Sparrow: Not a ‘frequent candidate’

I don’t think it is accurate to characterize me as a “frequent candidate,” as does the MinPost article, “What the major Minneapolis mayor candidates’ kickoff events say about their campaigns.” I am 65 years old and have been on the ballot only twice in that time. (Unless you count the time I ran for Vice President of my 4H club.) I ran for mayor of Minneapolis in 2013 and I ran for Hennepin County commissioner for District 4, in 2014. In that election I got over 10,000 votes or nearly half of what I needed to win. I did that with very little money and very little electoral political experience, against a popular incumbent. I think that should have established me as a “serious” candidate, even if I did not win the election. In any case my opponent, Peter McLaughlin took me seriously enough to debate me. That debate is online, so you can still see it here and judge for yourself how serious I am.

When I ran for mayor of Minneapolis the first time in 2013 it may have been fair to characterize me as a “novelty” candidate. Even though I changed my name long before I ever even thought of running for any political office, my name change to Captain Jack Sparrow gave me much-needed name recognition and my pirate costume made me stand out in a crowded, 35 candidate, field. I got much more press attention than I would have. Press attention is essential if you don’t have the money to buy ads, but I was not just a novelty. Even then, I had a serious political platform, which was articulated on my blog, occupirate.blogspot.com. On that blog you can read not only my platform but my political accomplishments. They are described, in the post entitled, “What has Captain Jack Sparrow Accomplished politically.” While they did not involve electoral politics, I think you will agree that they were considerable, especially in the area of alleviating poverty, homelessness and income inequality. 

In an election in which your article states that “differences on policy issues will be slight if not at times indistinguishable,” my policy issues are a significant departure from all of the rest of the candidates. I am the only one to have a serious proposal, the Basic Income Guarantee, to close the wealth gap, and  democratic collective businesses, to eliminate poverty and homelessness, issues I have been involved in, on and off, for over 40 years.

Abe Lincoln was a frequent candidate. He ran for office, or for a nomination for office 10 times in his 56 years. He also lost in the beginning and lost over twice as many elections or nominations as he won. Where would the country be if he had given up after a couple of losses?

Lincoln was born into poverty. His family was forced out of their house when he was just 18. He had many other setbacks and failures in life, just some of which are listed below. 

  • 1831 – Lost his job
  • 1832 – Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature
  • 1833 – Failed in business
  • 1838 – Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker
  • 1843 – Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress
  • 1848 – Lost re-nomination
  • 1849 – Rejected for land officer position
  • 1854 – Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
  • 1856 – Defeated in run for nomination for vice president
  • 1858 – Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate

Donald Trump, however, was born to a wealthy family. He seems to have had no disadvantages in life. He was elected to the first elected office he ever ran for, the presidency of the United States, on his first try. Of these two, who do you think history will judge to have been the best president?

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