Run Wild, Run Free
Advice for alternative presidential candidates
Published November 9, 1999 in Scope

I've always wanted to be someone's chief campaign strategist. I mean, not really.I think they have to wake up too early in the morning and then remain mean all day. But I do like to fantasize about it. And while I probably shouldn't care who gets elected president in our faux democracy, the big prez contest always gets my interest -- sort of in the same way a baseball fan gets excited about the World Series.

See also...
... by RU Sirius
... in the Scope section
... from November 9, 1999

Thing is, the last one was so boring. And this one -- Gore (or Bradley) vs. Bush vs. Buchanan looks like another snoozer. Of course, while Gore and Bush are clearly set on following the "Just Say Nothing" examples of the Clinton/Dole contest, Buchanan's a bit interesting in a Halloween scary sort of way. But despite the anti-NWO rhetoric, I predict that -- as the campaign progresses -- Buchanan will prove to be pretty much Bush in a brown shirt. Also, while having an interesting crypto-fascist psycho (who fortunately can't win) in the race might heighten the amusement factor a few notches, having someone you can actually vote and root for would be far more absorbing.

So you can see why I'm motivated to give some free advice to other potential third- and fourth-party candidates.

General Advice

Run Hip: It ought to be obvious. The wrestler from Minnesota in the pink boa awakened a sleeping -- or at least slacking -- giant. Ventura won-over the young committed non-voters. Young people who, on principle, would no more go near a voting booth than they would listen to a Mariah Carey CD rushed out in droves in a spontaneous last-minute response to Jesse's bad boy, keep the government out of our private lives attitude. Remember: The non-voters are a large majority, and by their very nature they've rejected the uncool, goody two-shoes straight culture of the virtuous voting American citizen. Their votes are yours to harvest.

Campaign Finance Reform Is Not a Superhot Issue: Most alternative candidates emphasize campaign finance reform. Look, most of us are in favor of taking the big money out of the campaign process, but the bottom line is that we can vote for whoever we want. Nobody forces us to vote for the guy with all the money. So if money buys elections, it's mostly our fault. In fact, we could rise up and go out of our way to vote for a rag picker, and no amount of money could stop us. We know this, even if most of the alternative candidates don't. So go easy on the bureaucratic stuff and stick to sexier issues. You'll have more fun and so will we.

Left/Liberal Candidates, Show Some Creativity: Take the disappointing case of Warren Beatty. Now Bulworth wasn't half-bad. But when Warren mounted the stage this September in Beverly Hills to deliver his long-awaited speech non-announcing his non-candidacy's flirtation with the vague possibility of running for President, Warren showed himself to be a predictable bore. It's 2000 folks, not 1940. Raising the spirit of Roosevelt's New Deal doesn't cut it. Think post-industrial.

And Warren, announcing yourself as a tax-and-spend liberal, well... you obviously haven't tried to live and pay taxes on what this society laughably considers a middle income. I'm not saying that you need to mimic the centrism of Clinton and Gore. But be creative. Come up with novel ways to find the money for the social problems you want the federal government to solve. And be unpredictable. Find a tired old politically correct liberal sawhorse that you would genuinely like to ridicule and mock it in the vulgarest of terms.

Specific Advice

Jesse Ventura: Don't wait till the last minute. I know how well it worked for you last time, suddenly being noticed at the very end of the campaign and getting all those votes as a sort of novelty act. But now everybody already knows who you are. And the USA ain't Minneapolis. Some of us have to register months in advance. Also, while you wait, Buchanan -- a shrewd, long-time political player -- is wiring up his Reform Party nomination. Trump is just too dumb to be a credible stalking horse. Jump in soon. People will thank you with their votes for livening up the political season.

Cybill Shepherd: Where the fuck are you? I keep on seeing your name mentioned as a potential Reform candidate, but I can't find anything you've said about it on the Web or in the press. They only mention you and say that you're thinking of running as a pro-choice candidate. Cybill, the whole fuckin' Democratic Party is pro-choice. What else, Cybill?

Libertarian Party, Run A Non-Ideologue

Put aside the Hayek and Ayn Rand tomes for a moment. This could be your moment, if you weren't such fucking ideologues. Everybody knows that several generations now lean towards libertarianism, but they don't want fucking capitalist anarchy. Compromise a little. After all, overthrowing the police state can't wait. Get yourself a leaning-towards-libertarian candidate, preferably a famous one, and you've almost got a shoe-in. Also, the drug war is turning into the Vietnam of the 2000s. An anti-war movement is building, and you have every opportunity to lead it.

Ralph Nader: Dude, take a bong hit! In contrast to your ideological purism, the libertarians seem positively post-modern. In the last campaign, as the Green candidate, you simply refused to campaign at all on some principle or another. Well, as a strategy, it did have a nice Buddhist quality. But even your Zen friend, the suddenly Mussolini-like "Strong Mayor" of Oakland, California will tell you that's no way to win. So if you're going to run, run! And get yourself a hip, fun VP candidate. You're so stiff you make Al Gore look like Tom Green.

Stephan Gaskin: Stephan, old buddy (watch for upcoming GettingIt interview), so you're being taken seriously by party members as the number one contender to Ralph Nader's spot on the Green ticket. Big whoop. And while I said that the non-voters want a hip candidate, they don't want a fuckin' hippie. Still, you am what you am, and in a four- way race, you may have a shot at it. Here's what you do. Get yourself into the center of America's rave community. Then, shadow the Democratic and Republican primaries, throwing huge "Hippie President" raves everywhere they go and registering young voters.

If you get the nomination, add the following slogan to your platform: "Tibet Can't Wait!" As the only seriously pro-Tibet candidate, watch the support, campaign donations, and benefit shows roll in from Hollywood and the rock community. And balance out your ticket with Joycelyn Elders. The non-voters -- jack-offs that they are -- know she got a raw deal.

When you get to the ballot box, why not just say R.U. Sirius to all of 'em with a write-in vote?