looked stupid one time in the Borat movie though.

#10: Jill Stein (Green Party; 0.36% of popular vote in 2012) – I have voted Green Party when they’re on the ballot because I’m anti-poverty and like “fuck coal mining” in my personal life. But I actually looked into their structure in the state of Virginia, and even for a fringe third party, there’s all these rules and lines you have to follow; and the people I emailed with were fairly condescending and short and annoying. I think that comes with the territory with politics – you are always going to be dealing with somebody who is so confident in what they think that they want to push that onto everyone else. I always have a problem with that, being far too esoteric for that type of shit. Ultimately, that’s what politics is though, which means we’ll always have limited choices, and true loungers will never represent the people to any extent because true loungers got better sense than to give a fuck about running for political office. This may not be entirely true on the local level, which I say because I probably have a friend who might read this who has ran at the local level and I’m trying not to hurt their feelings, but yeah it’s true on the local level too actually.

#11: Michael Badnarik (Libertarian Party; 0.32% of popular vote in 2004) – This guy is a horrible AM radio talk show personality, and you can never convince me that AM radio talk show personalities are worthwhile human beings. “News” or “sports” or whatever, none of them are worthwhile human beings. The only two exceptions I’d make is if there is a local country AM radio station with a call-in show where people sell old refrigerators and livestock and shit like that, and you consider the host of such a show an “AM radio talk show personality” then I’d let that pass. Also if there is a Spanish-music station that has a call-in show that I only understand every seventh word, I’d have to say I don’t understand Spanish fast enough to condemn that person either, although I usually don’t pick up on too many references to “pinche” or “gringo” or “chivos” so my leniency is gonna pretty thin.

#12: Lenora Fulani (New Alliance Party; 0.07% of popular vote in 1992, 0.24% in 1988) – This is the first candidate I would say I actively like. Ms. Fulani was the first African-American to get ballot access in all 50 states, as well as the first woman to do so. The New Alliance Party – which no longer exists – was born from the Patriot Party, which itself was born from the original Rainbow Coalition put together by Fred Hampton in Chicago in the 1960s. I was reading about hillbilly white anti-government types recently who actually used to lean pretty hard left before becoming co-opted by fear, and there was this video I found of fellow Black Panther Bobby Lee speaking with, building with, and cultivating a coalition with southern twanged out folks in Chicago. Poor folks are trained to hate other poor folks, or at least be afraid of each other, which allows hate to ferment. And then whatever huge percentage of people who are fooled by demographical trick-knowledge into thinking they’re middle class become afraid or want to help only one part of that poor people pointed against each other equation, while simultaneously berating the other part of the poor people pointed against each other equation for being too goddamned ignorant. So many pawns, so few squares.

#13: Andre Marrou (Libertarian Party; 0.28% of the popular vote in 1992 election) – Another white dude, but at least Marrou is gained notoriety for being one of the few Libertarians actually elected to national office, as Congressman from Alaska for the 1985-1987 session. As it being an Alaskan battle, I think it important to point out he succeeded a dude known as Doc Fritz to get the office, only to be beaten by a former cop called Claude “Swack” Swackhammer. After losing, Marrou moved to Las Vegas, perhaps the ultimate Libertarian paradise on this here earth.

#14: David Bergland (Libertarian Party; 0.25% of popular vote in 1984) – If you are into numerology and how our shared reality is woven through mathematical “facts” to reinforce our subjugated state, then you’ll no doubt see the ironic significance of the “Libertarian” candidate for President receiving a perfect quarter of a percent of the vote in that ominous year of “1984” which conjures up Orwell’s worst nightmares as actual living reality. Hahaha, I don’t actually know what that last sentence means, just talking nonsense since this is the internet. But with 1984 in mind we do actually have a pretty weirdly cryptic and creepy NSA system utilizing this program called internet to keep track of a lot of shit. It depends on them being able to analyze raw Big Data with the right software, and really the only limitation is time. Thus by writing as much nonsense gibberish into the internet as you can, which says things, or maybe doesn’t say things, or maybe you google translate old Martha Stewart recipes into a different language, then into another, then back to English and post that on your website to seem like maybe it’s coded talk, or maybe important, or anything, the program has to waste time going through it, even though it’s just a chill peanut butter pie recipe that went through Turkish then Mandarin then back to English. Such acts are far more important than voting, even voting third-party. Voting is not an action any more – it’s a passive acceptance of inaction. So promise me you’ll try to shut the fuck up about how important voting is in 91 weeks when we have THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER! Yet again.

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