A Case for Being Delusional

Obama’s going to win Washington state and Romney’s going to take Idaho. Why not vote for someone who has no chance of winning?

There is exactly one undecided voter left in America. Pollsters and campaign gurus are busily trying to find that person, shower him with obscene amounts of money and negative ads and just see what happens.

The rest of us don’t need such attention. We’ve picked our man for president. We’re either for the silver fox Mitt (or any one of his incarnations), or we’re for that young stud Barack — at least the one who was such a rock star four years ago but is kind of boring now, but whatever.

It’s time to move on. Let’s get this damn election over with already.

But wait! Why indulge in someone you’re just kind of into when you have other choices? In Washington, where Obama may trounce Romney by 20 points, there are eight presidential candidates on the ballot this year. In Romney-safe Idaho, six.

If you can find any articles written about the others, you’ll read the words “quixotic,” “spoiler” and perhaps “delusional.” Funny thing is, they’re for real. Unlike Newt Gingrich’s Twitter followers, these are not fake people. They really want to be president.

Take former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the standard-bearer this year for the Libertarian Party. Which means he draws support from the young’uns by saying he’ll legalize marijuana and cut military spending by 43 percent. Republicans laugh Johnson off as a “non-factor,” until they realize he’s on the ballot in all but two states and that his campaign certainly isn’t joking. Roger Stone, a senior adviser for Johnson, has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back and promised in an email that “Republican blood will run in the streets b4 I am done,” according to the New York Times.

Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party is competing in 29 states, including Washington and Idaho. Goode was a Virginia Democrat who voted to impeach Bill Clinton. Heretic! Now he’s a staunch conservative all about cutting government spending, condemning Super PACs and telling anyone within hearing distance that “immigrants take jobs away from Americans.”

Or consider Jill Stein, the Green Party’s nominee. She’s a Harvard-trained physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine and the “Occupy candidate,” according to the New Yorker. Like Johnson, she’ll be on the ballot in almost every state, and she plans to curtail America’s aggressive foreign policy and deconstruct the national security state. The main plank in her platform is the Green New Deal, which reads as every environmentalist’s manifesto and looks to every Idahoan like Mao’s little red book. Except green.

Speaking of which, James Harris, of the Socialist Workers Party, condemns the failure of capitalism during the Great Recession. He’s against “propertied rulers” and has campaigned in New Zealand and Great Britain, where he called for a worldwide workers party. He’s on the ballot in six states. Idaho — shock! — is not among them.

The Socialism and Liberation Party’s Peta Lindsay is not on Idaho’s ballot either. And really she shouldn’t be on any of the 12 ballots she is on, because she’s only 28 and ineligible to serve as president. (You have to be 35, according to the Constitution.) Regardless, she calls for nationalizing all the banks and a “mass, revolutionary workers movement” to overthrow the capitalist system.

While we’re on the subject of make-believe, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson made up his own party — the Justice Party, named by his supporters via the Internet — to run in 15 states, including Washington and Idaho. He hates the duopoly of the two major parties, which act like they are “on retainer with Wall Street.” Like all Rockys of lore, he eats lightning, craps thunder and is destined to lose big time.

All this talk smacks of those horrible spoilers Ross Perot and Ralph Nader, who are still demonized as ruining the elections for George H.W. Bush and Al Gore, respectively. But guess what? It doesn’t matter in Washington or Idaho! So consider casting your ballot for an ecowarrior, a guy who wears a “Peace” shirt everywhere or Peta, who can’t even be president but is totally psyched.

Unlike Obama and Romney, both of whom have apparently wanted to be president since conception, these candidates stand no chance of winning. Yet they still campaign every day, driven more by conviction (or delusion) than ambition; and, apparently more by credit card than cash, because convincing people to donate to them is kinda hard, you’d assume. So why not vote for someone you agree with? It might actually matter, at least to you. 

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About The Author

Nicholas Deshais

Nicholas Deshais is the Editor of the Inlander, where he oversees the entire editorial operation and supervises news coverage. He was a staff writer for the paper from 2008-12, and has worked for various news outlets, including Portland’s newsweekly Willamette Week, the Spokesman-Review, Northwest Public Broadcasting...