Columns

Running for president is easier than you think 2015.09.02

  By RICH FOLEY

It sure seems like there are a lot of people running for president these days, but the 20 or so Republicans and Democrats we hear about most often are just a small fraction of those who want us to take them seriously as candidates. Most of those 20 can’t come close to the popularity of a satirical candidate going by the name of Deez Nuts.

Mr. Nuts gained his fame in mid-August when a polling organization tested its theory that a certain percentage of the population will always vote for an independent candidate as a protest, whether they know anything about the person or not. The name Deez Nuts was selected from the list of those who had filed a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Public Policy Polling gave voters in Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina a choice of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Deez Nuts. Nuts received the nod from 8, 8, and 9 percent, respectively, of those in the three states expressing a preference. Not bad for someone who had declared his candidacy only three weeks earlier.

Unfortunately, it was soon revealed that “Deez Nuts” was really an Iowa teenager named Brady Olson. Just 15 years old, he won’t be eligible to run for president until 2036. That hasn’t stopped him from having a website and a political platform. Among other ideas, “Nuts” wants to give electoral votes to residents of  American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin and Northern Mariana Islands. 

Since he’s ineligible to run in 2016, he’s endorsed candidates Bernie Sanders and John Kasich for their respective major party nominations. Whether either man will claim he’s supported by a person named Nuts remains to be seen.

As soon as Nuts began getting publicity for his polling results, the imitators started coming out in droves. The number of “candidates” for President has doubled in the last few weeks, not surprising since completion of a short FEC online form is all you need to join Nuts and his fellow “candidates.”

With about 1000 names currently on the list (which will probably have grown even more by the time you read this), it’s getting even easier to find candidates who are someone’s idea of a joke. Like, for instance, Sydney’s Voluptuous Buttocks.

An enterprising reporter tracked down the person who registered Ms. Buttocks as a presidential candidate and discovered she actually existed. Several friends had discussed the idea of nominating someone and decided on their friend Sydney.

 With her permission, and what they felt was her most outstanding feature included in her name, Sydney’s Voluptuous Buttocks, independent candidate for president, was created. By the way, the Buttocks candidacy was created almost five months before that of Mr. Nuts. It’s too bad she hasn’t got the attention he has, although she might prefer it that way.

Some folks with little imagination are just registering their pet or the famous name of a real or fictional person as a joke. I’m fairly sure that Jack Sparrow, Rocky Balboa, Slim Shady, Jean-Luc Picard and Captain Crunch aren’t really running for president, or anything else, for that matter. I did get a kick out of whoever registered as Forrest Gump. He’d be fun to watch in a debate, if only he were real. Maybe Gary Sinise will run instead.

I might believe that Sarah Palin could still be interested in running for president, but the person who registered as “Sara Paylin,” running on the “Jewish/Christian National” party ticket can’t be serious, can she? I’m thinking that also applies to the people who registered as Ronald Reagan’s Ghost, Fidel Castro and Michael Jordan.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few candidates whose names I shouldn’t and won’t even try to mention here, hilarious or not. Perhaps the editor will allow me to mention one of the milder ones, a name obviously trying to ride on the coattails of two famous presidents of the past. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a president named Johnny Goddamn Roosevelt?

And speaking of famous names, Deez Nuts now has real competition. Since he started getting media attention, two candidates with similar names have registered. One calls himself Deez W. Nutz, the other Bofa Deez Nuts. Young Mr. Olson is probably sorry he didn’t file for a trademark, too.