Considering the alternatives
Northern California’s bumper crop of presidential hopefuls
How bummed Ralph Nader must be. More than 100 third-party and independent candidates for president will be taking votes away from him this November. People like Cynthia McKinney with the Greens, Libertarian Bob Barr and Sacramento’s stealth candidate, Charlotte Carlyle.
“Anybody can run for President. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up,” says Carlyle. The 76–year-old retired Sacramento Superior Court clerk registered with the Federal Election Commission because she was fed up with how the country is being run.
That’s one thing all alternative presidential spoilers have in common. The other is that they will all lose terribly, promising dreamers and deluded losers alike. But that doesn’t stop their quixotic campaigns, as a stroll through Northern California’s own garden of presidential wannabes shows.
When Charlotte Carlyle’s faxes and letters to the White House about the Iraq war went unanswered, she decided to run for president. “I just thought it would give me the opportunity to put in my 2 cents worth,” says Charlotte, who sometimes goes by Charley. “I was against the Iraq war to start with. I have three grandsons and three great-grandsons who I didn’t want to go to war.”
She was surprised that so many other people had the president idea. “I didn’t realize that there were about 150 people who also signed up,” says Carlyle, who lives in the Greenhaven area. She realized she wasn’t going to stand out in such a crowd, so she curtailed her campaign to a hushed level.
Besides, she was in enough trouble already with her homeowners association and didn’t want to draw any more attention. “I don’t talk to anyone about being a candidate,” says Carlyle, who also signed up for president in 1988. “My own family makes fun of me. I have five younger brothers, all in the military, all Republicans, but I’m registered nonpartisan.”
Carlyle, an 11-year lung cancer survivor undergoing a new round of chemo, is too tired these days to push on with the campaign, and hopes Sen. Barack Obama will end the Iraq war. “It probably sounds like a silly thing to do, run for president,” says Carlyle. “But I’m glad I did. That’s not necessarily an accomplishment, but it makes me feel involved.”
Frank’s Sacramento victory bash
Presidential candidate Frank Moore already has Sacramento’s Vox Cafe and Gallery booked on November 22 for his victory party ($7 cover), even though he knows he’s not going to win. But the San Francisco activist, artist and musician, who has performed many times in Sacramento, has another metric for victory.
“It looks like I and my running mate Susan Block [a popular sexologist] will qualify in more than 25 states as a write-in ticket, which is a victory in itself. So we will celebrate!” Moore says. Actually, he doesn’t say anything. He points at letters with a head-strapped laser beam and an assistant types them up or reads them aloud. He’s had cerebral palsy since birth, and can’t talk or walk.
“We ‘disabled’ are really the adapters society needs, because we operate outside the boxes of ‘normalcy,’ coming up with solutions from left field. I’m the candidate for everyone who doesn’t fit into normalcy—which is almost everyone,” says Moore, who was one of the performance artists Sen. Jesse Helms targeted in the early ’90s as examples of obscene art funded by government programs.
“I’ve successfully fought discrimination all my life and had fun doing it,” says Moore. “Most people get that, and feel hope. Then they read my platform, and they’re hooked.”
The platform and his candidacy came about because he wore a T-shirt with “Moore for President” on the front. People asked him about it, so he decided to come up with a platform, which is radical and progressive. He’s been campaigning for two years.
“I invite people to go to www.frankmooreforpresident08.com and read my platform just to see what is possible. And if they have wanted those things, I want their write-in votes,” says Moore. “Really, I can’t lose, because the campaign has opened a lot up.”
Da Vid’s Light Party
Da Vid, a holistic physician and artist from Mill Valley, is an old hand at running for president, this election being his sixth. He’s got his platform down, a synergistic seven-point process—including a global TV network of soothing images and sounds—that melds holistic health and environmental awareness into a political force.
“I believe I’m the best informed candidate out there,” says Da Vid. “I’m a freethinker, and I’ve spent years coming up with this program and refining it. With intelligence we can solve all the negative situations we face. But the country first has to get out of its heavily militarized position.”
He sees this election as a game changer because crises are going to force a change in politics. “We believe Obama is going to win, but our goal is bringing holistic into the mainstream. After this election, we are going to have the backing to move the Light Party out into the mainstream.”
Da Vid would rather you go to www.lightparty.com than vote for him. “If people want to vote for me, that’s great—I’m going to write myself in,” he says. “But the Light Party isn’t going to win this election; our breakthrough will come from education and more education. It’s not a utopian deal but a process.”
La Riva la revolución
Had enough of capitalism? Gloria La Riva of San Francisco sure has, and as the presidential candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, she’s promoting revolutionary change.
La Riva, a longtime activist, may get more votes this election than all the other California presidential candidates combined. That’s because she will be listed on the California ballot and at least eight other state ballots.
In fact, she was caught up in the evacuation of New Orleans for Hurricane Gustav when she was in Louisiana to submit her petition to get on the ballot. “Traveling through the state these last few days,” La Riva wrote in a recent blog post, “one cannot avoid the depth of poverty and isolation—the profound legacy of racism and oppression that extends far before Hurricane Katrina.”
La Riva believes that capitalism is the source of the main problems confronting humanity today: war, poverty, racism, sexism, environmental destruction. If La Riva had responded to an interview request, she probably would have asked you to go to www.votepsl.org to learn more.
Presidential candidate Larry Schuetter of Suisun City doesn’t have a Web site he wants you to visit. But he does have some colorful commentaries on YouTube. There’s beefy Larry, maybe wearing his Vietnam veteran hat, maybe his paper Burger King crown, but always talking about how Americans need a lifeline.
“There’s no reason why you can’t have everything you ever wanted in your lifetime,” says Schuetter. With his Social Security credit card, 100-year mortgages and other elements of his Lifeline Legislation package, you can.
“I’m like the vendetta candidate,” says Schuetter. “Congress has violated the public trust by not representing citizens, and it’s time for them to pay.”
Before you get too involved in Larry’s vendetta, understand that you won’t see his name printed on the ballot—and even a write-in vote for him won’t count unless he takes the trouble to qualify as a write-in candidate. All those votes “Mickey Mouse” gets every election don’t count, because Mickey never turns in his write-in candidate paperwork.
Each state has its own rules for ballot access, including which names are printed on the ballot and how to vote for a write-in candidate. Independents usually have to move mountains to get their names printed on the ballot—in California, it takes 158,372 certified signatures. Six presidential candidates have already qualified to be printed on the California ballot: Sen. John McCain, Obama, and third-party candidates Bob Barr, Alan Keyes, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader.
Independents can still qualify as write-in candidates. That involves a candidate’s write-in declaration and a notarized list of 55 electors to represent California in the Electoral College—should the write-in candidate happen to win the state. We won’t know who qualifies as a write-in candidate on the California ballot until after the October 21 deadline for qualifying.
A lot of candidates, like Charlotte Carlyle, don’t go to that trouble in the end. And maybe Larry Schuetter won’t be able to round up 55 electors for his vendetta. Frank Moore, Da Vid, and Gloria La Riva say they will qualify as write-in candidates.
To make sure you’re not throwing away your write-in vote, go to www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov after the October 21 deadline to see if your presidential candidate qualified.